UPDATE: Faster Pastor was rained out for Aug. 3 and has been postponed to Aug. 10.
The Rev. Rick Rushing of the Goshen United Methodist Church in Rincon is as comfortable in a race car as he is at the pulpit.
Rushing, who has been a pastor since 1994, also is a three-time racing champion.
When Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Pooler started the Faster Pastor race in 2001, Rushing, then the pastor at Woodlawn United Methodist Church in Garden City, dusted his peers. He continued his track dominance, finding victory lane the next two years.
After failing to win the last three years, Rushing said it’s time for him to be No. 1 again.
“I’m chasing the title again,” he said. “I look forward to regaining the championship title.”
The Rev. Doug McCart of First Baptist Church in Brooklet took the crown last year and Rev. Bill Black of Riverside Baptist Church won the previous two years.
Win, lose or draw, Rushing is still going to have a good time.
“We all have a really fun time,” he said. “This is something I look forward to every year.”
Ten area pastors will race 10 laps around the half-mile clay track at 10 p.m. Friday. The race was postponed from Aug. 3 because of rain.
The winner receives a trophy and the all-important bragging rights. But, there is more to it than winning. The event also is a fundraiser for the churches.
The pastors pre-sell tickets and are given half of the proceeds.
The Rev. Eric Hayes, of the Baptist Church at Ebenezer said his church raised more than $1,000 last year, which went toward buying chairs. This year, the money goes toward the church’s new building, which was completed in April.
For Hayes, it will be his third year competing.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I like to get out there and put the pedal to the metal and not worry about getting a speeding ticket. It’s fun and a lot of competition, trying to pass each other.”
OSP office manager Darlene Nerich said the crowd will be larger than normal.
“You see a lot more people out at the race track than normal,” she said. “They bring their posters and signs while banging and beating while cheering for their pastor to cross the finish line.”
Both Hayes and Rushing expect plenty of folks from their congregations to come out and watch some racing and have fun.
“The Christian community has a presence by being at the track,” Rushing said. “As far as spreading the Gospel, this is an opportunity to reach them and invite them to come join us.”
• Rev. Rick Rushing, Goshen United Methodist Church, Rincon
• Rev. Eric Hayes, Baptist Church at Ebenezer, Rincon
• Rev. Tom Osborne, Friendship Baptist, Statesboro
• Deacon Ryan Edenfield, Fellowship Assembly, Garden City
• Rev. Jesse Adams, Mt. Pleasant Baptist, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
• Rev. Alfred Banks, Daniel Baptist, Richmond Hill
• Rev. Tommy Rogers, Eastern Heights Baptist, Statesboro
• Rev. Bill Black, Riverside Baptist, Savannah
• Rev. Doug McCart, First Baptist Church, Brooklet
• Rev. Stormon Glass, Cornerstone Church, Statesboro
• Rev. Shawn Silverman, Maranatha Assembly of God, Rincon