Also, if you're looking for that special gift for the car lover in your life I can highly recommend a trip to the Genuine Hot Rod Hardware site (www.genuinehotrod.com)
Believe me when I tell you that they have everything from apparel (jackets, t-shirts, sweatshirts and more), accessories (key chains, earrings, watches), outdoor gear, garage and auto gear (signs, chairs, shelves, wall decorations), electronics, hot rod life style items and so much more. It really is your "one stop shopping" place for anything you need this holiday season. Plus they have a full line of gift items priced under $25 that are guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone on your gift list. Check it out, but do it soon, Christmas is just a week away. By the way, did I mention pedal cars and nostalgic reproductions because they have them, too? Check them out or you can call them at 1-800-572-1932. If you have a car lover in your life they'll love a gift from Genuine Hot Rod Hardware.
There are some items that even Mike and Genuine Hot Rod Hardware don't have but that several racers might be asking for so I thought I would help out with my Christmas gift list for 2012. Santa, if you're reading this (and I know for a fact that Santa is a big drag racing fan), I have a few suggestions for the drag racer on my list (or anyone else's). I know that all of these folks have been good so see what you can do, Santa, to make their Christmas a little brighter this year.
Ron Capps.... A ring. Come on, Santa, you keep promising and teasing and I think it's about time you deliver. Ron has been among the best drivers in the Funny Car class for over a decade and he keeps coming so close to winning the championship. He already has a beautiful wife and wonderful children so the only thing he needs now to make his life perfect is a ring. Oh yeah, and a new fire suit because he gave his away at the end of the 2012 season. Wonder who the lucky guy was who got that?
Alexis DeJoria... Ok, so apparently she already is getting a ring so how about a top ten finish for her? She really was a breath of fresh air in 2012 and is a welcome addition to the Funny Car class, and with her new crew in 2013 she could contend for the championship. I enjoyed watching her race and grow into a good driver and now I'd like to see her make a run at the championship. Hey, if you can't give her a championship ring how about a tattoo of one? Just a thought.
Mike Neff... One job. He has two now (crew chief and a driver) and he's very good at both, but that has to be a lot of work for one guy (don't take my word for it, ask Tim Wilkerson) and I think he could be a star at either job. Word is that he may go over to John Force's car to be a crew chief, and if that happens, you can skip this and go on to the next person on the list, but thanks anyway.
Since I mentioned Tim Wilkerson how about a championship for him? Wait, even you can only do so much so how about a half-dozen wins for Tim and one for Daniel in 2013. Ok, so even the one for Daniel, because if that happens Tim will be the happiest guy on your list, believe me. Plus, give Tim that sign that Barry and Nancy Wallner always put up at Indy...he'll now what I mean.
Spencer Massey.... A ride. Stunning developments at the end of the season find one of the hottest young drivers in the sport on the sideline. I don't know what happened and only you know if he should be on the "naughty" or "nice" list but he's way too talented not to be driving in 2013.
Larry Dixon... A ride, wait, do you see a pattern developing here? And if there are only so many rides to go around how about a nice ESPN gig for Larry? He did such a great job with me in the booth last year and I think he could fit right in with Mike Dunn, Dave Rieff and the rest of the ESPN folks. By the way, Larry has been to Mike Goyda's place and he knows that Mike may have some things that even you don't, Santa. Really!
Melanie Troxel... See above!! Like Larry Melanie is "working the room" in an effort to get back on track in 2013. I think Melanie is the "total package" when it comes to a driving prospect and someone to represent a company. She's bright, articulate, attractive, knows the ins and outs of a car and has a great r?sum? so what more could a sponsor want?
Phil Burkart.... A ride. Hey, it's my list.
TJ Zizzo... A full race schedule for 2013. He's one of the best interviews in the class and makes a great presentation for himself and his sponsor every time he comes to the track. Plus it's cool just to see what the latest artwork that will be on his car from the great Kenny Youngblood. Ever thought about a new look for your ride, Santa?
Clay Millican.... An NHRA race win. At this
point I don't know what Clay's status is for 2013 but I hope it's racing. He's
so energetic and he may be a better interview than TZ or John Force. No
kidding! And I can only imagine what he'll be like when he wins one of these
races. Come on, Santa, help a poor
Terry McMillen.... A top ten finish. Hey, a guy can only get excited about socks and underwear so long, and that's what a finish outside of the top ten is like. Plus, he might be a better interview than TZ, John and Clay and that's saying something. Come on, from one fat guy to another, give Terry what he wants most...a spot in the "Countdown." (Note to Santa: Don't put me on the "naughty" list because of that "fat" comment, I'm only repeating what Terry has said several times....only for some reason when he says it it sounds funny).
Jim Dunn.... A reality show called "So You Want to be a Funny Car Driver." Or we could just call it "Survivor." Only kidding, but Jim is one of the coolest guys in the sport and it's great that he and the Grime Boss will be back next year.
Tom Compton.... A year with no rain...or snow. They took that "Winternationals" name to heart last year and it was a tough way to begin a season. Ok, if the folks near the races need some rain how about on Thursday and in the evenings, that should make everyone happy, especially Tom.
Jack Beckman.... A room to store his "stuff" which includes a really nice trophy he picked up last month.
Eddie Krawiec..... A wining Powerball lottery ticket. Hey, if you won 300 million bucks would you come back to race next year? I wouldn't. (Note to Santa; This wasn't my idea I'm just passing it along on behalf of all the other Pro Stock Motorcycle riders out there.)
Forrest Lucas.... A map to his house. I don't
mean a map on how to get there I mean a map of where to go once you're inside.
It may be the nicest house I have ever been in but I have to admit that I got
lost in it....and I had a GPS with me. Hey, Santa, here's an idea. How about you
give one room in that house to Jack for his stuff. Jenna won't mind and
Charlotte Lucas... See above. Oh yeah, how about a national event win for her, that would be special.
Morgan Lucas.... You're right, he already has everything.
Warren Johnson... Three more wins. I know WJ puts
on that front like he's an old curmudgeon (which he is) and he always says that
numbers don't mean anything (but they do). He's really a nice guy and three
more wins would give him 100 for his career and that would even make
Vincent Nobile... A couple of wins in 2013. He's already had two great years and there is more to come, but a couple of wins would guarantee that while I'm home watching the races on TV next year I got to watch Irene go crazy on the starting line and that would make anyone smile, especially me, and I'll need that in my retirement years.
Doug Kalitta... A championship. Doug is one of the classiest guys in the sport and I don't know how many more years he'll be driving so let's give him a title run in 2013. Even if he decides to race for ten more years let's just get it over with, ok? You know, I think the other TF drivers may actually be ok with you granting this little wish.
Robert Hight... Another run at the Funny Car championship or a World Series win for the Dodgers. You may have to check with him to see which one he wants the most (I think I know).
Ron Krisher.... Some nice quiet time with his wife, Karen. Now that he is officially retired he can take her out to dinner without worrying about who he has to race in round one the next day. I plan to take Diana out to dinner now that I'm retired and we may even go to some places that don't have drive-ins. Fancy, huh?
Larry Morgan.... At least one national event win for the Ford fans. He and they would like more but let's not get greedy. Oh yeah, you could also give him a couple of new T-shirts 'cause I think he's out of those "Stupid" ones.
Frank Manzo..... See Morgan Lucas above. Or you could try that lottery ticket deal, just in case it doesn't work with Eddie.
By the way, Santa, I would like to put everyone on your list who has been so kind to send me a card or a letter about my retirement. There have been hundreds of them, literally, and I would like to thank them all for their kindness. The cards and letters have come from folks whom I have never even met but apparently touched in some way. It has been so gratifying and I wish I could give them all what they want for Christmas. But for now I'll just say thanks to them for their kindness and I will miss them, too.
Merry Christmas to all.