Martin Truex Jr. doesn't believe in superstitions or lucky charms, but that didn't stop him from having a lucky charm in his pocket during his championship race at Homestead.
Hall of Fame drag racer Darrell Gwynn was given a lucky rabbit's foot by a Los Angeles firefighter in 1989, and the rabbit's foot had been sitting in Gwynn's trophy case for 27 years. But on Friday, Gwynn gave the lucky charm to Truex.
Gwynn used the rabbit's foot as his lucky charm en route to winning championships, and he told NBC Sports that he didn't have it when he suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash in April of 1990 that left him in a wheelchair.
"After I got hurt, the rabbit's foot meant so much to me,'" Gwynn said. "I took it out of my car and put it in my trophy case. This week, I had it hanging in my garage. I got a text from Martin and I asked him, 'Hey can I count on you to fish in the tournament (at Homestead on Friday). Martin's answer is always 'Of course you can count on me.'
"It just made me think a little of Martin as a person. As I was going out of my garage, I saw the rabbit's foot there and I said I know somebody who can use that this weekend. He's been running good all year long but he needs some luck here because the way the format is, it's all down to one (race). I took it out of the trophy case after 27 years.
"The deal was if it worked, he got to keep it. If it didn't work, I got it back for sentimental reasons. I'm glad it worked. I wanted to him to win. I love his story. I love him."
And though Truex said he doesn't believe in lucky charms, he carried the rabbit's foot with him anyway because he respects Gwynn and considers him a friend.
"I carried it because I respect Darrell a lot," Truex said. "He's a good friend of mine, and the fact that it meant enough to him ?' this weekend meant enough to him for him to take something out of his trophy case after 27 years that he really believed would help me, I was going to put it in my damned pocket. Period. End of story.
And guess what? Truex won his first championship despite not having the best car on Sunday. He told NBC Sports after the race that the lucky charm must've worked for him.
"That son of a bitch worked!" he said.
Maybe the lucky charm had something to do with it, but Truex was the best driver this season and deserved the championship. And now, he'll have a lucky charm with him to help him win another title next season.