Lucky Dog is 3

one lucky dog

Happy Birthday to NASCAR’s Lucky Dog

The ‘Lucky Dog’ is offically 3 years (+ 1 day) old.

The Lucky Dog is Born

On lap 159 of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway (my favorite driver) Dale Jarrett wrecked. I don’t recall the particulars, but I remember the race. They were showing an in-car shot of DJ right after the wreck. I remember watching him take off the steering wheel and then thinking better about it.

As had become the trend that year, the ‘gentlemens agreement’ of holding track position had all but vanished. Cars were running break neck speed back to the finish line. Dale sat in serious harms way in the middle of the track.

As a result, NASCAR banned racing back to the caution flag. The decision was to give a ‘free pass’ to the first driver 1 lap down. I think it was Wally Dallenbach that contributed to coining the phrase lucky dog. If my very bad memory serves me correctly, I seem to think that Jimmy Spencer (driving the Sirius Satellite sponsored car) was one of the first recipients of this ‘free pass’. The play on words regarding his sponsors dog logo evolved into using the term ‘Lucky Dog’. Am I way off on that? Someone with a better memory please help me out.

Good Dog

I think the ‘lucky dog’ award has been kind of cool. If for nothing else than creating a ‘race within a race’ to stay at worst the car 1 lap down. Plus, it has really helped many a team get back on the lead lap and even win races. It has ultimately solved the problem of racing back to the yellow.

Bad Dog

It can also be very well argued that the ‘lucky dog’ is no solution at all. Take Kyle Busch’s 5 free laps given to him during the AMD at the Glen at Watkins Glen earlier this year.

Either way though…Happy B-day to the Lucky Dog.”