TMS' Gossage on death of Max Helton

STATEMENT FROM TMS PRESIDENT EDDIE GOSSAGE ON THE PASSING OF MOTOR RACING OUTREACH FOUNDER MAX HELTON FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2008) - Max Helton, who formed a Christian Ministry that became Motor Racing Outreach 20 years ago, died Sunday ...

STATEMENT FROM TMS PRESIDENT EDDIE GOSSAGE ON THE PASSING OF MOTOR RACING OUTREACH FOUNDER MAX HELTON

FORT WORTH, Texas (March 31, 2008) - Max Helton, who formed a Christian Ministry that became Motor Racing Outreach 20 years ago, died Sunday afternoon of brain cancer at his home in Huntersville, N.C.

"This is an earthly loss but a heavenly gain," said Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, who serves on the Board of Directors of World-Span Ministries, Helton's international motorsports ministry. "Max aided so many people in auto racing and you would often see him with some of the sport's top drivers offering a quiet prayer just before the start of a race. He very personally counseled me through the years and was a great influence on my life."

Helton will be remembered during pre-race ceremonies for the Samsung 500 this Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

"Several years ago, as Texas Motor Speedway was struggling to land a second NASCAR Cup Series race, Max asked me if I prayed for a second race," Gossage said. "I told him I was uncomfortable asking for something of that nature because I didn't think it was very important in God's grand scheme of things. Max encouraged me to pray for a second race and gave me a long list of reasons why God would look favorably on that prayer. With Max's encouragement I prayed about it often and shortly thereafter it was added to the schedule. I think of Max's advice and apply that to many things in my life.

"We will miss Max, but we are happy that he has made it home," Gossage said. "He was a `good and faithful servant.' "

Helton was working at a church in Glendora, Calif., in 1988 when he met Darrell Waltrip and his wife, Stevie. Helton told the Waltrips that he felt called to lead a ministry in auto racing. Soon after, Helton formed Motor Racing Outreach and was leading Bible study with drivers and crew members in the sport, chapel service at race tracks each weekend and personal counseling session with those in the sport. He left Motor Racing Outreach in 2002.

He then formed World-Span Ministries and took a very similar approach to racing series around the world traveling internationally as he spread the message.

Helton was diagnosed with brain cancer in August. He is survived by his wife, Jean, along with four daughters and nine grandchildren.

-credit: tms

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