TAMMY: It's that time of year again, so Santa Simon and Elf Tammy are here to help you find the coolest gifts for your favorite race fans.
1. I've mentioned the racetrack coasters I got for my birthday this year, which I still enjoy the heck out of. Even better, you can test the race fan's dedication by seeing if they know all the tracks.
2. To go a step further on the track map idea, Griot's Garage will sell you wall hangings of track maps, so you can show your love in wood, on the wall.
Glass Hammer Racing, at the URL www.beatbyagirl.org (which is awesome). Glass Hammer exists to "encourage the interest and participation of young women in motorsports," and they do so by sponsoring, coaching, and providing scholarships for established or aspiring drivers (photo here from one such event, courtesy of Jessica Bean's Facebook page). Once-and-future (we hope) IndyCar racer Pippa Mann (second from left in the photo) works with young women through Glass Hammer, and I see the organization out there at a lot of races rallying around women in the industry.
4. Support a young racer. For example, Jessica Bean (who also works with GHR, in full black firesuit in photo), is trying to raise funds to get herself back in a midget racecar in 2013. You can donate through gofundme.com's page for Jessica. I donated last week, and I'll be looking for news on her season next year.
5. The experience of driving or riding-along in a stock car. At tracks across the country, you can strap into passenger or driver's seat of a real NASCAR stock car and take a few laps. (Simon, I think we need to arrange this the next time you're down in Los Angeles.)
Of course, it goes without saying that mysteries set in the racing world make the #1 gift, right?! Simon, what can you add to the list of good gift ideas?
SIMON: Ah, Christmas laps but once a year, so what to get that race fan in your life. Here's my thoughts.
1. Buy tickets for a race in 2013. Whether you're into NASCAR, IndyCar, sports cars, go see a race in the flesh. Dollar for dollar, motorsport is pretty good value for money compared to other sporting events or live entertainment in general.
2. Pre-order Tammy's next book, Braking Point (a title which she stole from me). Also check out our good pal, Steve Ulfelder's Conway Sax books. Good people writing good books.
3. Tammy mentioned driving a stock car, but you could go a little smaller and affordable and buy that someone special a gft certificate to an indoor go-kart track. They're all over the country, so you can't miss.
4. Steve Matchett has an interesting memoir called, The Mechanic's Tale. It's an older book but still available. Warning: this book could leave oilstains. :-)
I think that's all from me for this Xmas season, but if there's something you're hoping to find in your Christmas stocking, then call it out.