Roger Diez: Christmas shopping for your favorite gearhead
With just 10 shopping days until Christmas, have you found the perfect gift for the gearhead in your life yet? If not, I’m here to help.
This year there are so many choices that I’m only going to be able to cover a few. Of course, you can go to NASCAR.com or the website of any driver or team and find hats, shirts, coffee cups, beer mugs, keychains, jackets, diecast cars, and many more items emblazoned with your racing fan’s favorite driver’s name and likeness.
For more generic items, I also found that Amazon.com has some interesting stuff. A couple of my favorites are socks with “Gas” and “Clutch” written on the right and left, and a T-shirt that says “Race it. Break it. Fix it. Repeat.” Racers will identify with that one!
Etsy.com also carries that shirt and much more, with items for NASCAR, dirt track, kart, F1, and more. A T-shirt with “World’s Okayest Drag Racer” caught my eye there. Car and Driver magazine’s website has a list of 84 cool gifts for car lovers, a wide variety of neat stuff for your daily driver, apparel, books, etc. I think my favorite here is a book for your toddler, ABC’s for Future Racing Drivers, with race-related terms for each letter. And a 1471-piece Lego Ford Mustang might be a fun project for dad and kids alike.
For the more robust of spirit, giving your race enthusiast some track time in a real race car will make you a hero. Just pretend you’re Joe Gibbs and you just hired him to drive for you.
Nascarracingexperience.com has a wide variety of options and different programs behind the wheel. They operate at 17 oval tracks, with the nearest being Las Vegas, ISM (formerly Phoenix), and Auto Club Speedway in Southern California, using real race cars that have been raced by NASCAR stars.
Packages range from five minutes behind the wheel to 48 minutes, with higher RPM levels as drivers gain proficiency. If you get one of the shorter packages, I would recommend Phoenix, as you’ll get more laps on the one-mile track than at Vegas or California. Gift cards purchased from the site are also good for the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Mario Andretti driving experience. Gift cards are non-refundable and must be paid for with a major credit card. No cash or checks.
Unfortunately, Formula One fans don’t have driving experiences to choose from, but mementoexclusives.com has items made from actual F1 car parts. My favorite is a glass-topped coffee table set on a mounted wheel and tire from Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. GPgpfans.com also has some cool team and series items, as does the F1store page at Formula1.com.
Drag racing fans, nitromall.com is your go-to place for everything for your favorite racer. Team and driver gear, event items, diecasts, and accessories galore are available, and they have a 25% off sitewide sale going on. Amazon and Etsy also get into the act, as both sites seem to have a variety of racing gifts for any aspect of motorsports.
And now for something completely different, Cole Pearn has announced his retirement from NASCAR racing. Pearn has been crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. the past five years, scoring 24 wins and a championship. So why leave at the top of his game? Pearn has two kids, 7 and 5 years of age, and told Sirius/XM’s Dave Moody on the NASCAR channel that he wants to spend time with them. NASCAR has been a grind of 38 seven-day weeks during the season, and he has made family a priority. Pearn plans to move back to Canada and do some race consulting. I applaud his decision.