I have toyed for a long time with the idea of doing a story on superstitions in racing but it never seemed like the right time but I guess now is the time, I have scoured the internet and found a ton of stuff on race car drivers and crew I am going to share with you, but if you have some of your own racing related I would love to hear about them, email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For years drivers have been so wary of things like $50.00 bills, the color green, peanuts in the pits, most drivers have a few, even if they are like Ron Hornaday who says he has so many he will not mention them for fear that another driver will get wind of them and try to use them against him. He does have one he got from his former boss and NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. Ron says “ “My biggest one, and I learned it from Earnhardt, is when you walk into a building — I don’t care where you walk into it — you leave through the same door you came in,” Hornaday said. “I don’t know why, but I always done that since I raced for Dale and that’s been 15 years. You can see me walk into a building, walk all around the building until I get to the door I walked in, so I can walk out.” the real reason why drivers are superstitious, it gives them something to blame other than themselves when something goes wrong.”
NASCAR don’t help matters any with the number 13 since they list pit stall # 13 as 12a….
Take the little paper cut out that kids today send around the world, “flat stanley” NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler is bad afraid of them, even when he was sponsored by Stanley he refused to have his picture taken with one of the little “paper cut out dudes” as he put it. “Every time I’ve ever taken a picture with a ‘Flat Stanley’ I’ve never made it more than half the race, something happens.” said Sadler.
Davey Allison was guilty of a few, If he watched a movie on Friday night and won the race on Sunday, he would go to the same movie until he didn’t win.
After a win Davy also wouldn’t shave until he didn’t win. If Davy won three or four in a row, he’d have a heck of a beard, so now you know why he was often seen sporting a beard!.
Joe Weatherly, who was deathly afraid of the number 13, was in position 13 at Bristol’s 1962 Volunteer 500. He successfully convinced the race officials to change his position to “12A” rather than 13. Once Weatherly had made a handshake agreement with Track President Bob Colvin that he would race in the Southern 500 in Darlington, South Carolina .
1962.However, the Southern 500 began in 1950.
So 1962 would be the…yep, you guessed it, the 13th Annual Southern 500.
Weatherly refused to honor his agreement, because he was NOT going to be racing in a race titled 13th!They seemed to be at an impasse before an ingenious, if bizarre, solution was found.The 1962 Southern 500 was titled “The 12th Renewal of the Southern 500.”Weatherly raced, and while he did not win the race, he helped add to his overall points total that saw him become the 1962 NASCAR Champion. He would repeat as champion in 1963.
The next year, however, Weatherly died in an accident in a race at the Riverside International Raceway. But get this, At the time, he had just been repaid a $100 loan he had given to his friend, so he had two $50 bills in his back pocket. For years, then, drivers shied away from $50 bills. Sterlin Marlin refuses to touch a $50.00 “I won’t touch a $50 bill,” Marlin said. “I’ll make you get change first. I hate them, won’t touch them. Peanuts, they don’t bother me. Green cars, I don’t have a problem with that, either.
As for the $50 bills, Marlin wasn’t the only one who avoided them. The late Dale Earnhardt also refused to use them. Car owners Eddie Wood and Richard Childress say they hate them, too.
Rusty Wallace is terrified of coins that land tails-up. “When we were loading up [son] Steve’s car for the ARCA race and one of the guys dropped all his change on the ground, I checked every coin to make sure they landed heads-up,” Wallace said. “During the race [last Saturday], Steve blew a tire and wrecked. The first thing that went through my mind was we missed one of the coins. One must have landed on tails.”
Marlin had a routine of eating a bologna sandwich before each race when he won his races at Daytona. He hasn’t missed a bologna sandwich before any of his 711 career starts.
Tim Richmond once refused to drive a car sponsored by Folger’s decaffeinated coffee because the primary color was green. He wound up in the Folger’s regular coffee car – and its red scheme.
Robert Yates, the team owner once was upset about a slump. He went into the break room and threw away all the peanuts in the snack machine.
“We won the next race,” Doug Yates said. “True story. And we haven’t had peanuts in our shop again.”
“We don’t allow peanuts in the shell at our shop,” co-owner Doug Yates said. “We hate them. They’re unlucky. If my wife buys peanuts like that, I throw them out. It’s just like the No. 13. If I wake up and the clock is on 13, I go back to sleep. There are some things you just don’t do.”
Some drivers are not bother by these omens, a driver who I learned 90% of what I know from, Walt Kennedy (I also named my daughter after him) said the only thing bad about peanuts in the pits was if you didn’t bring enough for him.
Veteran NASCAR driver Robert Pressley always makes sure he has a banana sandwich before the race starts.
David green says”This one may be a little weird,” he said, smiling, “but before a race when I run in to go to the bathroom, I’ll always use the urinal on the far left. That’s pole position. If somebody’s already there … I’ll just wait.”
And it isn’t just NASCAR drivers, F-1 drivers have their own, Michael Schumacher refuses to race cars with even numbers, Schumacher is one of many drivers who make it a ritual to get into their cars the same way each time. For Schumacher the left side is the “lucky” side. He even goes so far as to make certain it is his right foot that he puts into the car first.
Former NHRA drag racer Joe Amato would wear the same SNOOPY socks for each race. There are tons of them all over the place and these are just a few.
Funny how things work, I think it can be summed up like this, by believing in these omens, drivers have something to blame a bad night on……..
Now, bring on some real racing!!!