Kurt Busch: Sixes and Eights
Luck – good or bad – can wield major influence in the eye of the beholder. It’s a sentiment that has been around since the beginning of time. It exists in a variety of forms and methods and will be associated with actions, inanimate objects, symbols and signs. At the end of the day, luck is simply a name given to events after they have occurred, whether they are fortuitous or calculated. Despite its ambiguous nature, there are those who believe in luck in every corner of the world.
The term “luck” is one that is used in the daily vernacular of a NASCAR driver. A driver and team may experience a bout of bad luck one week and reap the fortunes of good luck the next. Beyond the instances of chance, drivers also believe luck is a result of routines and objects. One driver may eat the same thing for breakfast each race morning in hopes of eliciting good fortune while another may seek good luck via a specific pre-race ritual. Other drivers may carry special trinkets considered to be lucky, or associate themselves with numbers they consider to be lucky, or even find special meaning in things such as starting position or pit-road assignment.
While NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch doesn’t have a lucky number, his past performance at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., indicates a level of fondness for the numbers six and eight. The driver of the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing goes into Sunday’s Geico 400 at Chicagoland with a total of six top-10 finishes in 11 starts at the 1.5-mile oval. Each of those top-10 finishes have either been a sixth- or an eighth-place effort. One of Busch’s better performances at Chicagoland was one year ago, when he qualified third and led a race-high 64 laps before settling for a sixth-place finish. Ironically, that performance was almost identical to the one Nationwide race Busch ran at Chicagoland during the 2006 season. After qualifying third and leading a race-high 79 laps, Busch ended up with a sixth-place finish when the race came down to fuel mileage that season.
Although he has yet to win a race at Chicagoland, Busch has a great deal of affinity for the facility and the nearby city of Chicago.
Busch is a baseball junkie – a fact that has been well-documented with stories describing his passion for the sport and the fact he has visited every ballpark in the country. Busch is a life-long fan of the Chicago Cubs and has visited historic Wrigley Field numerous times. While Busch is a Cubs devotee, he’s also a fan of the Chicago Bears, who kicked off their season with a 41-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. Busch will be looking for more of the same from his beloved Bears as they take on the Green Bay Packers Thursday night, only he’ll have more on the line as he has a bet on the game with fellow driver Matt Kenseth, a devoted Packers fan. Should the Packers win, Busch will wear a Packers jersey to Sunday’s drivers meeting. If the Bears win, Kenseth will sport a Bears jersey to the meeting.
Although sixes and eights aren’t necessarily the ultimate goals for NASCAR drivers, either finish is considered a good day in the ultra-competitive world of Sprint Cup racing. And multitudes of scores involving sixes and eights will go a long way in helping Busch win his friendly wager on Thursday night.
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