While 2008 marked the launch of Kingdom Racing as the first faith-based team to compete in the Indy 500, its conception began years earlier and resulted from Del Canto’s personal journey of loss and restoration. “A dozen years ago, I found myself bankrupt,” he explains, “financially, emotionally and spiritually. One night, I knelt down and cried, ‘God, I can’t take this anymore. I give all my problems to You—You find a way.’ And, He did.”
Later, while in a prayer group that challenged him to carry out a “big dream for God,” Del Canto remembers his wife asking him, “What’s your big dream for God, George?” “I’m going to build an INDYCAR team and deliver God’s Word through motorsports,” he instantly replied, believing without a doubt that God gave him the idea as he unconsciously formed the words.
And Kingdom Racing was born. Now, five years later, key relationships have been formed with national partners and ministries such as Man in the Mirror, Creation Museum, Fiesta Mart, Inc., Athletes in Action, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, INDYCAR Ministry and CRU (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ International).
When Del Canto first began putting the team together, he soon met INDYCAR driver and national champion Davey Hamilton and quickly realized that he was the embodiment of the Kingdom Racing story—a man who at one time had felt washed up, yet found healing in Christ. Indeed, Hamilton had survived a horrific crash in 2001 at Texas Motor Speedway that almost led to the amputation of his legs. Turning to God in his brokenness, Hamilton endured 21 surgeries over six years before “God helped me return to the cockpit,” he says, reviving his racing career.
In 2012, the Kingdom Racing team celebrated a fifth-place overall finish in the IZOD INDYCAR series championship and concluded its first full season of INDYCAR competition. Now poised for a superior outcome in 2013, Kingdom Racing is partnering once again with Hamilton and will field the No. 77 Dallara Honda driven by INDYCAR 2012 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Simon Pagenaud. “We want to cheer our team on to victory,” Del Canto shares. “A winning season gives us an incredible platform for sharing God’s Word.”
After losing his first wife to cancer in 2008, George remarried and works daily alongside his new wife, Maricarmen, to carry out the Kingdom Racing mission. Now with the goal to reach “one million men for Christ,” Kingdom Racing looks forward to “winning” each race in a deeply passionate way, “all for His glory,” Del Canto affirms. “With God at our side, seeking Him in all things, we can run the race of this life, deliver His Word and celebrate true victory.”