For Immediate Release

LARRY, LINDA SMILEY EMBARK ON NHRA FAREWELL TOUR

Will Mentor RFC National Chaplains Craig and Beverly Garland in Final Year

TEMPE, AZ. — Larry Smiley, who for the last 11 years has served as President of Team RFC®, and his wife, Linda, who with him has ministered to racers, friends and family members before, during and after events in the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing series, will end their service with the 2017 season.

During his farewell tour, Smiley, 66, will mentor NHRA National Chaplains Craig and Beverly Garland of Ennis, TX at a minimum of seven NHRA national events. He will also mentor RFC’s new Executive Director Eddie Baugher, who lives in Mesa, AZ with his wife Kelly.

He and Linda then will retire to their home on a concrete stretch of the old Route 66 in Arcadia, OK, and still indulge his passion for racing on both land and water.

“We will still attend some regional NHRA events, some boat races and an occasional national event, as volunteer chaplains” Smiley said, “but we are looking forward this final year to being with our NHRA racing family and enjoying the friendships established over these many years.”           

“Mentoring to Craig and Eddie will be my main focus,” he said, “and it will be very gratifying to leave this ministry accomplishing greater things than ever before.”

Smiley grew up in Bethany, OK, where he started attending local dirt track races at the age of 12. He worked his way up to track photographer and later worked as a timing official in drag racing.

While attending a go-kart race in 1996, a Team RFC® chapel flyer on a trailer piqued his interest. He researched the organization, contacted RFC president Ken Owen and in 1998 began conducting chapel services for RFC at Southern Drag Boat Association events. He was named South Central Regional Director for RFC later the same year.

The Smileys conducted their first NHRA national event RFC Service (the Pennzoil Nationals at Memphis, TN) in 1999 and represented RFC at a couple of tour events each year thereafter until Larry was offered stewardship of the entire series when Owen retired in 2004 after 25 years of service to the organization.

Larry is looking forward to the future, continuing to serve on the board of Team RFC® and also volunteering as a chaplain.

Christian Motorsports International, Inc., (dba, Racers For Christ® and Team RFC®) began in 1971 in Southern California. We are a nonprofit, non-denominational, ministry to the world of motorsports. Today we have over 350 chaplains and staff, the majority of which are volunteers, serving across the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe with our national office located in Tempe, Arizona. The ministry has grown over the years but our mission has remained the same, “to serve people in the world of motorsports in the name of Jesus Christ through providing fellowship, pastoral care, evangelism, and service.”

CONTACT:    Tami Bandimere-Shrader, Board Chair, Christian Motorsports International, Inc.

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