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Some Christmas gifts – NASCAR-style




Steve Mickey

Steve Mickey

Christmas is all about tradition and the days soon after Santa’s departure are no different. Many of us spend some of that time looking for a place to store our new “stuff” that we were fortunate (in most cases) to receive. It’s during this time that you really sit down and examine each gift and sometimes ask yourself why you were so lucky to receive such an item.

It’s those types of items that we are going to be taking a look at today and maybe some of the reasons those gifts were given. Of course, we all got a few of those but I bet you there were a couple of our favorite drivers that could also count themselves lucky in the gift department and here is a look at what they unwrapped on Christmas morning.

No doubt Jeff Gordon opened a few packages containing books on how to be the ultimate father since he became a first-time dad this past season. Over his career he had been asked every question imaginable about the sport and the birth of his baby girl gave rise to new questions about how being a father would affect his driving. He answered that shortly after the arrival of his little girl he made another visit to victory lane, only this time holding the trophy was shared with holding the baby.

Tony Stewart probably opened up a few new toys this Christmas from his younger teammates, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. Tony had words with Hamlin this past season and his history with the Busch brothers has been highly publicized over the years. It may be that Tony is now the “older brother” in Gibbs’s three-team operation and he may have to do a little cracking of the ol’ whip to keep the family in line. After all, everyone knows that the older brother is supposed to be the favorite son.

Jack Roush probably sent both Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards his own Roush Racing version of the game Family Feud. Those two teammates went at it at Martinsville, but everything seems to be in order in the house that Jack built so there is no need for the two drivers to get together at the shop and play out the board version of what happened.

Robert Yates no longer has any use for the new road atlas he unwrapped this year. After a long life on the road in the sport as a crewman and then owner, retirement has to be looking good to him. He experienced both the highs and lows in the sport as he won a Cup title with Dale Jarrett but had to deal with the staggering loss of the death of Davey Allison.

When Dale Jr. signed with Hendrick Motorsports back in the summer it was like Christmas, but you know he was still looking for a tree full of gifts on the 25th. I’m sure he wasn’t disappointed, but I doubt if he opened one from Teresa Earnhardt. How could she ever let the sport’s biggest calling card get away is still hard for me to understand.

Legendary James Hylton tried to qualify for the Daytona 500 last February and in the process became the toast of the media as it gave them something to write about when they needed a non- Michael Waltrip Racing story. It seems Hylton unwrapped a set of keys to another race car this Christmas and apparently it is going to be parked in Daytona in a couple of months.

Kasey Kahne woke up Christmas morning only to open a pair of red shoes that were several sizes too large for him. Come to find out they had the Budweiser logo on them and they were once worn by Dale Jr. The low-key Kahne now finds himself as the front man for Budweiser’s marketing machine. That will definitely force the soft-spoken driver out of his shell.

Richard Childress struggled in the years immediately following the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Some wondered if the sport had passed him by, but after the season his three teams had, he definitely has no need for the rocking chair someone got him. All three teams made the Chase and he captured his second Daytona 500 win with Kevin Harvick. Don’t look for Childress to rock away anytime soon.

I hope that all of your gifts were on your wish list and you don’t have to find a spot for any of them, and that includes a couple of wins for your favorite driver in 2008. Thanks for reading the column this season and now let’s get ready to start the engines for another great year.

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