A NASCAR Fan's Letter to Santa
It's time once again to let you know what we'd like for you to bring this year. I'm not going to claim we were all good this year. As you know, there was a lot of complaining but hopefully we can try harder to be good in 2018. If you're so inclined, here are a few things I think would make most if not all of us happy.
We'd love it if you could bring us more first time winners. We loved the fact we saw Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Ryan Blaney all pick up their first career Cup wins in 2017. New winners bring excitement and you know NASCAR needs as much of that as possible these days. It looks like you have a great crop to choose from in 2018. Besides existing Cup drivers like Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones, William Byron, Bubba Wallace and Alex Bowman have been added to the mix so hopefully we'll see several first time visits to Victory Lane. This might be the easiest request I have.
Although the Toyota teams dominated much of 2017, we did get to see Chevy and Ford pick up their share of victories. Hopefully you can see fit to bring us more parity in 2018 among the manufacturers and teams, especially on those dreaded mile and a half tracks. It would be great if Richard Childress Racing could continue to grow with Dillon and bring Richard Petty Motorsports up with it at the same time. We know the Fords don't have the balance of Toyota or the new body style like Chevy but they still have the muscle of that Roush-Yates horsepower. With any luck, Penske, Stewart-Haas and Roush Fenway will all contend as well.
As you know, Santa, one of the great appeals of racing is the idea that the little guys can compete against the major money. Lately it's been more of a hope than a belief but we have a great group of "second tier" teams and drivers. It might be too much to ask for wins but if you could see fit to bring some top 10's or top 5's to teams and drivers like Go Fas Racing and Matt DiBenedetto, Front Row Motorsports and Michael McDowell and Kasey Kahne with Leavine Family Racing, it sure would make a lot of folks happy. You know those guys have to make do with less. As a result, they often have to outwork the major team so to see their efforts rewarded would be a great thing.
We all know you want people to be good but admit it, big guy, a good ol' rivalry can be a good thing on the track. Kyle Busch thinks he has one with Brad Keselowski but we all know that's only in Kyle's mind. What we'd like to see is where this Denny Hamlin vs. Chase Elliott story goes. Some may say Elliott evened the score at Phoenix but you know Hamlin has to still harbor the thought that Chase cost him the win and thus a chance for the title at Homestead. It might never be a Darrell vs. Rusty battle or even an Earnhardt against Gordon rivalry but it has the potential to be something entertaining.
I know I've asked for a lot but there's one more request I have. Honestly, this is more important than everything else on the list. Regardless of who the drivers are, what team they race for and what kind of car they drive, keep them all safe. Aric Almirola had a pretty vicious crash at Kansas and had to miss several weeks but fortunately he recovered and got back into the car. For all the missteps NASCAR has made in the past few years, they continue to stress and improve safety and we're all thankful for that. No fan of the sport ever wants to see a driver, any driver, seriously injured or God forbid, killed. Hopefully this time next year we can be thankful that this request was granted.
Finally, Santa, you'll notice I didn't go completely overboard with this wish list. I know you receive more outrageous Christmas wishes than we could possibly know about but that's still no reason to believe the FOX TV crew will take the sport seriously. Can you imagine their football broadcasters acting the way those Waltrips do? Why, I bet the NFL commissioner himself would step in and put a stop to that idiocy immediately.
I'm also not going to ask that the sport stop racing in front of empty seats at Indianapolis. I mean, if they want to continue to put out a product that's mediocre at best, why stop them? Along those same lines, if the sanctioning body still thinks that all these mile and a half tracks put on a great show while tracks like Iowa Speedway languish in unfulfilled potential, do you even have the power to change their minds? Heck, there's a better chance that you're real than there is for that to happen.
Anyway, any help you can give us would certainly be appreciated. You know as well as anyone that NASCAR needs all the help it can get right now. Hopefully if even some of these Christmas wishes are granted, the sport, its coverage and its fans will all be better off for it.
A NASCAR fan