As far back as I could remember, I always loved this time of the year. While the racing season is drawing to a close, the weather is nicer than the stickiness of the July heat, the holidays are approaching and football is in full swing. Although being a New York Giants fan the last few years has been tough, this year looks awesome.

Another reason for me to enjoy this season though is my birthday and the final events of the year. The NHRA tour has the Vegas and Pomona national events with the Vegas divisional squeezed in the middle. These events are the culmination of the yearlong points chase. I only take a casual interest in the professional series, but I love seeing the sportsman classes take it down to the final race of the year. Especially when the guys from my side of the Mississippi take their whole rig out there or find friends who will loan them a car for these final few races. Many of these racers are looking for their first championship and it may even be their first time racing out west. Sometimes it’s to try to eke out the last few points to erase a poor showing at an earlier event and other times it’s just to try to block their closest competitor. Either way, the excitement level is always higher at these last few races of the year.

For bracket racers, many look forward to the Original Million Dollar Drag Race this time of year. This year’s edition was held in Montgomery, AL and, as usual, the competition was incredible. Although more times than not, the winner of the main event is an expected name (think Williams, Underwood, Triplett as they are the multi time winners of this event), I like to root for the lesser-known guys when it starts to get down to a handful of cars. This year did not disappoint me as 23 year-old Tucker Kanselaar from Iowa took home the big check. While “only” 640k, this was the largest payout in this race’s history with almost 500 entries rolling into first round.

While the Million is exciting, the Moroso 5 day used to be the king. November weather in Florida is hard to beat, especially for those from the Northeast. This, combined with what many see as the original 5-day bracket series that drew top competition from around the country along with plenty of extracurriculars and you always had the makings for a good week no matter how many win lights you turned on. I remember always looking forward to driving to West Palm Beach from New Jersey and jumping out of the truck at every gas stop excited about it getting warmer. The biggest disappointment was the fact that heading South on I-95, reaching Florida still meant another 5 hours to the racetrack formerly known as Moroso Motorsports Park. However, as a kid, that meant sleeping or playing Gameboy for me, but it was still better than being in school.

It is these memories and the excitement of playoff like atmosphere that really make me enjoy this time of year the most. While spring and the beginning of racing season and hope for a good year is a close second, it cannot beat fall for me. I can understand how summer might be tops some, but winter is certainly my least favorite season. While it does give me a chance to look forward to and prepare for the next year, I could do without the cold. While you probably won’t change my mind, feel free to let me know your favorite time of year. -Franklin DiBartolomeo