It’s a yearly event for me to be the one that gets to write the “official” letter to Santa on behalf of all of NASCAR. I have been doing this for more than 20 years now and let me say up front I have no control over whom Santa determines to have been naughty or nice. So keeping that in mind, let’s get to it.
Dear Santa: Please bring NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., an injury-free year so his legion of fans will continue to show up at the racetrack and turn on the TV each week. When Dale stepped away because of his concussion, there was a large portion of the NASCAR fan base that just seemed to lose interest.
NASCAR officials need a little love from you Santa in the form of a rulebook that does not have any gray areas. Wouldn’t it be great to start a season and not have to make any changes in the rules or add to the rules because something came up that nobody ever thought would happen?
Santa, please don’t forget to bring Stewart-Haas Racing at least a dozen cases of Ford blue paint. The four-team organization will be switching over to Ford for the 2017 season after being one of the elite Chevrolet teams since its inception. There are a lot of Chevy Bowtie logos that are going to have to be covered with the blue Ford Oval before the teams head to Daytona in February.
Greg Biffle has always been one of the good guys in the sport so he has to be on your “nice” list and that is a good thing because he is looking for a seat for next season. The longtime Roush Fenway driver left at the end of the season and with very few open rides left for next season. Please put him in a ride that will give him a chance to be competitive.
All the folks that are in charge of Darlington Raceway would be tickled if you would bring them the same thing as you have the last two holiday seasons. The raceway’s throwback weekend of racing has become one of the more anticipated stops on the schedule, so some more old school paint schemes and bellbottom pants sure would be appreciated.
There are no better good guys than the Wood Brothers and they sure could use a trip to victory lane. Santa, why not give them another one of those huge upset wins in the Daytona 500 to start the season?
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Carl Edwards came oh so close to winning his first title, but decided to go down and block Joey Logano as the laps dwindled at Homestead-Miami. Please bring him one of Coach Gibbs’s books on blocking and highlight the chapter where it tells you when it is time to block.
Santa, this is the first year that I have asked for something for Monster Energy. The energy drink company will become the series sponsor next season and it needs a name for the series and a unique trophy to give to the champion. Also, put a big smile on its face so it will stay in the sport for years to come and give it some stability.
I consider Bristol Motor Speedway my home track so bring it another big project to work on since it proved to every other track that it could be multi-purposed when it hosted the largest-attended college football game in history. I am going to be a little biased here and ask that you give the track a date on the Rolling Stones’ next tour. I would love to see what it could do with a big-time rock concert on those high-banked turns.
Now to all my race fans, please give them a ticket to race, an autograph from their favorite driver, and be sure to fill their hearts with the true reason for this wonderful season that we are celebrating.