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 Columns & Editorials

May 21, 2001

Monkeys and Peanuts

By Jane Smith

Last night as I drove home from New Smyrna Speedway in Samsula (what a name) Florida, I listened to the Winston which was in the wee hours of the morning. I heard my Bobby LaBonte's name in fourth place and I thought of "monkeys and peanuts."

There are three things that racers seem to get bad luck from and those are "monkeys on the back, peanuts anywhere around anything to do with racing and the color green." Now some- times the green does not always bring bad luck as shown last night with Bobby and the lookalike green Super Late Model that won at our track but on the other hand, my daughter's boyfriend that drives a mini-stock with green on it, well, the heat race really did not go well.

Out of these three crazy "notions" of bad luck, the worse is the "monkey on the back". Once you get that monkey, he seems to settle in for awhile. And for many, he is really hard to shake out. But never fear, the monkey will get tired of the same old spot and will look for another tree to rest. Some- times fans and drivers feel like this is something they will never shake but eventually, sometimes even a year or more, the monkey does leave. Jeff Gordon had a monkey for awhile and now he is gone. B.J. McLeod, a Super Late Model driver here, had the monkey also but last night he won a Pro Super Late race and the monkey was gone.

Now peanut shells, that is a hard one. I once saw an EMT who was good at his job but had no idea that the peanut shells he was throwing on the edge of pit road, was really giving bad luck to the whole racetrack. Each time a division would come out to race and he would eat his peanuts and toss the shells on the edge of the track, "wreckfest 2001". People could not figure out why there were so many wrecks, it seemed like we could not go one lap without one, but I found the reason - the EMT eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the track.

I have seen some racers who won't even let anyone in the crew have, look, or even smell peanuts while racing. And some, they won't even let them eat them after the race. You ever want to get even with a driver, put peanut shells in his car. That will do it, just one little shell and you get instant "pay- back time." And fans, well, if we pulled peanuts for the races, I don't think they would be happy.

Green, I love green myself. My alltime favorite car is green and last year I watch Bobby take that green car and win one heckof a championship. But green IS NOT good in racing and could cause severe wrecking problems. David, my daughter's mini-stock boyfriend, has green and not really that much but enough that he bought part of the farm last night in the heat race. He was able to fix the car for the feature (with blue duct tape - not green) but I have a funny feeling that next weekend, there will be spray paint in the pits just in case he does not remove the green this week. But Bobby LaBonte, "don't you dare even consider changing that green. Winston Cup would not be Winston Cup without the GREEN MACHINE."

So if you see one of your favorite drivers having a really bad time and you just can't figure it out since he is such a good driver and always has an excellent car, check for MONKEYS, PEANUTS, AND GREEN.

Jane Smith

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