The Herald Bulletin

December 25, 2013

Ken de la Bastide: Santa's gifts for the racing community

The Herald Bulletin

---- — To begin this Christmas Day, I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and hope you get to spend time with friends and family. Remember the true meaning of the season.

Since its Christmas morning, I have put together a list of gifts that those in the racing community might want to see under their Christmas tree from Santa Claus.

For Rick Dawson, owner of Anderson Speedway, another Pay Less Little 500 on Memorial Day weekend like the thrilling finish this past May between eventual winner Jacob Wilson and Shane Cottle.

That Tony Elliott finally scores that Little 500 victory. Elliott is considered the best driver to have competed in the annual event without a victory.

Another great three days of racing at Kokomo Speedway during the "Smackdown" for the USAC sprint car teams.

I’m hoping that Santa left under the tree for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway several gifts. A successful event on the road course for the IZOD Indy Car Series drivers on May 10 and a third consecutive exciting Indianapolis 500.

The second gift is that changes to the speedway’s four corners produce a better Brickyard 400 race so the national media will stop complaining.

I also have two gifts for Tony Stewart. First, and most importantly, is a complete recovery from the broken leg he suffered in a sprint car. Secondly, the ability to control his temper when dealing with the three prima donna drivers now on his team — Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick.

For Danica, the ability to at least be competitive during Sprint Cup races and the wisdom to listen to veteran Mark Martin when he offers some advice.

Several wins in the Sprint Cup series for Ryan Newman with his new ride with Richard Childress Racing.

For NASCAR, a first-time Sprint Cup champion in 2014, maybe Kyle Busch.

A ride for South Bend native David Stremme in either the Nationwide or Sprint Cup series for 2014. Stremme, who has a world of talent, just can’t seem to secure a ride with a well-financed operation.

Here’s wishing that New Castle-native Dakota Armstrong has a successful year in the Nationwide Series for Richard Petty, one that brings him a victory in 2014.

For Simona de Silverstro, a ride for the 2014 IZOD Indy Car series with a competitive team or a new contract with KV Racing.

Better television ratings for Indy Car during the year and a chance to compete at more oval tracks in the future, and that NASCAR will end its stranglehold on Michigan International Speedway.

A successful year for Charlie Shaw, owner of Winchester Speedway, including another awesome Winchester 400 for the CRA late models.

For the United States Speed Association, progress in keeping pavement non-wing sprint car racing in the Midwest a reality with help from the United Auto Workers Union.

For all the promoters in Indiana, clear skies, no precipitation and warm weather on race nights and a growing number of fans interested in preserving short track racing in the state.

Follow Ken de la Bastide @KendelaBastide on Twitter, or call 640-4863.