There is a respectable and distinguished tradition in my family, established circa 1981, of attending without fail the Indianapolis 500. For those not aware, the race falls on a Sunday, and my sabbatarianism which developed a little later in life has earned a few hushed anathemas. One thing I recall as part of opening ceremonies on race day was a local Catholic priest—directly across from our seats in Tower Terrace in front of the pits and somewhere between the missing man fly-over and the release of balloons and before Mari Hulman George instructed the lady and gentlemen to start their engines—bestowing the blessing for safety, good weather and whatnot. Though it seemed fitting and proper, there was always something that seemed a little too worldly about it to me.
Formula One racing is not NASCAR. One is genteel, cosmopolitan and has Dario Franchitti, the man with an Italian name and a Scottish accent—and a lot of victory rings and his own helicopter he pilots and, heaven help me, Ashley Judd. NASCAR, well, not so much. Think Ricky Bobby and KFC. And, instead of vested Catholic priests serving up prayers for safety and thanks for civil freedoms, this guy thanking the Most High for his smokin’ hot wife and closing it all up with boogity-boogity-boogity. For all the apparent differences between Formula One and NASCAR there are even more similarities (it’s all car racing, after all). And whether it’s high church priests blessing common activities on the Sabbath or low church evangelicals baptizing Bible belt culture, it would seem that while both seem very different they might also serve to demonstrate just how much Rome and Muenster really do have in common. Or not, whatever, but you have to hear this: