As we speak (or read or type, whatever, you get my drift) Santa Claus and his elite team of elf mechanics are in the engine shop, tuning the big man's 358 small block to do a lap of the world later this month.
So what will Mr. Kringle bring all the good little NASCAR fans this holiday season? And what should you last-minute shoppers be scrambling for to make the grease monkey closest to your heart dance a holiday jig around the tree?
Read on, my egg nog-fueled friends. Daytona will be here soon.
If you're on the prowl for Dale Earnhardt Jr. stuff, we have good news. Pretty much anything you could ever need, want, or simply hang your mouth open in disbelief at is available with Junebug's mug on it. There are Dale Jr. pool cues, Dale Jr. recliners, Dale Jr. camouflage and even a plush version of Killer, Dale's black boxer.
You know you're really famous when your dog is famous just because he's your dog.
But for our money, the best Little E merchandise is the DVD set of his ESPN television series "Shifting Gears," which followed his transition from DEI to Hendrick Motorsports from the moment he made the decision to leave his family's race team through his big points win at Michigan.
In a related note, I hear the script for the show was written by this stunningly handsome ESPN.com NASCAR writer.
The "Shifting Gears" DVD goes for $19.88 retail at www.jrmotorsports.com and is also available at Wal-Mart and other big-box stores.
Crystal Clear Gift Ideas
If you happened to be in New York on Dec. 4 and wondered why Macy's was packed with fans dressed in Dale Jr. gear, the answer is crystal clear.
Earnhardt was on hand to unveil a line of NASCAR-themed crystal, silver and gold collectibles. The collection, produced by Godinger, includes a silver drink dispenser shaped like a NASCAR gas pump, a silver and gold shot glass set and solid crystal versions of the top three Hendrick Motorsports cars.
Each item goes for $39.99 each, or you could opt for the cheaper shot glass checkers set at $19.99. Because there's nothing more fun than playing checkers while you're drunk. Or so I've heard.
Be A Hall of Famer
The NASCAR Hall of Fame won't open until the spring of 2010, but anyone who has driven through downtown Charlotte over the last few weeks knows that the massive 50,000-square foot museum is beginning to take shape. Now the HoF is offering the chance to add your name to its hallowed halls … or at least the Ceremonial Plaza surrounding it.
The Hall will be paving that plaza with commemorative bricks engraved with the names of race fans and can even include the logo of your favorite driver, team or racetrack. For prices ranging from $32.50 to $75 you get a brick in the plaza and a replica to display at home. Even better, whatever you spend is tax deductible.
"I've worked my whole life to get into the NASCAR Hall of Fame," Richard Petty told me. "Now you can get in just by spending a little money. Doesn't seem fair, does it?"
For info go to www.nascarhall.com.
Blow Christmas Up
Say you're tired of your neighbor's giant inflatable Elmo or Mickey Mouse yard decorations. Is your mother-in-law driving you nuts with the whirring of her massive inflatable lawn snow globe all night?
Blow them all away with an eight-foot inflatable of your own, Santa and his pit crew of elves (what, you thought we were joking at the top of this story?) and their No. 25 NASCAR stock car. And it can be yours for only $67 at www.standardconcessionsupply.com.
Note to Santa: You might want to think about picking another car number. That 25 car has been a sled since Ken Schrader took it over.
I Won The Daytona 500!
All the folks at That's Me Sports need from you is a name to put you behind the wheel of the Daytona 500-winning racecar. Seriously.
For $19.95 the company will create a custom 10-minute play-by-play CD of you (or whomever you choose) pulling a Cole Trickle and coming out of nowhere to win the Great American Race, complete with reports from your pits from your crew chief. Visit www.thatsmesports.com to get started, though you'll need to hurry. To have your CD done by Christmas it needs to be ordered by Dec. 19.
Perhaps someone should buy one of these for Rusty Wallace.
If the female NASCAR fan in your life won't stop talking about how she wishes she was one of those ladies who chases Kasey Kahne around in his Allstate ads, then why not give her the chance to go to bed with Kasey every night?
NASCAR's online superstore offers a full line of driver-themed sleepwear for women, including the two-piece boxer and sleep shirt set that reads in gigantic neon letters "IT'S ALL ABOUT KASEY." The pajamas go for $24.97 at NASCAR.com's online store.
If you like your NASCAR PJ's to be a little, ahem, racier, then simply go to your favorite internet search engine and look for "NASCAR lingerie." You'll be stunned at the amount of racing-themed lace and lycra. No, none of it is officially licensed by the league, but if that's what you're concerned about then I think you're missing the big picture here.
NASCAR Read-Along Program
If wearing her Kasey Kahne nighty doesn't put her in the mood for holiday cheer, then perhaps a NASCAR-themed romance novel would do the trick. Harlequin Books offers no less than 39 titles to get you revved up, including "Tailspin," "Extreme Caution" and "Slingshot Moves." There are even two Christmas titles, "A NASCAR Holiday" volumes 1 and 2.
If that still doesn't work, then give up and curl up with a book of your own, a brilliant read titled "ESPN Ultimate NASCAR: The 100 Defining Moments in Stock Car Racing History", a book packed with great photos and pretty prose. Plus, the author is a handsome devil who needs the money so he can go buy all of his friends solid gold drink dispensers and shot glass checkers sets.
Ho, ho, ho.
Ryan McGee, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, is the author of "ESPN Ultimate NASCAR: 100 Defining Moments in Stock Car Racing History." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.