As I type this article, hordes of happy Steeler fans are scrambling through the streets of Pittsburgh, shouting their joy, and toasting their world champion football team. Outside of my home, in a suburb that is a hop, skip and a jump away from the city, it sounds much like it does on New Year's Eve: fireworks, happy hollering, and bangs. A whole lot of bangs. I can't exactly identify what is banging, so I can only hope the person (or persons) causing these loud sounds knows what they're doing. Anyway, there can be no doubt about it: Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas are full of joyous citizens tonight.

I am particularly happy that my son, Joshua, got to see a hometown team receive a championship. I grew up in the 70s, and I remember when Pittsburgh was 'The City of Champions'. All of our teams, the Steelers, the Pirates, and the Penguins were winners, and we loved it. He is only experiencing one-third of that kind of joy, but it's better than nothing.

As luck would have it, the world of NASCAR will come out of hibernation next weekend for the Budweiser Shootout, and then it's on to the Gatorade Duels five days following that. I can pretty much stay in high gear, with just enough time here and there to catch my breath for the truck race on the 17th. Then it's the Busch race on the 18th, and then The Great American Race, the Daytona 500, on the 19th.

After these cold winter months of no racing at all, just languishing with nothing but backed-up household projects to do (that didn't get done because of my attention to the last racing season), suddenly today I had my adrenaline whipped alive by the Steelers. My system is in total shock and chaos. The lights are flickering in all of the areas of my brain for the first time since November, and my cheeks have a slight blush in the middle of winter-white pallor. It is registering that, yes, I am alive!

I can only hope that the Daytona 500 will leave me as breathless as the football game of today. Circumstances seem to indicate that it will: there are drivers who had lost their way last season that want nothing more than to start with a clean slate; drivers with new teams, owners, and car makes to adjust to; young up-and-comers with the appetites of lions and the recklessness of starving cubs on their first hunts; and old veterans with lots to prove and little time to get it all done.

That is my closing wish for all NASCAR fans: that those racing warriors that we adore provide us a breathless, exhilarating, intoxicating, and stupendous season.

Can't you just imagine in response to that, your favorite driver looking you squarely in the eye and saying, "Happy to oblige"?

I've got to go now and find a cow bell, a whistle, and anything that loudly goes 'bang', on my front porch. The Daytona 500 is just around the corner.