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Texas Motor Speedway Pancho Mendoza Interview

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Pancho Mendoza
Pancho, a Sephardic Jew, was born and raised in Mexico as a Catholic, attending Catholic elementary, high school and University. Since He was a baby boy The Lord gifted him with special mechanical talents and driving abilities. He always had a passion for automobiles and speed, and so he spent much of his time racing and preparing and selling slot cars as a teenager, with his grandfather as a partner. He was the runner up in his first bicycle race, also prepared by him, and won several engine-less down-hill cart races.
 
Roland Osborne with Pancho Mendoza at the Texas Motor Speedway 2009 NASCAR April spring race.
After completing a B.S. degree, he asked his father to send him to a race car mechanic Institute in California. For the first time in his life, his father responded with a bad word. Frustration and rejection continued to be experienced as Pancho sought to pursue his dream. His father, being an Orthopedic surgeon, was not happy with the idea of having a mechanic for a son. In order to pursue his passion for automobiles, Pancho found a way out from his parent's house, getting married. He had to start from the very bottom, (commonly known as scratch) as a mechanic. He would borrow tools at 7 p.m., work all night long, and return them, cleaned, twelve hours later. He was so poor he didn't even have a car for transportation.By reading specialty automotive magazines, he began to learn the trade and the English language. So, he continued modifying and assembling engines in the living room of a very small apartment in Mexico, City. All the while, rejection continued from all his relatives and friends. The Lord blessed him so much, that the very first time that he prepared a car for racing, it won.

Years later, after many sleepless nights and lots of hard work, he tasted success as a race car/engine/ builder, and as a driver, winning two national championships in Mexico. He started enjoying the fame, financial rewards, opportunities and benefits that those winnings brought, and became a business entrepreneur and exotic car collector and restorer. Perhaps this was done to show the world what he was capable of. Thinking he was on top of the hill, and knowing about God and His blessings, but without having a personal relationship with Jesus, the door was opened to the enemy. Consequently, his marriage, family and finances went down the drain. In those days (about 15 years ago) he was watching a TV program featuring pastor John Hagee, and he liked what the pastor was saying, so he was drawn to go to his church (non-denominational). When he attended, he experienced a tremendous feeling of betrayal to "his religion, family and country" but he liked what he saw and felt, and cried nonstop. Days later his hair dresser invited him to go to his church on a Wednesday, (for a Catholic it is very unusual to go to church in the middle of the week), so he went to Daystar Church.

Pastor Kent Carnley was playing a beautiful song that says: "Make yourself at home, make yourself at home, make yourself at home within my heart Oh Lord. Everybody is gone, I am here all alone, make yourself at home within my heart Oh Lord...." It was then that Pancho came to his knees and he cried for almost an hour, looking for love, comfort, acceptance, answers and all of what a broken heart needs. He came to know Jesus, accepting Him as his personal Lord and Savior. Pastor Kent has called him Pancho since that day. Then the process began and for several years he was a "selfish" Christian; in other words trying to obey The Lord but minding his own business. He raced in 1994 at Laguna Seca at the last race of the USAC Russell Championship, and again the Lord blessed him, allowing him to use his gifts and talents. This was his first and only Russell event, and although he was not a Russell school graduate, he qualified 3rd and finished 2nd in his first race. In the second race, he qualified on the pole and finished 2nd. While this does not represent enough data to make an objective statement as to his relative driving talents, these could be considered excellent results.

In 1995 He had a opportunity to race in the IRL series, but due to the conflict between CART/IRL, it never materialized. But The Lord had a better plan for him. So, He took away the desire to race and called him to a much stronger and closer relationship with Him that Pancho never experienced before. Pancho again, got in his knees and told The Lord: "Lord, I have not attended a Bible college, a seminary, I do not know how to preach or sing, I do not even ring the door bell, all that I know is how to build and drive race cars and to conduct some business, but I want to serve you. If you think that you can use that, here I am". So, finally the coin dropped and he got the message of "Go and preach the Gospel", getting the idea in his heart to form "Racing for Jesus" that was when he discovered that the real joy was serving The Lord. Now, the ultimate joy for him is to witness(to tell people about Jesus) leading people to The Lord until they invite Him into their hearts, and looking for any opportunity to do it and to get the most out of it, making a difference in The Kingdom.  Pancho now also says, "I wish I knew Him since I was born", "I do not understand how I could possibly live without Him". Having that in his heart and besides his talents and abilities, he also made his assets available to The Lord, which were used to buy the trailer, race car and the equipment for the team. Pancho is the driver and the engine builder for the new race team owner — a reknown Jewish carpenter — "Jesus Christ of Nazareth".

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