Ah, the holidays. Snow is falling, we’re all freezing to death on the east coast, and for lots of boys and girls across the world, Santa is coming to town. But what if the drivers, owners, and other personalities of NASCAR had an opportunity to ask Saint Nick for a Christmas gift? What would they ask for? The following is what I think they should’ve put on their Christmas list this season. Even if they’re not necessarily on the “Nice” list.
- Joey Logano — Starting off with the reigning champion, Logano is on top of the world. In case you didn’t truly believe that 2022 was the year of driver 22, he was recently seen in a video he posted to social media with a full head of hair. Being a balding man in my late 20s, I have to say I’m jealous. But to the point, what does the man who has everything right now ask for for Christmas? Joey should be asking for something that can mostly only be found during the holidays: magic. The champ needs to ask Santa for the magic of longevity between he and Crew Chief Paul Wolfe. Wolfe and Brad Keselowski slowly fizzled out after their improbable run to the title in 2012, and they never came very close to another title together.
- Jimmie Johnson — The prodigal GOAT returns to NASCAR on a limited basis after a disappointing stint in IndyCar and we’re all excited to cross that off our Christmas lists. But what in the heck would Jimmie “7x” Johnson ask Santa for during Christmas of 2022? Well sadly it’s something he won’t be able to have. Chad Knaus is firmly locked in at the house (HMS) he and Jimmie solidified during their run together. Jimmie is part owner of Petty GMS, and while they had a massive season last season with Erik Jones in the 43, Ty Dillon didn’t do much in the other car. Noah Gragson steps into that role this season and while I like Noah and I think he’s immensely talented, I don’t know if this team has what it takes to return Johnson to form. Jimmie also struggled mightily in his years without Chad, which for now tells a lot of race fans who was responsible for the lion’s share of those titles. Jimmie needs Chad but Santa just can’t out negotiate Rick Hendrick.
- Ross Chastain — So I tortured myself over this one. I wanted to first say “Chase Elliott’s forgiveness” but I didn’t want to sound like too much of a stan for my driver. I wanted to say “Denny Hamlin to develop amnesia” but I think that situation has been settled. I don’t think Ross would ever want that kind of stuff anyway. I wanted to go with maybe a watermelon. That usually means he’s won. Figuring that was kind of obvious, I’ve settled on a copy of NASCAR 2005 and a mint Nintendo GameCube. Show me you learned the “Hail Melon” from that game, cause I don’t believe you, you son of a watermelon farmer.
- Kyle Larson — The most talented man in the field, Kyle Larson should only want one thing for Christmas. No, he shouldn’t ask for another 2021. No, he shouldn’t ask for Chase Elliott to find a new team. He should ask that Homestead get two dates again. One early in the season so that he can lock himself in the playoffs. The other date he should ask Santa for is that Homestead make its way back to being the site where champions are crowned. If Kyle Larson is in the championship four and Homestead is the race to decide it, it’s over for whoever the other three are.
- Tony Stewart — You may be wondering why I included Tony on this list. What if I told you Tony’s Christmas wish was the simplest of all ten of these guys? Tony simply needs to ask Santa to convince the doubters that he’s right. Stewart bumped heads behind closed doors at SHR with co-owner Gene Haas over Cole Custer being moved from the 41 and Ryan Preece moving in. I 100% am not saying Cole Custer deserved to keep that ride. I’m just not thoroughly convinced that Preece is the answer. It’s awesome that a rough and tumble modified guy is getting another shot at Cup in good equipment. I just don’t know if he’s that much of an improvement. Preece could be the next Alex Bowman. Or he could certainly be another SHR bust. Time will tell.
- Mike Joy — The true voice of NASCAR if you ask me, Mike Joy is for certain the GOAT of broadcasting. Anytime I see a classic replay that I know Joy had the call for, I get goosebumps. I still do. That is, until I remember that Fox’s NASCAR coverage has completely become unglued, Clint Bowyer is probably screaming something unintelligible and some wallflower is in the booth with them, offering nothing of value to the broadcast. I’m not saying that all of the guest commentators were bad. Mostly they were good. I just hated the fact that it rotated. Therefore, Mike Joy should ask for either Jamie McMurray or Larry McReynolds to return to the booth and return the three man dynamic. Remember when it was Mike, DW and Larry up there? They all fed off each other perfectly, DW off the wall with his banter, Larry Mac sounding like a citizen of Mayberry but putting out knowledge like an engineering professor and in the middle of it all was Mike Joy, providing decades of insight and knowledge to the average viewer so that they may google or read a book about the anecdote he just told. My point is, we, most importantly Mike Joy, deserves so much better. #FreeMikeJoy
- Steve Phelps, Steve O’Donnell — The brass at the top of the sanctioning body, I decided to put these guys together because their hypothetical wishes, if granted, would benefit the other. These guys need two really big gifts from the big guy in red this year. One: that a new TV deal gets done and ESPN returns to covering NASCAR, even if it was in place of NBC instead of Fox. If they put in the effort they did in the late 90s and early 00s, ESPN could very well take NASCAR back to the glory days of record attendance and a bucket full of money. These guys also really need a stellar performance out of the Gen 7 car this year. Safety and reliability wise, the car was a complete failure. Mysterious equipment failures, driver rage, and driver injuries marred the launch of the car. The racing was good, but they have to get this figured out. I don’t think Santa has the key or the answers, but somebody must.
- Kyle Busch — Ha, see what I did there? I put KFB at number 8. Kyle Busch’s Christmas wish should be very simple. Kyle really needs Santa to bring nothing but the utmost success in his move over to RCR. Kyle practically forced Tyler Reddick out a year early, to get here and he for sure and certain isn’t going to take the task lightly. I’ll take this a step further. I think Kyle needs to win the Daytona 500 in February to call this a success. Too bad Santa doesn’t carry the Harley J. Earl in a sack.
- Joe Gibbs — I’d say coach is going through a tough holiday season this year after losing his son Coy on Championship weekend. So, I’ll keep this as light as possible. The Coach should really hope that he’s not eating crow after moving on from his most successful driver to his young and brash grandson, Ty. Ty is super talented and big picture, we may remember the year that Kyle Busch was forced from the 18 as the year that Ty Gibbs became a superstar at the top level. Coach needs to call on Santa to deliver him some affirmations that he made the right decision. I think the jury will be out on that one for awhile.
- Chase Elliott — COME ON, you didn’t think I’d write a Christmas piece without including my guy did you? William Clyde had a lot to be thankful for this past season, as he was clearly Hendrick’s top dog for the regular season and dominating to win the regular season title. But Elliott faltered big time when the playoffs began, and he basically got to the championship four on his regular season performance alone. Once there, he was annihilated from contention after a dust up with Ross Chastain on a restart. Chase really needs to ask Santa for his mojo back. I’m afraid that if this team starts off slow, as they are prone to do, they could be done by summertime. The bad momentum from the playoff run could really hurt these guys in ways they can’t recover from. Elliott seemed to be more and more Bill Belichick and less Chase Elliott at times this past season as he would come off pessimistic and self deprecating. If this wish doesn’t work out, I guess he could always wish that Ryan Blaney stop filming him eating things too. Who eats wings with a fork?!
I hope all of you enjoyed this silly little article and it finds you full of joy, comfort and peace. Happy holidays my friends and I hope you’re all doing well, and I wish you a happy and safe new year!