As the 2005 season drew to a close it was obvious that many drivers in the top NASCAR series were looking for some great gifts. Many drivers received the best gift, a new ride, but a few got other things that were needed.
Jeff Green got another chance in a substandard team for his substandard performance. It remains amazing why he is in the NEXTEL Cup division with as poor as he has been. Granted, he hasn’t been in the best equipment, but I suppose we’ll see just how good that equipment is when new crews and drivers are hired in his former team. One can’t help but wonder if this is his last chance.
Kyle Busch got a certificate to the school of better timing. Doesn’t it figure that he had one of his best races at Phoenix, and all the media wanted to talk about was his brother. Kyle was fed up prior to going to the media center and showed h e buckles under pressure when he got up and walked out during questions. The argument is that he started it by spouting off in the winner’s circle.
Richard and Kyle Petty received gifts of the best move in racing. A complete revamp of Petty Enterprises was needed and received with Bobby Labonte and Robbie Loomis. With both of their personalities seeming the same, the two should turn this organization back into the winners they once were. Bobby Labonte is one of the classiest drivers on the circuit and Loomis has learned a great deal from his tenure at Hendricks Motorsports.
Tony Stewart received proof that his money was well spent in anger management. The once volatile driver won over fans by getting his sense of humor back and learning how to climb fences. His driving ability has never been questioned, but his ability to deal with the media and fans has been a sticking point for the two-time champion since he started in the Cup series.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. got a free ticket to next year’s banquet. This seemed the only way to get the fan’s “Most Popular Driver” to attend. His absence was a slap in the face to that highly coveted award and the fans that voted for him. Perhaps there was an explanation but it sure wasn’t as good as Gordon’s.
The fans received two things for the holidays. One was another year of an exciting ten races at the end of the season. The points system promises to stage another season in 2006 of great racing for the final ten. What it doesn’t promise is to put the driver you want in there, again. The other gift was one of the best rookie fields again. This year the field will be as good or better than two years ago, and after a year of only two rookies in the running, it will be fun. Lets hope that these rookies fare better than the ones of two years ago.
Kyle Busch received a present from Jack Roush when he ran Carl Edwards for too many races in 2004 and he couldn’t get rookie of the year in Cup, which by the way Edwards deserved.
By far the best gift of the season was for Kurt Busch. Kurt got a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Well maybe not free, but in the Phoenix area, the former champion was lucky he didn’t get slapped around a bit for that mouth, which I guess he’s lucky he wasn’t in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York. They would have just shot him and been done with it. What still amazes me about the whole situation is the hype the story created. There hasn’t been that much publicity since Coby Bryant and his problem in Colorado; of course Busch’s problem was only a traffic ticket, I hope the point was taken.
It is my hope that all have a safe and Happy 2006, it promises to be quite a show, that is if “Silly Season” ever ends.
Till next time, keep turning left.