WATCH: Daytona 500 Champion Michael McDowell Says He Prayed and Read Mark 9 Before Race

Michael McDowell celebrates after winning the NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Before going out and winning the Daytona 500 in dramatic fashion on Sunday, Michael McDowell read his Bible and prayed, just like he tries to do every day. In the chaotic aftermath of the race — which also happened to be his first Cup Series win — McDowell went back and looked at what he wrote during his devotional time that morning.

He couldn’t believe what he found.

“I prayed for victory in the race, safety and knowing that He holds it all in the palm of His hands,” he said Thursday on the Sports Spectrum Podcast, just days after the two cars ahead of him crashed on the race’s final lap, allowing McDowell’s No. 34 car to emerge unscathed and eventually victorious. “I lost it yesterday when I read it.”

The scripture he read that morning was from Mark 9, where a father is frustrated because Jesus’ disciples were unable to heal his son, who was possessed by an evil spirit. McDowell was struck by verse 23:

“‘”If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’”

The struggles with doubt described in the passage resonated with the 36-year-old McDowell.

“I do believe and I’ve always believed that I could win and that it’s possible,” he said on the podcast. “I’ve always believed that it’s possible, but there is an element of unbelief in there.”

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SOURCE: Sports Spectrum, Joshua Doering

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