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Hood: These Holiday Wishes Smell Like Gasoline

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, December 25 2009
Carl Edwards needs to lose the crutches and win some races this coming.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Here's hoping Carl Edwards stays off the crutches and wins some races this coming season. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

My two children put together their Christmas wish lists a few weeks ago. Not surprisingly, they are very interested in expensive, high-tech gadgets.

My holiday wishes are a bit more complicated for the fellow from the North Pole to deliver. These items can’t be acquired at a local retail store. And they’re all NASCAR-related.

A NASCAR Christmas wish list?

My wife says I’ve lost my mind and should seek counseling. Of course, she’s been saying that for nearly 20 years.

So in keeping with the spirit of the season, here’s hoping for a banner racing season as we head into a new decade.

Here’s a transcript of what I asked dear ol’ Santa to deliver us racing fanatics in 2010:

* For the upcoming Daytona 500 to equal the excitement of the 1979 Great American Race when Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough slugged it out, literally, on the final lap.

* For anyone driving a chassis not built by Hendrick Motorsports to mount a serious threat and prevent Jimmie Johnson from winning a fifth consecutive Sprint Cup title.

* For an injury-free Carl Edwards to return to competitive form in the Cup Series. Who would have thought the No. 99 Ford would go winless in 2009?

* For Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers to win a Cup race. It won’t top the late Dale Earnhardt’s 1998 victory in the 500, but it’d still be a memorable moment for the sport.

* For NASCAR to schedule two-day weekends, when possible. Less time on the road puts more money back into everyone’s pockets.

* For NASCAR to crack down on cheating. Fail pre-race tech and the crew chief, car, driver and team are sent home for the weekend. Fail post-race tech and don’t bother showing up for the next event.

* For NASCAR to overhaul qualifying. With 35 teams already locked in, Cup time trials is nearly exciting as hearing from my dentist that I’m scheduled for a root canal next month.

* For Morgan Shepherd to land a lucrative sponsor for his Nationwide Series car. The Lord knows this old man can still get up on the wheel in good equipment.

* For NASCAR to ban start-and-park cars. It’s a hazard standing in the Nationwide Series garage on lap four as cars parade down pit road and “take that hard left hand turn.”

* For NASCAR to shorten both Cup races at Pocono to 400 miles. And Tony Stewart thought the most-recent race at Talladega got boring during the middle stages?

* Full-time rides in any of NASCAR’s top three series for David Gilliland, Travis Kvapil, Reed Sorenson, David Stremme and Scott Wimmer.

* For Marcos Ambrose to win a Cup race. That will be one heck of an Aussie celebration!

* For NASCAR to lose the ridiculous wings on the rear decklid of the Cup cars. Admit that it was a mistake and go back to the traditional spoiler.

* For at least three non-Cup drivers driving non-Cup affiliated cars fielded by non-Cup teams to win at least one race each in the Nationwide Series during companion Cup weekends.

* For Ned Jarrett to return to the TV booth one more time. In his prime as a broadcaster, no one could explain strategy better than Gentleman Ned.

* For a driver to compete for the 2010 Cup Raybestos rookie of the year title. Hard to believe, but we may not see a rookie race on Sundays this season.

* For Charlotte Motor Speedway to do away with all the hoopla before and during the Sprint Cup All Star race. It’s supposed to be a stock car race, not a rock concert.

* For the sport’s all-time premier promoter, Humpy Wheeler, to surface at another speedway and offer his expertise on how to pull the sport out of its attendance and viewership slump.

* For Boris Said to land a full-time Cup ride. It’d be neat to see the Said Heads show up somewhere other than Montreal, Sonoma and Watkins Glen.

* For NASCAR to require every track on the circuit to be fully-equipped with lights. In this day and age, a Cup race should never be shortened for impending darkness.

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, December 25 2009
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