NASCAR Superstitions: Kyle Busch's Fate is in My Hands!

Kara MartinSenior Analyst ISeptember 27, 2008

I blame Kyle Busch for the severe sleep deprivation that I've suffered over the last two weeks. I also blame Kyle for the fact that I've now run myself down to the point that I have caught a nasty cold.

My defenses are weak, my head is full of congestion and throbbing from the pain, but Mr. Busch will have to turn up the mojo. Try as you might, you won't stop my wicked ways. It hurts too good!

I work nights, 7pm-7am. My days are spent locked away behind room-darkening shades and plushy eye masks. I do whatever I can to trick my circadian rhythm into believing that noon is actually midnight. Not an easy thing to accomplish on any given day, but now that The Chase is underway, the lines between day and night are truly blurred.

It began with Loudon, the race was on and I knew that I would not or better yet, SHOULD not stay up to watch it in it's entirety. If I'm scheduled to work on a Sunday night, I always Tivo the race, avoid any sports coverage and watch it Monday morning when I get home.
Because it was the first race of the chase, I got sucked up in the excitement and stayed up to watch it to the bitter end. I convinced myself that because I stayed awake that afternoon, I somehow warped the universe or something equally as crazy, allowing me to single handedly change the fate for Kyle Busch. He came in 34th that day.
Next stop Dover. Again I cheated myself of precious sleep. I sat in the exact same spot, doing the exact same thing as I had done the week before. Busch' s outcome, 43rd!
Thanks to this year's Chase my superstitious ways have evolved from mild-mannered hopin' and wishin' and prayin' to down right witch doctor-like practice.
Up until this season if I was scheduled to work on race day, I always wore red hospital scrubs for my beloved Dale Jr. By wearing them I thought that I could score a win for my driver or at the very least prevent him from a DNF. Last year proved that the scrubs had lost their magical powers, perhaps I had washed the ju-ju right out of them. 
I was sitting in the stands in Richmond when Dale Jr spun out Kyle Busch. I realized then that it was time to kick the voodoo into high gear. If I couldn't will Jr. into a first place finish, at the very least I could stop Busch from dominating the remaining ten races.
Am I really arrogant enough to believe that my own superstitions can control the outcome of a NASCAR race, you betcha! 
An AP survey from 2007 suggested that 1 in 5 sports fans have a special technique that they use to help influence the outcome of a sporting event. Experts say the psychology behind our superstitions come from our inherent need feel closer or more connected to a game, player, driver, etc.
By not shaving the "playoff beard" or wearing a lucky shirt or eating the same chips and salsa every Sunday we feel connected, like part of a team. By putting weight on our own actions it allows us to feel that we are part of a winning effort.
NASCAR teams and drivers have their own superstitions. Peanuts in the shell, the color green and $50 dollar bills are the three most prominent superstitions in racing.
What's so bad about peanuts?
Theories abound. According to some, during a race in the 1930s, peanut shells were sprinkled on the cars of five drivers, and all five crashed during the race. According to another, a Junior Johnson team member was eating peanuts in the garage area when one of the team's engines blew. Johnson blamed the peanuts.
Dale Sr. hated peanuts so much that when a vendor left a sample of them in his hauler, he reportedly opened the door, tossed the peanuts into the garage area and let it be known, in his own special "intimidator" way, that he never wanted to see peanuts in his transporter again.
Why green?
Racers have shared a bias against the color green for decades. Reportedly, it began after a 1920 accident in Beverly Hills, CA, that killed defending Indianapolis 500 champion Gaston Chevrolet. It was the first known racing accident in the United States to kill two drivers, and Chevrolet reportedly was driving a green car.
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.
And those pesky $50 dollar bills?

Legend has it that a friend of driver Joe Weatherlyowed him $100. Just prior to the start of the race, the friend gave Weatherly two $50 bills, which Joe stuck in the pocket of his driver's uniform. They were there when he hit the wall on lap 86 at the Riverside Road Course in California. Weatherly died on impact.

To this day, most NASCAR drivers refuse to accept $50 bills and with eight races to go, I refuse to back down on the #18. 
Instead of sleeping the Kansas race away I'll be right in front of the TV working my magic.