So Long And Hello

If you couldn't wait to put 2009 in your rear view mirror you're not alone.

I heard from many fans, friends and family members the past few days who were absolutely thrilled to see the last year of the decade finally leave the building.

It was a very rough year on many fronts with the economy and the unprecedented financial crisis making an impact on pretty much every aspect of life.

The racing world certainly didn't get by unscathed, but the good news is that it sure could have been a lot worse. In fact many, myself included, predicted 2009 would turn out to be even more dire than it thankfully turned out to be.

Those predictions about short fields and a ghost town garage area a lot of people made at this time a year ago never came to fruition. NASCAR attendance did decline but with millions of fans scrambling just to make ends meet maybe we should have expected that to happen.

Personally 2009 was a year filled with the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.

The year started with the passing of my father Sam to cancer, a fight that he ultimately lost in the cold and bitter chill of January. It was a devastating loss that we are all still dealing with and will most certainly continue to fight in the many days to come.

My dad's death unfortunately seemed to set the tone for a year that saw others lose the gift of life.

One of those was David Poole, the esteemed NASCAR writer for The Charlotte Observer, who also co-hosted The Morning Drive on Sirius NASCAR Radio.

When David passed in April from a heart attack, I remember feeling the same kind of ripple through the sport as when Dale Earnhardt died at Daytona in 2001. The NASCAR world reeled in the aftermath in both men's deaths as each touched the sport in a way that may never be replaced.

David's death then reached out to touch me on a different level. After serving as a weekend and fill-in host on Sirius NASCAR Radio for a couple of years, the channel's management offered me the chance to step into The Morning Drive as Mike Bagley's co-host in mid-summer.

It has been an absolute thrill to add that role to my plate of racing work but I would be less than truthful if I didn't say it was and still is a daunting task.

Stepping into the shoes of a larger than life figure like Poole hasn't been easy. I could never replace him, try to be like him or offer anything close to David's unique take on NASCAR. All I could do was be myself and have approached the challenge exactly that way from day one.

Luckily I have a partner in The Bagman that has made this assignment an absolute joy. And the behind the scenes support from Tyler Miller, Pete Koury, Daniel Norwood and all the Sirius NASCAR Radio management has made this a dream come true, albeit in the wake of a tragic situation.

So as we race into 2010 we do so with unbridled optimism for a better year on the track and off. We'll be here at RacingOne again - but with an exciting new twist that we can't wait to roll out in the coming weeks (stay tuned!) - as well as in your radio speakers every morning from 7-11 a.m. ET on TMD.

It is my sincere hope that this coming year will be one of health, happiness and success to you all.

Thanks for all of your support.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2010

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