While I can’t believe 2010 has already come and gone, we’re not going to use this forum to reflect on the year that was. Instead we’re going to use this time to look forward. You know, the clichéd New Year’s resolutions thing that millions of Americans make at this time every year – and usually forget about come March. And I promise you unlike the vast majority of resolutions that are being made today, the following list of NASCAR resolutions won’t be filed with things like quitting smoking or spending more time with the family.
No, these involve lame jokes, sarcastic comments and the occasional cheap shot that’s somewhat undeserved. So here are my thoughts on what some NASCAR personalities can do to better themselves in the coming year.
I Brian France resolve to pay attention to what an increasingly disgruntled fanbase is saying. That doesn’t mean enacting every change they’re clamoring for, because as any great leader knows, the general populist isn’t always correct. But what that does entail is taking the time to listen to their complaints, concerns, and not acting completely clueless. As such, for the New Year I resolve to do this very thing.
I Jimmie Johnson resolve that I will learn to share in the coming year. I understand that me winning all the time probably isn’t the best thing for the sport and that nobody ever likes the kid in the sandbox who has all the toys.
I Tony Stewart resolve that I will spend some time in a gym. I understand that just because Burger King happens to be one of my sponsors, it doesn’t mean that I have to give the appearance that I eat there three times a day. Therefore, you will see a slimmer, more focused Tony Stewart in 2011.
I Darrell Waltrip resolve not to turn every story about someone else into an antidote about my career. I also resolve not to constantly remind everyone how great I was/am every time the opportunity presents itself.
I Dale Earnhardt Jr. resolve to do to everything possible to live up to my vast potential. I know I will never meet the enormous expectations that Junior Nation has placed on me, but that won’t prevent me from doing whatever it takes to return to victory lane on a semi-regular basis. If that means putting down the video games and testing four times a week, so be it.
I Kevin Harvick resolve to stop the frequent bitching and moaning every time a crew member of mine drops a lug nut or is a little slow putting on a tire. It’s time for me to realize that unloading a verbal tirade on my crew that would make Bobby Knight blush is not good for anyone involved, and is a quick way to demoralize a team that has lofty expectations in 2011.
I Mark Martin resolve that I will actually retire at the end of the year. (No, really, I’m serious this time.) I don’t want to be like Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte and take rides with lesser teams just because the paycheck is too good to pass up. There’s something to be said about riding off into the sunset with your head held high.
I Jack Roush resolve to get some flying lessons, because it’s obvious that when you’ve crashed two planes in nine years that I might need a refresher course or two. Or at the very least, some seat time in a flight simulator.
I Denny Hamlin resolve to put last season behind me and return in 2011 with the same fire and determination I had throughout 2010.
I Carl Edwards resolve that I won’t intentionally wreck Brad Keselowski no matter what he may do to provoke me. Entering the New Year, I understand that what I did last year at Atlanta and Gateway was uncalled for and that I’m incredibly lucky that no one got hurt.
I Kyle Busch resolve to grow up and stop acting like a petchulant child whose toys just got taken away when things aren’t going my way on the track.
I Matt Kenseth, after cycling through five crew chiefs in four years, resolve to keep the same guy atop my pit box for more than 18 months. I know this is going to be difficult, but no one ever said New Year’s resolutions were supposed to be easy.
I Mike Ford resolve that I will keep my mouth shut the next time I feel inclined to say something that might provoke the competition. Especially if said comments are directed towards the team that has won the last five championships. My philosophy in 2011 is to not poke the sleeping lion.
I NASCAR, the sanctioning body of the most popular form of motorsports in North America, resolve to finally commence a massive overhaul to a schedule that is in desperate need of a makeover. This means taking away a second date at tracks that don’t deserve them, as well as shortening every race outside of the four majors (Daytona 500, Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600 and the Brickyard 400.)
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