It’s Thanksgiving on this Thursday in November-or turkey day-as I like to call it. It’s a day when family and friends gather ‘round to eat tons of food, watch the Detroit Lions get beat up by the Tennessee Titans and express what they are most thankful for.
Which means that it’s time to stick a fork in another season of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, it has been roasted and is glazed. Fans are thankful that this boring year as many saw it, is over and have already begun the countdown to the 2009 Daytona 500.
We fans know what we are thankful for, what are the drivers most thankful for on this festive day?
12) Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt Jr. will be most thankful that his first season with Hendrick Motorsports has concluded and he can use the chemistry from this year and focus on trying to win a championship next year.
He must also be thankful that he once again made the Chase and snapped his two year winless streak so that media can now focus on something else and stop asking him when he was ever going to win again.
Of course he is probably most thankful to just be competitive again, with a shot to win every week where as last year he was just waiting for an engine to explode.
11) Matt Kenseth
Kenseth is thankful that this season is over.
After failing to win a race for the first time since 2001, Kenseth will most likely be going to teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle’s house and asking their secrets to success this year.
But he should also be thankful that he works for Roush Fenway Racing, they will certainly figure out what the problem is and fix it. Kenseth has a very strong team and a consistent team but they just could not find the key to victory lane.
10) Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch is thankful that there is a next year.
This time a year ago, Busch was thankful that he had a job when Joe Gibbs Racing decided to hire him. He went out and declared himself an early championship favorite before things went downhill.
So when next season begins Busch will be thankful that he has such a great team at JGR and has the powerful support of Toyota.
Plus it doesn’t hurt to be thankful that he has been blessed with crazy and sometimes questionable driving ability.
9) Tony Stewart
As Tony Stewart sits down at his table to enjoy his turkey, yams, potatoes and pies he will be most thankful that he no longer has anyone to answer to.
Beginning in 2009 Stewart will be the boss and when things go wrong and he voices his opinions he won’t have to apologize to the officials at JGR. Just to the people that he offended when NASCAR demands that he do so.
Stewart will also be thankful that Talladega has a yellow line. When Regan Smith passed him on the last lap, NASCAR declared the pass illegal and awarded the win to Stewart. It was his only win of the year.
8) Denny Hamlin
When Hamlin reflects on 2008 he will be most thankful that the Martinsville race in March ended when it did. Jeff Gordon was closing fast on Hamlin in the last few laps of the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 when he ran out of laps.
Then things started to go south and Hamlin was in danger of not making the Chase, but he did and should be thankful that he has the equipment from JGR to get it done.
And lastly he will be thankful that Tony Stewart is leaving since this will make him the senior driver at Gibbs Racing and will not have to deal with the shadow of Stewart’s two championships.
7) Jeff Gordon
Today Jeff Gordon will be thankful that he has four championships, 81 wins made the Chase this year and has an amazing family.
Oh, and that he works for Hendrick Motorsports.
Other than that he won’t be thankful for the dismal season that he had this year. He was winless and sometimes just plain bad during certain races and certain parts of the year.
Gordon needs to have Thanksgiving with teammate and employee Jimmie Johnson and tell him to spread the love.
6) Jeff Burton
Burton is probably most thankful that Richard Childress is giving him good equipment and that he still has the fire to win.
Burton won at Bristol in March and during the Chase at Lowe’s and silently said that age doesn’t matter and he still has what it takes to be a championship contender.
5) Clint Bowyer
Bowyer is thankful that Denny Hamlin intentionally brought out the caution, Dale Jr. and Kyle Busch battled for the lead and then Busch put Earnhardt Jr. in the wall. All of this allowed Bowyer to skate on by to win his first and only race of the year.
Bowyer will also be thankful that David Ragan didn’t find enough consistency until late in the year when it was too late for Ragan to knock Bowyer out of the Chase.
And lastly he’ll be thankful that in the Nationwide Series Kyle Busch wasn’t running full time and that Jack Roush didn’t switch Carl Edwards’ crew chief till late in the year when Bowyer already had an insurmountable point lead.
4) Kevin Harvick
Freedom of Speech will be what Kevin Harvick is most thankful for this year.
Harvick insulted Carl Edwards after their accident at Talladega and then the two came to blows at Lowe’s. So Harvick is also thankful that he’s been in confrontations before because he knew exactly how to handle Edwards who ended up on the hood of his car.
3) Greg Biffle
Biffle will be most thankful that his team peaked at the right time, when the Chase began. He won the first two Chase races and quickly went from under the radar and dark horse to a serious championship contender.
Biffle and teammate Carl Edwards were the two who gave Roush Fenway their wins this season and hopes for a championship.
2) Carl Edwards
Edwards just like Kyle Busch, will be most thankful that there will be a next season. Unless the economy gets so bad and everyone in NASCAR decides that they no longer want to race anymore.
Edwards will also be thankful that he had the best year of his career, winning nine races and contending for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series championships all the way down to Homestead.
Edwards also gets the award for the best quote of the year, “I wish Daytona was in twenty minutes.”
Amen to that brother.
1) Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson has a lot to be thankful for on the day. You could probably say that he has 48 things to be thankful for.
First, that he works at Hendrick Motorsports. Second, he has crew chief Chad Knaus and he’ll never work with anyone else. He should also be thankful that there’s a Chase, because without it he would only have one championship.
This means he will also be thankful that the 10 races that compose the Chase are at tracks that he is statistically better at then everyone else.
He’ll also be thankful that Kyle Busch had a Chase meltdown; Carl Edwards made a mental mistake at Talladega and that someone forgot how to set up his car at Lowe’s.
Yes, Jimmie Johnson has a lot to be thankful for.
As do we fans and Americans. Such as being able to sit around and eat good food and not have to worry about anything. We can watch our favorite TV shows and sports and then express our love and opinions on what we just saw.
So no matter how bad we think things are and no matter how mad we get at the things that happen on the track or mad at whose winning and whose not, just be thankful that we can be mad.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a Gobble Gobble!