What Jimmie Johnson & Co. should say
Rascal Flatts singing some tunes, Frank Caliendo cracking up the crowd and Martina McBride belting out what's bound to be a moving rendition of "America the Beautiful."
What a show for everyone dressed in their best duds tonight at the Wynn Las Vegas. Well, until the drivers start talking.
Have another glass of Cabernet, or two. You'll need it. The vino will help relieve the boredom as drivers read off a long list of sponsors to thank when they reach the podium.
A couple of guys might break up the monotony. Tony Stewart is good for a zinger or two. But overall, the drivers' portion of the annual Sprint Cup awards ceremony is about as exciting as a Prussian history lecture from Ben Stein.
What if we could remove the filter? Allow the 10 honorees to say whatever they want, however they want? Throw political correctness to the wind?
Hey, it's Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?
Not really. Not when you're talking on national TV, so we'll have to come up with our own speeches here for these guys -- the things that would make headlines if they let it rip.
Throw in a little Muhammad Ali braggadocio poem from the 1960s or a Joe Namath Super Bowl victory guarantee or some trash-talking worthy of Terrell Owens dissin' his quarterback.
After all, this is the "have at it, boys'' season. Don't let us down now.
Assuming they do let us down, here's my take on what we would love to hear each guy say when he takes the stage. As a disclaimer, none of them actually would say any of this, but it would be fun:
• No. 10 Clint Bowyer -- "Yeah, thanks a lot for my 10th-place money. Somebody in NASCAR owes me some cash. In case you idiots can't add and subtract, I really finished fifth.
"But some dillweed nerd with a laser-beam measurement said my car was illegal by the thickness of a quarter. Hey, guess what you can do with that quarter? And give me my 150 points back."
• No. 9 Jeff Gordon -- "So, the guy I recommended to Rick Hendrick now is the greatest driver of all time. Just call me Wally Pipp. Jimmie comes in, and I get to clean his firesuit.
"Well, those days are over. See ya, 48 shop. I'm out. Me and Alan Gustafson plan to kick a little JJ and Chad bootie in 2011. Oh, and to my buddy Steve Letarte, good luck with that Dale Jr. thing. You'll need it, brother."
• No. 8 Kyle Busch -- "For the record, I won more races this year than any of these so-called Cup stars. And stop calling me the 'Master of the Minors.' I have a hand gesture for ya right here on live TV.
"One other thing: Hey, Dave Reutimann, I hope you make the Chase next year. Take a wild guess what will happen if you do."
• No. 7 Tony Stewart -- "Rick, how about giving me the good engines next year? You know the ones I mean. The ones you give Jimmie that have a little extra horsepower on the dyno. I think I've earned it. Hell, I pay for them.
"Do you mouth-breathers know that I'm the only successful owner/driver in Cup? Do you know I'm the only guy who has won an IndyCar title and Cup title in the old points system and the Chase?
"Anybody else here ever gonna do that? Not a chance.
"And who forgot to bring me some donuts up here on the podium?"
• No. 6 Greg Biffle -- "Let's face it, Roush Fenway Racing wasn't exactly on top of its game this year. Yeah, we figured out that new engine in the end, about 30 races too late. Give me Jimmie's car, and I will kick this whole bunch from here back to Charlotte."
"Three in one year; crew chiefs, I mean, not Hornish quarter panels. I can't count that high.
"But I still finished fifth. What does that tell you? Considering all the changes and the inferior equipment I had this year, it tells you I could drive an oxcart blindfolded and still beat most of these guys.
"And Jack, I'm begging you. Please give me Robbie back on the pit box. I promise to fly with you to races if you just let me have Reiser back."
• No. 4 Carl Edwards -- "Hear those fans screaming back there, the few serfs we let have a ticket to this thing? They love me. All the fans love me. I do flips for them. I run in the stands and touch them. That's what hand sanitizer is for.
"They don't care if I get mad and wreck Brad K. He had it comin'. By the way, me and Brad are tight now as long as he stays out of my way.
"And Jimmie, check the results of the last two races. That's right. I'm back and you're going down, even if I had to punt that 48 car into the catch-fence to do it. Trust me, my wife's a doctor. "
• No. 3 Kevin Harvick -- "Richard Childress better be glad he turned this ship around this year. Otherwise, I was outta here faster than a start-and-parker collecting his check.
"Let me point out something to you morons: I had the most top-10s this season. I scored the most points in a landslide over 'Five-Time' and would be the last guy talking tonight if we didn't have this Chase bull.
"And next year I'm going to give Budweiser a championship -- something it never had with Prince Junior or that Kahne kid who looks too young to drink beer. So this Bud's for you, boys. Suck on it."
• No. 2 Denny Hamlin -- "I have a message for my crew chief, Mike Ford. Mike, how about letting me do all the trash-talking next year and you just make sure the engine gets better gas mileage than a Boeing 747 with 300 sumo wrestlers on board?
"And if Brian France wants to change the Chase, how about next season we decide the championship on who wins the most races for the year? Isn't that why we're here? Even with only one good leg, I still can win more races than these stiffs.
"Also, we need to race four times a year at Martinsville, Pocono and Texas, the three best tracks on the circuit."
• No. 1 Jimmie Johnson -- "Well, all you losers sure had a lot to say. Maybe someday one of you will win one of these funky looking trophies again. Hell, my daughter probably will win one before you pudknockers do.
"All of you should bow to my greatness. Come up here and kiss my ring. Admit it, I'm the greatest of all time and the best you'll ever see.
"Five in a row. Hey, I'm just getting started. I may win 10 in a row before I'm through, and there's not a damn thing any of you peons can do about it."
Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com. His book, "The Blount Report: NASCAR's Most Overrated and Underrated Drivers, Cars, Teams, and Tracks," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy. Blount can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORE RACING HEADLINES
- Kid Rock to perform pre-race at Daytona 500
- Wallace gets Xfinity ride with Roush Fenway
- Kurt Busch testifies, says ex refused to leave
- Sprint to end NASCAR sponsorship after '16