Race Fans Forever
The Time I Helped Tony Stewart Win at Daytona
As any race fan knows, superstitions run rampant in our sport. From avoiding peanuts, fifty dollar bills, and the color green on race day, it seems every driver has a superstition or ritual to bring them luck on the track. As fans, we often have certain rituals that we believe will bring our drivers luck as well. When on of our drivers wins after we perform one of these rituals, that makes it even more special and cements our belief that our behaviors can affect the outcome of a race.
Flashback to July 2009. I was on leave from the Marine Corps, and my dad and I went down to Daytona for the Coke Zero 400. Since it was the 4th of July weekend, I decided to wear my uniform to the race. This got me in the garage, and before long I was rubbing elbows with NASCAR's finest.
A little while later, I was standing outside the drivers' meeting when my hero, Tony Stewart, walked out. As he was signing a hat I bought for a friend, I remembered that the previous fall I had shook his hand before the race at Talladega that he later went on to win. Figuring that I might be good luck, I extended my hand to him and he kindly shook it.
As my dad and I settled into our seats, it was clear that Smoke had the dominant car. As the laps wound down, I grew more and more excited believing that I may have brought good fortune to my driver. As Kyle Busch took the lead coming to the white flag, my heart began to sink as it appeared that my luck may have worn out. However, coming out of turn four, Smoke and Kyle Busch tangled fenders, and Smoke went on to take the checkered flag while leaving Kyle Busch with a torn up a race car and one very ecstatic Marine in the grandstands. I leaped over the seats and high-fived everyone in sight not just because Tony Stewart had won, but because my handshake gave him the extra luck he needed at the end to get there.
Readers, this week I ask you to share with me your favorite weekend rituals to bring good fortune to your drivers. Do you have any behaviors you do to bring drivers you like good luck or any that you avoid to keep from helping drivers you don't? I look forward to hearing your stories.