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The Daly Planet

Various Other Articles

A NASCAR Family Christmas
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By Carol Einarsson | 12/21/2010
Category: Various Other Articles

Fast cars, wild finishes, and oft-heated tempers are all part of NASCAR. But unlike any other professional sport, when you ask fans what they like about the sport, aside from a love of racing, you'll also hear about the sense of "family" that exists in auto racing. That family extends beyond drivers to all that are involved in the sport, all the way to race fans. And what better time than Christmas to celebrate family?

Thanks to so many in the racing community that shared with us their best Christmas memories, and what Christmas means to them, we hope you'll enjoy the read and post your favorite Christmas sentiments, too.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

Christmas to me is about family. I'm very fortunate that my mom and dad live very close to us, as well as my brother and his three children. My sister is also close by. I actually don't care much about getting presents, but I love having a house full of people on Christmas day.

My favorite Christmas was 1989. At the time, my parents lived in Jacksonville, FL. I was going to propose to my wife Karen . She was flying into Jacksonville on Christmas Day after visiting her family in Nashville. I was driving down to Jax from Charlotte. After about 90 miles I started hitting heavy snow. Finally, with cars sliding off of I-95, I pulled off the road and got a motel room. It actually snowed in Jacksonville for the first time in 100 years!

I got up early the next morning, and made the trek down 95 which was down to one lane. A trip that normally takes six hours wound up taking 30 hours. I was worried that Karen's flight would be cancelled on Christmas day, but she made it in, and I proposed...and she said yes! Christmas magic!
-Steve Byrnes

Well for me Christmas means getting to spend some time at home and just relax and hang out with my family. You know during the racing season you’re always traveling and you don’t get to spend a whole lot of time at home or see your family as much as you’d like to, so I always really enjoy being able to do that at Christmas time.

My best Christmas ever definitely has to be the one coming up. Christy and I have just been so blessed this year, with winning those big races and then finishing off a great season with the birth of our son on Thanksgiving. It’s just the culmination of a great year for me and my family. We certainly have a lot to celebrate this year and I’m not really sure if Christmas could get any better than this.
-Jamie McMurray

To me Christmas is all about family. I moved south to be in NASCAR, but I still love going back to. snowy Ohio! It is always nice to enjoy  great food and drinks and to reflect on the year gone by.

When I was 7, I got a guitar. I was Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix every night. I thought that was the best gift ever, especially because my birthday is December 23rd, and I always got gypped.
-Ray Dunlap

Christmas is very important to me because I get to spend it with my family. I think this Christmas will be the best ever because all of my family will be here to spend it at our house in North Carolina.
-Greg Biffle

Christmas really gives me an opportunity to come together with family and friends to truly appreciate what the spirit of Christmas is about, the birthday of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the opportunity to really have a better life because of the sacrifices he made for me and my sins. At the same time we’re able to get together and understand what Christmas is all about, and that’s giving. It’s not about receiving but giving.

The older I get, the time goes by faster and the memories just pile up. Growing up as a kid, looking at my pictures and then looking at my kids pictures, it puts things in perspective. The years are separated but the idea of how excited kids are, and how we were as kids… it’s all the same.

My kids are relatively close together, 16 months apart, and probably the best Christmas happened when my son was six and my daughter was five. That’s when it really hit me and jogged memories in me. That year they were old enough that we weren’t waking them up, they were waking ME up. We’d only just finished putting things together a couple of hours earlier, and the way our house was set up, you could get to our bedroom through the study, without going into where the Christmas tree was. They came through the study into our bedroom, never seeing the Christmas tree and all the presents, and excitedly said, “Mom… Dad… I think Santa’s come! Can we get up?”

The excitement… they really knew what was going on. And seeing that excitement on their faces reminded me of my brother and me, we’re only three years apart in age, doing the same thing. It really made that a very special year. This is really what makes being a parent special, is seeing the excitement and sharing it with them. It made that particular Christmas very, very special.

As a kid you were excited, but as a parent, you’re blessed with that excitement to relive it through the excitement in them. The older we get, it’s the simple things like watching Bing Crosby in White Christmas, or watching Miracle on 34th Street. There are so many great ones that tell the same story, and it all goes back to the blessing of giving.
-Jeff Hammond

Christmas is very important to me because it means that the whole family comes together in one place to enjoy each other’s company and relax. Due the strenuous travel schedule associated with this great sport, any chance I get with my entire family is my main priority.

I don’t have a Christmas that I consider my “best ever”, but as I get older, I enjoy each year more because I really start to appreciate the sacrifices my family made me for me over the years to put me in the position I am in today. I feel very blessed and lucky.
-Clint Bowyer

Christmas means family, and time with family. For the many years I spent living far from my family, the holidays were one of the few times a year we were all together, and we always have a good time when we're together. This year will be a little different for us, the first Christmas after my Mom passed away, and I'm sure it won't be quite the same. By the way, I'm not a fan in any way of the "commercial" side of Christmas, at all.

The "best" Christmas – hard to pick out one.  The most "unique" Christmas was the year we spent the holidays in Australia.  I was assigned by NBC to the broadcast of an American Lemans Series race from Adelaide, Australia on New Year's Eve.  Taking advantage of the rare chance to visit the other side of the world, I took my sons and then-wife with me.  We spent two and-a-half weeks there, and had a blast.  Our Christmas tree was a six foot tall inflatable we brought with us that I inflated and put in the hotel room.  Quite the unique time.
-Allen Bestwick

My favorite part of Christmas is being with family and friends and giving thanks for everything I am so fortunate to have. My favorite Christmas was in 1995 which was the first with both my son, Robert, and my daughter, Meredith.
-Junior Johnson

On a personal side, especially when you look at the profession I’m in, we run like wild animals from early January until mid-December. There’s only a small window we call our own, and that time – Christmastime – it’s about family and friends. Throughout the rest of the year, it’s not unusual to have our only time together in a motorcoach, but Christmas is true family time. Knowing that it’s the birthday of Jesus Christ and being with family is what makes it special.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had a bad Christmas, but I’d have to say somewhere around the Christmas of ’92 or ’93 was my best Christmas. My first Christmas as an actual dad would have been ’89, but my daughter was only eight months old, so by the time she was three or four, once she got to knowing what was going on, and seeing her come down and find the gifts under the tree… and Brandon, two years younger… it made me truly understand and appreciate what my mom and dad went through to help me believe in Santa Claus. Seeing my kids enjoy Christmas morning has always been the best.
-Larry McReynolds

Christmas means family, food, and love. It’s the one time of year where all my relatives find time to be together, share stories and gifts. And as Italians, we're always bonded by a big feast. The best Christmas I ever had will be the next one. They always get better!
-Mike Massaro

Christmas...what does it mean to me? Family, spending time with loved ones, remembering the ones before you, sitting by the fire with a beautiful lit up tree, the smell of cinnamon and pine, music, prayer, home cooked meals, sweets, presents, a time for reflection, movies, hugs, kisses and lastly the main meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a time to show him our love and thanks on HIS special day!

I had an amazing Christmas a few years ago when I lived out West in CA and I wanted more than anything to get home for the Holidays. I was working at a restaurant and of course it was the busiest time of year. So I thought there was no way I was getting home. I couldn't imagine spending Christmas alone all the way on the west coast (where I was still wearing flip-flops) with my family all snuggled up by the fire celebrating this wonderful Holiday (on the East coast, in NC). Plus it is MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY! So my mom, being the sweetest thing ever, bought me a flight and I got to come home for a few days! It's that feeling when you walk in the door and can feel the love and warmth in the air. That was my best Christmas. It wasn't about the presents, it was about being home and surrounded by the people that I love and that love me. Merry Christmas to you all!! Remember the reason for the season...it isn't about getting tons of gifts, it is about making Grandma's special dish, spending time with your family and praising the Man up above.
-Monica Palumbo

Christmas to me means time with family and friends. I don’t know that I can pinpoint one best Christmas ever; they are all special in their own way.  Each year that we get to spend with our grandkids and our family is special.  Christmas is a wonderful time of year and I just enjoy spending it with family and friends.
-Ron Hornaday

I don't like the commercialism of Christmas. It's about family, faith, and children. My best Christmas ever was in the early nineties. A couple days before Christmas, my Dad thought he had a kidney stone, and they told me my dog had a tumor in his eye. On Christmas Eve, we found out both reports were negative, and we had a great Christmas!
-John Roberts

My most memorable Christmas occurred when I was13. I got a 70cc Honda motorcycle that year, something I worked hard for all year long. I told my parents I would save up money cutting grass in our neighborhood all summer long and would pay for half of the $400 motorcycle if they would pay for the rest. Coming up with $200 was tough when you got paid $2 per yard. The greatest Christmas gift ever!

To me, Christmas means the birth of Jesus Christ, just as it is described in the New Testament of the Bible. God's own son was born of a virgin and laid in a manger. Three wise men came to worship Him while his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, looked on. We go to church every Christmas Eve candlelight service to celebrate, commemorate and worship the true meaning of Christmas.
-Eddie Gossage



12/20/2010 12:21 pm (1)
Great article, and summed up in the best way possible by Eddie Gossage.

Mike Irwin
12/20/2010 7:15 pm (2)
This is excellent and thanks for answering my question on twitter
12/20/2010 10:51 pm (3)
That's why I saved his for last. :-)

Sorry it took me two days to see your tweet.

12/20/2010 11:29 pm (4)
as one who shares the December 23 birthday, I understand Ray's gyppediness, lol.

I love this Carol!!!
12/21/2010 7:53 am (5)
I would like to wish a MERRY CHRISTMAS to all...............
12/21/2010 10:14 am (6)
Very nice... I always enjoy reading or listening to others memories of Christmas.

Merry Christmas to everyone here at RJO, and Happy Birthday Jesus... whom is the reason for the season.
12/24/2010 9:21 am (7)
I realize I've been away for a while, mostly due to Mrs. Luvracing's surgery/recovery, but this is a really great group on here, and I would be remiss if I didn't wish one and all a happy hol--

Y'know, I'm 57 dang years old, and not once in my whole entire life have I ever offended anyone by saying this:

Merry Christmas!!

Whatever you call it, whatever you do this time of year, please be safe, and be happy.

Thank you all for being so fun to hang with and talk racing (among other things).

Carol, you have no idea what a rare, precious, and beautiful thing you've built here. I can't thank you enough for that.

See you on the other side.

12/25/2010 1:24 am (8)
Merry Christmas to all of RJO!!!


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