NASCAR Pastor’s Head-Turning Prayer: ‘Thank You For My Smokin’ Hot Wife’

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As a pastor, hopefully Joe Nelms doesn’t channel his inner Talladega Nights too often in his Tennessee church. But he sure did pull a Will Ferrell during the invocation at a Nashville Superspeedway NASCAR race on Saturday.

Pulling lines right out of the irreverent prayer from the movie, Nelms has people still talking about his prayer. But he also has people interested in his church, the main goal, he says.

In an effort to liven things up a bit from the usual “cookie-cutter” prayer given prior to the race, Nelms thanked God for all things racing—including Dodges, Toyotas and Fords—at the start of his prayer before borrowing a line from the movie and saying, “Lord, I want to thank you for my smokin’ hot wife tonight.”

(PHOTOS: NASCAR’s Nation of Fans)

Racers snickered with heads bowed and eyes starting to open and fans cheered loudly.

Then, to keep the crowd into his exuberant prayer, Nelms tossed in a “In Jesus’ name, boogity, boogity, boogity, Amen” to end it off. Because really, why not, he must have thought. Others wonder what Jesus thinks of it all.

After the crowd-pleasing prayer at the Nationwide Federated Auto Parts 300, the pastor at Family Baptist Church in Gladeville, Tenn., said he wanted to show non-Christians that church folks know how to have fun, too.

And with both people talking about and condemning his prayer, he notes that at least he’s praying and people are talking about prayer and church. And maybe, just maybe, his prayer will get them to think about heading to church on Sunday morning.

Just don’t expect a trio of boogity, boogity, boogity on Sunday morning. That’s reserved for the racetrack.

MORE: Jesus, Take the Wheel: Polish Catholic Church to Pray for Nation’s Drivers

Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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