Last week a friend of mine ran into Santa while doing some Christmas shopping at the Philadelphia-area King of Prussia Mall and promptly thanked him for making it a happy holiday for Phillies fans everywhere by returning Cliff Lee to the team’s bullpen for the 2011 season. It was an awkward exchange, given that it happened in a men’s restroom, but it got me to thinking: If Santa could grant some motorsports-related Christmas wishes, what would I ask for? Here’s what I came up with.
10. That the IZOD IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix doesn’t flop — because the idea of an IndyCar street race in “Charm City” is intriguing.
9. That Danica Patrick give up the ghost and stick to open-wheel motorsports.
8. That a foreign-born racer driving a Toyota wins the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Nothing would get the old-school readership fired up more and fewer events would prompt more public forum letters, most of which would blast NASCAR for forgetting this country’s history and dredge up references to Pearl Harbor and World War II all because the powers that be in Daytona Beach let foreigners and a Japanese-based manufacturer into the sport.
7. That the usual hype surrounding February’s Daytona Speedweeks lasts until Homestead in November, that the talking heads on television forget phrases like “If the race ended now,” and aren’t permitted to talk about possible Chase scenarios until August.
6. That come May, the Pennsylvania Posse starts a new winning streak against the World of Outlaws regulars at Williams Grove Speedway.
5. That every racing series could have the down-to-the-wire, nail-biting title fights we saw in NASCAR Sprint Cup, Formula One, IndyCar, the World of Outlaws and NHRA in 2010.
4. That the return of the United States Grand Prix in 2012 helps revive some interest in Formula One racing in this country.
3. That the newly created USAC National Driver’s Championship and its $300,000 scholarship for 10 events in the Firestone Indy Lights Series is more than “meaningful,” as USAC head man Kevin Miller describes it, and goes a long way to strengthening the bond between two of America’s premier racing divisions.
2. That both Cory McClenathan and Hillary Will find top-notch Top Fuel rides in NHRA competition for the 2011 season.
1.That someone, for the love of all that is great in this world, other than Jimmie Johnson win a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
And what would you ask Santa to bring you this year? Whatever it is, here’s to hoping your wishes come true.