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More Race-Day Superstitions

December 30, 2016

Many NASCAR, Formula One, and IndyCar drivers put themselves through some very peculiar rituals, in the belief that if they don’t, bad luck will curse them to lose their race…or worse. For the first segment in the story, read Race-Day Superstitions. 
Race Car Superstitions

  • Austrian Formula One driver Alex Wurz always raced in mismatched shoes.
  • Dale Earnhardt left every building in and around the racetrack from the same door he came in.
  • Davey Allison watched a movie the night before every NASCAR race. If he won the race, he’d watch the same movie the night before his next race, until he lost, at which point he started in with a new movie.
  • Just before climbing into his car at the start of each NASCAR race, Sterling Marlin ate a bologna sandwich.
  • Veteran IndyCar team owner Carl Haas smokes and chews on cigars during races, but when he headed up Mario Andretti’s team in the 1980s and 1990s, he had a particular tradition: While Andretti climbed into the car, Haas would dance around the car while shaking his cigar at it.
  • Alberto Ascari was a champion Formula One driver in the 1950s. He insisted on carrying a briefcase to each race. It contained his “lucky” racing helmet, gloves, goggles, and T-shirt, all blue. He wouldn’t let anybody else handle that briefcase.
  • When he was just starting out as a Formula One driver in the mid-1990s, David Coulthard wore the same pair of boxer shorts for every race. (We presume he washed them between races.)
  • Early NASCAR star Edward “Fireball” Roberts would not allow his picture to be taken before a race.
  • Mark Martin’s superstition: no superstitions. He claimed to have once taped a four-leaf clover inside his car during a race at the North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina…and he somehow crashed the car before the race even started. Now he avoids any sort of lucky charm.
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