When one thinks of St. Patrick’s Day, some of the first thoughts that come to mind are those of leprechauns. Revelers clad in copious amounts of green clothing and accessories. Four-leaf clovers. Rainbows with pots of gold at the end of them. And, most certainly, good luck.
So perhaps it wouldn’t be surprising to folks if they learned that Ryan Newman and the No. 39 Haas Automation team spent time this week researching family genealogy in hopes of finding a bit of Irish in them, which ideally would lead them to successfully channel a little good luck for Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Through Irish history, there is plenty of misfortune. The Irish have lived on land that was taken from them, occupied by the British, the Vikings and other conquerors. However, they have been able to survive famines, war, starvation, and prejudice.
To imply that the Irish are inherently lucky, and seem to be able to land on their feet when bad circumstances occur, may not necessarily be reality. But whatever has them forever linked to being so lucky in the hearts and minds of the rest of the world is perhaps their desire to succeed even when the odds are stacked against them.
The No. 39 team started the year on a high note, scoring a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, but has been bitten by misfortune at almost every turn since. It isn’t unchartered territory for the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) bunch, having found themselves in a similar position in 2009 and 2010, when they entered the fourth race of the season 33rd and 32nd in points, respectively.
Fast-forward to this weekend, as Newman heads to Bristol 31st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points. One can’t blame the No. 39 team if it looks to this weekend’s event at Bristol to help turn its fortunes, as it has in years past.
Perhaps the similarities to those seasons will continue for Newman and his team this weekend. If so, they will turn their fortunes on the back of a strong run, which will be followed by a string of solid efforts in the coming weeks that will move the No. 39 team back toward the top of the standings.
The desire to be successful, to never give up in the early going even if the odds are against them has seen this bunch prevail in the past. However, if you see Newman and crew stopping to pick some four-leaved clovers or sporting some green this weekend, it’s because it couldn’t hurt to be safe than sorry, either.