Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, iconic NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip shared his inspiring testimony and warned against believing in one's own goodness without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
On Thursday, the NASCAR hall of famer delivered the keynote address at the the annual event, hosted by members of Congress at the Washington Hilton and attended by numerous lawmakers, religious leaders, and other officials.
"Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast is the biggest thing I've ever done, the most influential audience I've ever addressed and the most important speech I've ever given," Waltrip said. "Anyone who knows me knows I like to talk, but I was pretty nervous. I know I talk to millions of fans on TV every week. However, I'm not entirely comfortable speaking to this many people in person, but the Lord told me to do so. This was an honor beyond description and a moment I'll never forget. I love to share my testimony about what the Lord has done in my life, and doing it on my birthday made it that much more special."
Waltrip, who famously won three Cup championships, 84 Cup races and 13 Busch Series races throughout his 29 year career, told of his journey from an arrogant rising star to man of faith.
"My personal life was a mess, I drank too much, I just did everything to satisfy me" he said of his early years as a NASCAR driver."Whatever felt good to me, I did it. I didn't give it a second thought. That was my lifestyle."
After a series of life-threatening accidents and through the encouragement of his wife, Stevie, who he hailed as a "devout woman of God," Waltrip eventually came to know the Lord. In sharing his testimony, he emphasized the dangers of believing in one's own goodness without having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
"I thought I was pretty good guy. But folks, let me tell you something. Good guys go to hell," he told the audience. "If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, if He's not the master of your life, if you haven't gotten on your knees to ask Him to forgive you of your sins, if you're just a pretty good guy or gal, you're gonna go to hell. Think about that. I did, and it was a wakeup call. It literally knocked me conscious."
After becoming a Christian, Waltrip said his entire outlook on life changed, from the way he treated his wife and children to his purpose in being a NASCAR driver.
"When the Lord comes into your life, you're gonna be different. You have to be different. If you're not different, you better go back and try it again," Waltrip said. "The Lord changes you, and he changed me, and it was for the better. He's there for you, He's there with you, but you gotta do your part, too."
In concluding his speech, the iconic NASCAR driver urged attendees to seek Christ "before it's too late."
"You don't have to walk alone, you don't have to carry all those burdens," he said. "You have to get off your high horse, get on your knees, and ask for forgiveness. He's there waiting for you. The Lord is a strong tower, the righteous will run to it and be safe," he said, referencing Proverbs 18:10.