Holiday Plans in High Gear

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"When I was four, dad got me a dirt bike. That was probably the biggest thing, biggest step up you know getting on things with wheels and a real engine." (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

Drivers and crew chiefs are enjoying the holiday season by taking a few days off away from the hustle and bustle of the NASCAR world.

Make no mistake, even though there will be some much-needed down time for those who work inside the busy industry, the sport will most likely still be on the minds of most. After all Preseason Thunder Testing at Daytona International Speedway is on the schedule the week after the calendar changes to 2014.

But at least some will be able to take advantage of time with family and friends through Christmas and New Year’s. 

“My daughter’s gonna be two-and-a-half and really kind of gets it now," Greg Biffle said about spending Christmas with his family. "That’s the most fun for me, to get to see the new things she says…you never know what’s coming and it’s a lot fun.

Following his Christmas celebration, Biffle plans to watch some of the Bowl games on New Year's Day. 

“I’m also gonna wind down and watch a little football," Biffle said. "You know I don’t watch a lot of football but when it’s cold outside it’s nice and I just enjoy watching games.”

Biffle’s Ford Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards always enjoys the season of goodwill to give thanks.

“One of the neatest things about Christmas for me is just to be able to tell people with a card or a phone call how much they mean to you,” said Edwards. “You know it’s neat to, a lot of time I’ll write all day letters that say ‘Hey I really appreciate what you did’ and people say they really appreciate what you did and that it meant a lot to them. I think it’s important to let people know how much they mean to you.”

It’s not just drivers who are enjoying the holidays and a little break from the hectic norm of the season. Crew chiefs also are having some fun away from work.

“We’re gonna take the family up to a cabin in the mountains for the Christmas break,” said Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for Marcos Ambrose. “It’ll be nice to just get away from a lot of a while and spend time with the family, who make so many sacrifices during the year for those of us that travel and work as part of the NASCAR world.”

As for New Year's Eve, Joey Logano doesn't have any big plans set.

"I usually go to bed before the ball drops," Logano said. "I'm like an old man I'm telling you. I don't do anything. I enjoy my sleep, but I'll probably stay up and do something."

Favorite memories are always part of the Christmas conversation and it’s no surprise many drivers have warm feelings about gifts they received built to race.

“I got a go kart one year,” Logano said. “I go out to the garage and it’s sitting there with a bow on it. That’s all I did and apparently ever since that’s all I do is drive . So that’s my favorite Christmas gift I ever had.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has some similar childhood memories.

“Man I was fortunate growing up, dad always got me the coolest gifts,” said the 2013 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year. “When I was four, dad got me a dirt bike. That was probably the biggest thing, biggest step up you know getting on things with wheels and a real engine. Then when I was five he got me my first dirt go kart and I got to race so those were two Christmases that got me started off back to back and that was pretty cool.”

The rest as they say is history.

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