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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The need for speed & loving every second of it

As a child Dale Schaefer could hear the engines roaring from the nearby Quaker City Drag Strip in Salem, Ohio — where he hoped to one day be in person, burning rubber down the racetrack.

Cars became a major part of his life until his mid-30s, when he was called to the ministry, eventually becoming Pastor Dale.

Now 68 and retired after 15 years at St. Mark Lutheran Church, Bowling Green, Ohio, Schaefer is again able to feed his passion for all things racing. In fact, he set a personal best the month he retired at the Summit Motorsports Park "Halloween Classic" in Norwalk, Ohio.

"I went a quarter-mile in 9.7 seconds and hit 142 miles per hour," said Schaefer, adding that his time might soon be even quicker because he is rusty. "My reaction time is not as good as it used to be because I'm out of practice."

Before Schaefer's life in the ministry, he spent time in his dad's garage, learning to fix and rebuild cars. His first was a 1949 Studebaker that he drove around the family farm when he was 13. The first car he took to the track was a 1949 Chevrolet that he had modified. From that first race he was hooked.


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