Santa ready to set another racing record |

Santa ready to set another racing record

Roger Diez

Tonight is the night the fastest driver of all time makes his yearly run. Yes, I’m talking about Santa “Big Bubba” Claus, who puts every race driver in the world to shame. I mean, who else could drive all the way around the world in 24 hours, while making 427,913,877 pit stops to deliver toys? Even with his fantastic pit crew – who can change two Goodyear sled runners and dump in 22 bushels of Purina Reindeer Chow in 12.9 seconds — “Big Bubba” Claus does most of the work himself. This year, his primary sponsors (as usual) are Mattel, Fisher-Price, Nintendo, Sony, Lionel, Tyco, and With eight Rick Hendrick-prepped reindeer power at the front of his low-drag sleigh, “Big Bubba” is likely to set yet another new record this Christmas Eve. Luckily for all the other drivers in the world he only races in the off-season…otherwise Daytona, Indy, Le Mans, and every other race in the world would be a Claus benefit.

I know everybody has lots of things on the list they sent Santa, but here’s what I would like to see under some Christmas trees early Sunday morning:

For open wheel race fans: return to the good old days of innovation and imagination in the IndyCar series. Yes, I know a spec car and regulated engines are more affordable. But those of us who are old enough remember the days when the number of car and engine manufacturers gave us great and interesting racing. I know realistically we’ll never see cars like the STP turbine car or the Novi, but I would settle for opening up the series to additional players. Santa, make it happen and I’ll try to see to it Rudolph becomes the permanent Pace Reindeer for the series.

For NASCAR fans: A little relaxing, or better yet complete elimination, of some of the ridiculous rules and punishments. I speak primarily of the draconian penalties for loose lug nuts in post-race inspection. Suspending and fining crew chiefs big bucks for the infraction is like giving the death penalty for overtime parking. Also, Santa — please keep NASCAR from fiddling with the Chase format any more. The current version does everything it hoped for in terms of drama and fan interest. I know there are folks in NASCAR officialdom who can’t resist tweaking things, but put them on the naughty list if they mess with the Chase.

For Brian France and the rest of the NASCAR hierarchy: Some ideas that will bring the fans back. With slumping TV ratings and empty seats in the stands, could it be the most popular racing series ever could be on the decline? Santa, leave Brian a hearing aid in his stocking, so he can listen to the fans a little better.

For Formula 1 fans: A suitable replacement for Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. Preferably someone who will keep Lewis Hamilton on his toes, just as Nico did this past season. The recent announcement of Valtteri Bottas to get the seat should accomplish that. I think both Bottas and Mercedes got an early present this year.

For the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, some new energy injected into the series. Maybe a mandated level of Monster Energy drink for all the pit crews just prior to the race? Perhaps that could lead to 10 second pit stops? And are you going to give the Sprint girls new uniforms, or bring in new spokesmodels? Inquiring minds want to know.

Finally, for racers and race fans everywhere, I hope you find what you want under the tree, whether it be an autographed Dale Earnhardt Jr. helmet, tickets to Talladega or Indy, a new carburetor for your hobby stock car, or a gift certificate to a racing school. Just remember, if you go out to celebrate the holidays, party hearty but don’t get behind the wheel if you’ve had a little too much Christmas cheer. The best drivers in the world can’t handle drinking and driving, so don’t think you can. Don’t ruin your holiday and someone else’s . . . have a designated driver or take a taxi home.