Sandro José Bruno, 46, is a Seventh-day Adventist who uses his gifts to witness in an unusual environment. On the raceways, amid the noise of engines, the race-driver and mechanical engineer, who lives in Boituva, the interior of São Paulo, has a clear goal. He runs in competitions, but also speeds up the distribution of missionary books and connects with people to talk about the gospel of God. In one of his cars, there is not a sticker missing from the TV station Novo Tempo . After learning about quality of life and health, Sandro Bruno changed his diet and lost 30 pounds, or 14 kilos, with a different style. The South American Adventist News Agency (ASN) talked to him about his story.
How does drag-racing work? What is the history?
Drag-racing started in the United States in the 1950s. There, they made their race-courses on the street. In states like California, for example, the roads are large and straight, sometimes about a quarter of a mile. They started taking tests in various places in the United States and building start-up tracks. About 10 years ago, drag-racing became very popular in Brazil. There are several tracks, mainly in the south of Brazil. Drag-racing had begun to look professional. The races are always with two cars and have several categories. There are cars with front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. It has categories, for example, of cars with 2, 4 and 6 cylinders. You travel 402 meters (1/4 mile) or 201 meters (1/8 mile) as fast as possible. After the green light comes on, how long does it take you to leave the start? It counts on the final time. However, if you leave before the green light, for instance at the yellow light, you’re penalized, if you leave on the red light, you lose that “pull” or race.
How long have you been a part of this world and which titles did you win?
I started racing in 1991 and 1992, and it was my father who encouraged me. He always liked race cars and took me to Interlagos in Sao Paulo, to see the circuit cars and then, once, he took me at night. When I saw that, I was crazy. I began dedicating myself to racing. I set up the first workshop and the first car I had was a drag car. Every month I would race. I took it very seriously. I got sponsorship and a few years ago, I was living off the winnings. I got to be São Paulo champion three times, then I started racing in the championships outside São Paulo. I was a champion in Paraná twice and raced in the Brazilian championship. In the first national race, I was runner-up, in another race, I was champion. Then I started races in various places in Brazil. In Manaus, Fortaleza, gaucho championship. I believe that God put me in this career, I became known and today He is using me.
How have you witnessed these events and this type of audience? Speak in detail how this has been.
I did not run for two years. Then, when I came back, I came back as an Adventist and I went to a test race. Something told me to go to that race and it was about 37 miles, or 60 kilometers, from home. I ended up going and met several friends and one of them told me that I was done. They explained I needed sponsorship and the race was very expensive. But I said that I would go back to racing slowly, only Friday and Sunday I would race, but not Saturday. My friend looked up and said, "Are you an Adventist?" The man began to cry and said he was away 20 years from the Adventist church. My friend said, that week his mother had come to his house and brought the Bible he used and asked him to go back to the church. The mother insisted and my friend said he would only come back if there was a sign of God. I believe I was the sign to him. After three months, he was baptized, his wife and son and then his other brother. When I started to talk about the Bible, he knew a lot more than I did. See how God uses people without knowing? It was very exciting.
And you distribute a lot of books, right?
Today I do. I race again, but not like I used to. Every two months I go to a race. I go on Friday, but on Saturday afternoon I go to the runway to distribute missionary books, talk about God with some friends and explain the meaning of the Sabbath. I tell them that if I race, I depend on my employees, I will give work to some people to do the service on Saturday. I explain and many understand, others look strangely, but it is very good, because then I speak of God. It is not easy, but there, in the middle, there is always someone who has an open heart.
There is something else that my wife and I do in the company. I buy boxes of books and in every piece of merchandise I sell (parts, engines) for the clients, I put a copy inside. There are some customers who send thank you notes for the gift we send. I usually distribute about 50 copies of missionary books a month.