This is one of my favorite columns of the year as it has been a tradition of mine for more than 15 years to write a letter to Santa on behalf of everyone involved with NASCAR. It really doesn’t matter if they have been naughty or nice, the important thing is that at least you ask the round man in red to remember these individuals that bring us so much pleasure from February to November.
So here go our 2010 letter to Santa:
Poor ol’ Denny Hamlin had such a terrible ending to his year that I want you to bring him something very special. I think what he may need is a book on mental toughness. It seems that Jimmie Johnson was able to overtake him during the final race of the season because he was able to take the pressure of the Chase so much better than Hamlin and his crew.
Speaking of Jimmie, you might as well bring him another shelf for his trophy case. His old one has to be full with five Sprint Cup trophies and it looks like he is going to be the odds-on favorite to add number six next season unless Denny or someone can stand up to him for the entire 36-race schedule.
Richard Petty has been his usual good self this past season, despite having to race on the pennies that fell through the bleachers each week. It would be nice of you to just put some cash in a card (lots of cash) for him so he could compete at a higher level. You can’t tell me that it wouldn’t be good for the sport if the King could once again compete for wins and maybe slip a car into the Chase.
Dale Jr. might be the most popular driver in the sport, but he still needs some help on how to win a race. Maybe the best gift you could leave him would be a map with easy-to-read directions on how to find the entrance to victory lane. It probably wouldn’t hurt if you would give his new crew chief Steve Letarte a copy as well. He has piloted Jeff Gordon to the longest losing streak of his career.
Kasey Kahne is definitely what you would call in limbo after signing with Hendrick Motorsports for the 2012 season and leaving Richard Petty Motorsports near the end of this past season. He will be behind the wheel of a Red Bull Toyota this season, so please bring him a box of tissues he can use when he sees Mark Martin’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet that he will be driving in 2012 go by him on its way to the front of the pack.
Darrell Waltrip has done it all in NASCAR but get into its Hall of Fame. He had to emcee the show that was announcing the Hall’s newest class back in November that didn’t include him. He pulled it off like the showman that he is, but please, Santa, let this be the year that D.W. gets to take his place with the greats that have already made it.
D.W.’s sidekick Larry McReynolds only needs one thing from you this year. He needs more hours in the day. It doesn’t matter what network you tune into, Larry Mac is working. He is the hardestworking man on TV when it comes to racing and fortunately for us, he does know what he is talking about. So put a few more hours into a race weekend so he can get some more airtime.
I don’t want to forget the powers that-be at NASCAR, because they did give us the “boys, have at it” approach to the sport this season. Please continue to give them the wisdom to see that the racing is at its best when the outcome is decided on the track and not by a group up in a private box on raceday.
Of course, it is the race fans that read this column that I want Santa to really take good care of. Here’s wishing that your driver not only wins the Daytona 500 this season but also beats Jimmy for the title (if you’re not a Jimmy fan). Thanks for reading each week and I hope your Christmas ends up with you taking the checkered flag.
Finally, I hope of us take the time to remember the real reason for this wonderful season cause He can make every day feel like Christmas if you will let him.