I am not superstitious. Okay, so maybe I am… a little.
Case in point. I have always preached that at the track, you do the same thing time and time again. If I were to pull away from my trailer and have to turn to the right, I do that each and every time; even if there is suddenly room to turn to the left. You stage your car the same way each and every time. It’s consistency like that which helps you to not allow anything to get in your way. In that way, your subconscious takes over and things can happen automatically without having you think about them.
Do I/we take that to the extreme? Uhm, maybe. If I come back from a run and I’m the one who hooks up the battery charger, than I don’t want someone else doing it.
One particular racer who shall remain nameless (not me) told me that each time he got in his car, his one crew guy would walk around the left side of the car and hand him his helmet. It was going into the final round, when in the heat of the battle, another person handed him his helmet. The driver in mind wouldn’t take it, instead insisting the same person who was handing him his helmet do so. He lost that final round. Just saying.
At one particular race, I had two good friends of mine helping out. Each round, one would come to the staging lanes with our golf cart and the other would ride up on our pit bike. Going up for the final round, they both said they’d ride up on the golf cart together to which I had to stop them. “Oh no you don’t.” At least I won the final. Just saying.
Superstition in racing has always been around. There are guys who won’t wear green (me), some who don’t want peanuts in their pit areas (not me), and yet some who won’t dial 6.66, (again, not me), or want that number on their car. Don’t tell Pro Stock’s Matt Hartford that one.
Some drivers might get dressed in a certain order, while others get into the car a certain way. Me? I always enter a dragster from the left side but I think that might stem from my door car driving days. Supposedly, Dale Earnhardt would always leave a building through the same door he entered. And it’s no different in other forms of life such as baseball or golf, where some perform elaborate and/or repetitive routines prior to batting or hitting a golf ball. So you see, this “superstitious thing” transcends all of life. What was the saying when I was a kid walking on a sidewalk? “Step on a crack and break your mother’s back.” Yeah, that one was pretty stupid.
According to Wikipedia, the internet’s answer to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a superstition is considered irrational or supernatural arising from ignorance, a misunderstanding of science, a positive belief in fate or magic.
Now I’ve got to say that I am a believer in fate, not necessarily magic but, this may sound crazy. I believe it’s already written in the Big Book as to who is going to win the next race. My only question is that if or when I’m able to make it through the Pearly Gates, I’d like the Big Guy to show me the Book and show me how many times I wasted going to a race that He knew I wasn’t going to win. Does that stop me from going racing, or doing the best that I can to ensure a win? No. Each time we go to a race, it’s done so with the same fervent effort that I can win no matter what. If you don’t go with that attitude, then you may as well not go at all.
I often wonder if the silly superstitions I adhere to at the races are somewhat sinful. I don’t think I believe that, instead wishing to believe my actions are more just my way of consistently doing the same thing in maybe the same way a golfer might take two or three practice swings before walking up and hitting his golf ball.
If you’ve watched any sort of circle track racing, you’ll notice that most successful drivers will hit the same mark on the track each lap. So then what is the difference between that or me being the only one to attach the battery charger after each run?
Are you superstitious? -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO