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How to Understand Car-Racing Superstitions

Most athletes in sports have intricate and sometimes goofy superstitions. Review those that evolved historically in the car-racing world to understand the drivers better.


  • TIP: If you make your own luck instead and ignore all of these fears from car racing history, maybe remote connections with food and colors won't seem so significant.
  • Step 1: Don't dismiss superstitions about eating fried chicken before, during, or even around the race team area when you have a car in competition. Some drivers insist their luck went bad the second they ate chicken. Good luck!
  • FACT: As of 2008, the average NASCAR ticket price, at just over $88, was higher than that of the MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA.
  • Step 2: Cling to personal good luck habits to win. Kyle Petty doesn't cut his hair before races. Dale Earnhardt glued a lucky penny given to him just before the 1998 Daytona 500 to his dash -- he won. Sterling Marlin eats bologna sandwiches before every race.
  • Step 3: Accept that you won't find the number 13 around the race pits, though you will see 12, 12A, and 14.
  • TIP: To observe strict tradition -- don't allow peanuts anywhere near the pits and banish a crew member who eats them before the race.
  • Step 4: When Indianapolis 500 champion Gaston Chevrolet was killed in a 1920 race he was driving a green car, a color which has since been considered bad luck by drivers. Some drivers and teams ignore warnings these days, though, when sponsors offer millions.
  • Step 5: Break any 50-dollar bills into smaller denominations, declining to even touch one before a race. You will be observing a tradition started when driver Joe Weatherly was killed in 1964 with 50-dollar bills tucked in his shirt.
  • Step 6: Learn that race car drivers have avoided shelled peanuts because, legend has it, during a race in the 1930s, shells sprinkled on the cars of five drivers before a race resulted in a massive collision. Keep an open mind and play it safe.

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