Current NASCAR champion Kyle Larson’s cars have always had a lucky ladybug on them, and now we may know why.
Call it a good-luck charm, but the 29-year-old racer’s dad, Mike, had a great story about three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford and his connection to Larson.
NASCAR.com caught up with Mike Larson and got the skinny on why his son has had this good-luck bug on cars throughout the years.
Larson, Rutherford, and Ladybug Racing
Mike Larson remembers a story about Rutherford on the morning of his third Indy win in 1980.
The racer, known to many as “Lone Star J.R.,” saw that a ladybug had landed on him. Rutherford saw it as a good omen for his “Yellow Submarine” Chaparral (he had a Pennzoil paint job) and told his crew that the rest of the field was racing for second place that day.
Rutherford won the pole position, led 118 laps, and won the USAC race by a fantastic 29.92-second margin.
Mike Larson liked the story so much that he told himself that if his son became a racer, he’d put a ladybug in the paint job somewhere.
Now, the story has come to life as Cup champion Kyle Larson has the ladybug on his cars, many of his T-shirts, and other racing mementos.
Years ago, the Larsons met Rutherford at the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa. When they told the legendary racer about adopting his good-luck mascot, he laughed and wished them well.
That particular race could have been in 2015. Kyle Larson competed in that race and finished seventh. USA Today reported that Rutherford visited the Oklahoma track grounds that weekend.
Larson has won two straight Chili Bowl Nationals races.
Kyle Larson Adds To Ladybug Lore
According to the South Carolina Aquarium, ladybugs and luck have gone together for years.
The insect is part of myths and legends where they are considered lucky. The aquarium noted that if one lands on you, you should “count the number of spots to predict how many years of good luck you’ll have. Some say those spots indicate how many months until your “greatest wish” comes true.
Other sayings include:
- Color (the redder the bug, the better the luck).
- Love (when a ladybug lands on you, true love will follow).
- Bad luck (lousy luck comes if you kill one).
The aquarium also said farmers put stock into these lucky bugs. They observed the bugs eating pests and leaving good bugs and plants alone. The bugs love to eat the problem bugs that go after crops and gardens.
This weekend, NBC Sports reported on Larson and three-time World of Outlaws champ Brad Sweet’s new venture. The two men will be the new promoters of Chico, Calif.-track Silver Dollar Speedway. The track is less than two hours from the childhood homes of both men.
Maybe Kyle Larson will work a ladybug into the track’s logo or design next.