Hey, Big Man! It's almost that time of year again. I know you're busy finishing up the toy production run for this year, and undoubtedly almost finished making your list and have probably proceeded to checking it twice. May a sometimes naughty, but mostly nice racing fan make a few last minute requests?
First and foremost, Santa, please bring us safe racing next year. Let every driver, crew member, official, fan, and passerby return to their homes after the race under their own power. We pray to the Good Lord for the same thing week in and week out, but we figure maybe a little Christmas Magic could help in that area as well.
Please bring us some good racing in 2009. Please let every race have its own unique qualities, its own personality, it's own reasons for fans wanting to watch it over and over again, and to want to come back to the same track in the future for even more.
Please bring Goodyear a magic formula for tire compounds in 2009, please, please, please Sir! Please don't give us the ugly lump of coal that was the Indianapolis race from 2008 again, Santa! We as fans promise, we'll be good!
Santa, please bring the new car better handling. Please let the drivers race each other for wins rather than simply just trying to keep the car on the track and out of the fence. In other words, Santa, please give us racing again instead of 500 mile tests.
Santa, please bring all the teams more sponsors in 2009. Many of the smaller teams are hurting, and need just a little boost to get them in the races. On a side note, please bring us all more money so we can support our sport by buying tickets and merchandise! Or just bring us the tickets and the merchandise! You know who we are and who wants what! (wink, wink!)
Santa, can you please bring us some good, old fashioned, straight up qualifying? Bring us the fastest 43 cars and let them race. Bring NASCAR some common sense so that they know the top 35 rule is basically making it harder, instead of easier, for smaller teams to get into the field.
Santa, can you bring us a return to racing without the Chase for the Cup? I think the Chase is another deterrent to would be sponsors, because the sponsors that really want to shine want to make sure they are only on a top 12 car every year, which leaves a lot of cars without adequate sponsorship who might be in the Chase if they had more resources. NASCAR has unwittingly created a vicious circle here, Santa, and instead of improving the racing with its so-called play off system, it's only eliminated most of the field from gaining much exposure during the last 10 races of the season. Nothing irritates a sponsor more than not getting air time.
Santa, can you bring the upper management at NASCAR a little extra wisdom for next year? Just enough to show them that monkeying with a great product almost always lessens the value of the product. It seems to me that the racing just isn't as good as it used to be. There are exceptions, of course, but even races that in the past have always been exciting seem to have lost a little of their luster lately. (Try saying that fast three times, Santa!)
Finally, Santa, I implore you to send some of your elves to Detroit and other great cities all over the continent and help get the Big 3 straightened out. NASCAR just won't be the same without Chevrolet, Ford, or Dodge. We know your guys have production down to, well, magic. If anyone can straighten out the mess our automobile manufacturers are in, you and your folks can, Santa! I just know you can!
Lastly, (I know I said finally before, but you know how I am) I'd recommend a little higher spring rate and a round down on the track bar on your sleigh. It will help you in the corners, I think.
Merry Christmas Santa! Merry Christmas to all the Racing Nation.