This media stuff can be a tough business, so the pessimist in me sometimes makes the mind wander.
What would I do if, someday, all the NASCAR writing jobs dried up and I had to find a new profession? What would I miss the most?
When those thoughts cross my mind – the times when I picture myself asking customers "Do you want fries with that?" – it's clear what I'd miss.
It's not going to the races or interviewing drivers or even the free food. No, I'd miss interacting with the readers the most.
"Readers?" Actually, it's more like "friends" in many cases. I'm not ashamed to admit that through Twitter and tweetups, Facebook posts and conversations in the comment sections of SBNation.com articles, I've made a lot of friends who I look forward to hearing from frequently.
That's by far the best part of this job. And today, on Thanksgiving, I have an excuse to tell you, my friends, how grateful I am for your support.
Let's face it: Without all of you, my future in this business would be very limited. In order to make money, free web sites like SB Nation rely on advertising; if people don't visit the site, advertisers will choose to spend their money elsewhere.
So in essence, if you aren't reading my NASCAR stories, then SB Nation can't really justify keeping me around. Fortunately, though, you are reading – more this year than ever before.
I really appreciate that. I know your time is valuable and you might wonder what I was thinking by writing some of these posts, but you still visit here often.
I'm also grateful to those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I know it's not always easy with my opinions, rants and snark, but I appreciate those who have stuck with me – especially those who have followed for several years now. That means the most.
There are also others who deserve a shout-out. Please excuse the awards-speech thank-you list for a moment:
• Thanks to SB Nation NASCAR contributors Jordan Bianchi, Matt Weaver, Brian Neudorff (also known as @nascar_wxman) and @nascarcasm, who have added invaluable content to the site this year. I appreciate their hard work.
• A big thanks to SB Nation CEO Jim Bankoff and founder Tyler Bleszinski for still believing in me and for hiring me in the first place; also to vice president Kevin Lockland and editor Brian Floyd for their constant support.
• Thank you to those NASCAR drivers who understand the media's role and choose to be helpful. It's certainly an extra effort to cultivate a good working relationship with the media, but it's appreciated.
• Also, thank you to the PR reps who play fair and treat all media members with respect; not just the ones with the most readers or viewers.
• Finally, thanks to my colleagues in the NASCAR media. Though we're competitors and don't always get along, there's a common bond of the shared experience on the road, and it's nice to have some shoulders to lean on when the days feel like a grind.
To everyone who reads this letter: May you have a Happy Thanksgiving, a wonderful meal and a great day with your family and friends.