NASCAR driver prayed, angels ‘pushed cars out of the way’


By Mark Ellis —

book cover
book cover

He grew up with little self-confidence, but after God took control of his life he gained the courage to pursue his dreams – and a lifestyle filled with adrenalin-fueled adventures.

“I was raised in a mainstream church and didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord,” says Robert Bakke, author of “Prayer at Full Throttle.”

He also suffered from an inferiority complex. “I was the scrawniest kid in my school and the last one picked for gym class,” he recalls. “I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence.”

Bakke felt somewhat lost as he entered college, and was put off by people who tried to tell him what he should or should not believe. He had never read the Bible for himself, but one day, he started to read the New Testament and the power of God’s Word bowled him over.

“I couldn’t understand why they didn’t teach this stuff in church,” says Bakke. The Word and the Spirit transformed his heart and revolutionized his thinking as he was born again.

“It was the most encouraging and powerful information I had ever laid my eyes on. It completely changed what I thought about God, myself, and my capabilities. When I had finished reading it, I truly believed that with God’s help I could accomplish anything.”

Bakke had a successful business career after college, then he began to pursue more exciting dreams God planted in his heart. He became a jet captain and aerobatic flight instructor and a black belt in karate.

Six years ago, he began to pursue his dream to become a race car driver, something he wanted to do since childhood.

On a Sunday in September, 2012, Bakke found himself out-of-town, driving a rental car on his way to get dinner.

He glanced at his watch and noticed it was about 7:00, the exact time his racing friend, Rylee Michaelson, was about to start a race.

He decided he would lift up a certain prayer for Rylee that he often uses before his own races. “Help her to run fast and clean and keep her safe….”

He got halfway through the prayer but couldn’t continue. A wave of unaccustomed emotion hit him and he began to weep, with large drops running down his cheeks.

Then he cried out: “God, release your angels to go to Rylee at the speed of lightning!”

Bakke had never prayed or even thought of uttering such a phrase. Where did that come from? he wondered. Why am I so emotional?

He started to pray his customary pre-race prayer once more for Rylee, but again became so overwhelmed by his feelings he had to stop.

Bakke went into the restaurant shaking his head, wondering what it all meant. After dinner, he got into his rental car, and was driving to his hotel when he got an urgent phone call. “Rylee had a bad crash and the car flipped…” the caller began.

Bakke almost drove into a ditch when he got the shocking news.

It seems that Rylee’s jalopy – which had no front rollbar – got hit sideways by another car. Rylee’s car overturned, which flipped her helmet off. (Apparently, Rylee was late to the track and forgot to strap her helmet on.)

“The car spun upside down for 300 feet,” the caller told him.

Bakke watched a video replay afterward of the crash and was amazed by what he saw. “As it was sliding all the other cars disappeared. In my heart I know it was angels pushing the other cars out of the way.”

Rylee trapped inside car after crash
Rylee trapped inside car after crash

“While she was sliding the roof collapsed on to her head and she stuck her head down into her sternum to find head room. The car’s throttle was stuck – red-lining — and the motor blew up shortly after she stopped.”

Amazingly, Rylee emerged from the crash without a scratch! “There is no question in my mind this was a miracle,” Bakke says.

After he got back to his hotel room he was able to reach Rylee by phone and she told him more details of the horrific crash and God’s amazing protection. She learned about her friend’s burden to intercede in prayer on her behalf 150 miles away.

Rylee was unhurt
Rylee was unhurt

When Bakke hung up the phone, he felt like “a heavenly blanket” was lowered from above on him, and that God gave him a specific assignment to write a book about prayer, which resulted in his newly published work: “Prayer at Full Throttle.”

“All things are possible with God,” Bakke marvels. “Never let anybody talk you out of your dreams.”


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