As we count down the hours until Santa’s arrival, short track racers throughout the country are putting the final touches on their Christmas wish lists. From items like helmets and tools to races they would like to win in 2020, Santa has plenty of options to pull out of his bag for those on his nice list.
Fresh off his big Snowball Derby victory during the first weekend in December, Travis Braden hopes to find a NASCAR Truck Series opportunity in his stocking on Christmas morning.
“My Christmas list is pretty simple this year: a bunch more wins with Team Platinum and a Truck Series start in 2020,” Braden said. “It would mean a lot, coming fresh off of the Snowball Derby win, especially if I got the chance with a powerhouse group of guys. I feel like the Truck Series is the next logical step in my career.”
While Braden doesn’t need to wish for a Tom Dawson Trophy under the tree this year, one local racer from the state of Florida has a Snowball Derby victory on her wish list. Brooke Storer would like to have an opportunity to compete and win the prestigious Super Late Model race. Additionally, she would also like to see her home track of Desoto Speedway reopen this season after sitting dormant this past season.
Sticking with the Snowball Derby theme, a multi-time Super Late Model champion from Turner, Maine is also hoping for a Christmas gift that will get him back to Five Flags Speedway in 2020.
“I want to get back to the Snowball Derby with another chance to redeem ourselves & make the race,” said five-time PASS National champion Ben Rowe.
In the Modified world, the Christmas wish list for the always-entertaining Andy Jankowiak includes a shot on Modified racing’s biggest stage. The driver known best as “Andy J” would like to find a NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour ride under his tree, stating that it’s “pretty self-explanatory” as to why he wants that particular item.
Mike Leaty, a regular competitor against Jankowiak on the RoC Asphalt Modified Series, has items on his wish list that every racer in the country would be happy with.
“This year I have asked for a bunch of new hand tools to help fill up my new tool box that I put in my kid’s Microd trailer,” Leaty said. “I would also like some New York asphalt race track owners.”
Tommy Catalano, another Modified racer who competes on both the RoC and NWMT circuits, also went practical with his Christmas wish list. As he builds a new car to compete with in 2020, the 2018 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Rookie of the Year would like a new MPI steering wheel and a truckload of tires to use next season.
Sticking with the practical approach, 2019 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner Craig Lutz hopes to find a new pair of racing gloves in his stocking on Christmas morning.
Rounding out the full list of driver apparel, Super Late Model and ARCA driver Giovanni Bromante asked for his new Stilo helmet to be painted for the 2020 ARCA Menards Series season.
“I like my helmet to look great and match the car all season,” Bromante stated.
In addition to the practical items, a few short track racers hope to find their ticket to big race victories under the tree on Christmas.
Outlaw Super Late Model star Tyler Roahrig is hoping for a few big victories outside of the realm that he normally dominates in. “The Rocket” is hoping to add a Little 500 victory to his resume, as well as a Rumble in Fort Wayne win “since it’s that time of the year.”
Two-time JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour champion Jack Dossey III also has a big win at Anderson Speedway (IN) on his Christmas wish list.
“All I could ask for I’ve already got, a family and friends to spend the holidays with, the best job I could ask for and a garage full of race cars to go with it. But, I wouldn’t mind if Santa came a little bit late this time to give me that Redbud 400 trophy in 2020,” Dossey said. “It’s a track I’ve won a lot of Saturday night features at, and it’s what I consider my home town track. It’s their biggest late model race, and if I were to win it would be in front of a lot of family friends and great fans!”
RoC Super Stock racer Joe Mancuso has a few items on his Christmas wish list, including some that may be more realistic than others.
“I’d like tracks to all have a trophy girl, because I think we’re gonna have a great year in 2020 and I’m single,” Mancuso joked. “Also, I’d like Chuck Hossfeld to change his mind about retirement, at least for Speedweeks so we can defend our title.
“In all seriousness, though, what I want for Christmas is health and happiness for my friends and family and a renewed hopefulness, appreciation and positivity for fans and racers towards our local short tracks.”
To round out the 2020 Christmas wish list for short track racers, we reached out to a veteran of the sport from the state of Minnesota.
As far as gifts, I don't want anything,” said two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion Dan Fredrickson. “What I really want is to have such a fun time with the kids that when they are my age they look back and think, ‘Oh boy, those were the glory days.’”
Regardless of what’s on your Christmas wish list this year, our staff at Speed51 wishes the entire short track racing community a very Merry Christmas.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51