According to racing historian Donald Davidson, the exact origin of the belief that green is bad luck in racing is unknown. Bleacher Report states that the superstition dates back to 1920, when Indianapolis 500 champion Gaston Chevrolet was killed in Beverly Hills, Calif., while driving a green car.
In the 1980s, driver Mitch Richmond, who was sponsored by Folgers, insisted on driving a red car representing Folgers regular coffee instead of driving a green car representing Folgers decaffeinated.
Seemingly disproving the superstition, Michael Waltrip won the 1981 NASCAR Cup Championship driving a green car sponsored by Mountain Dew. Harry Grant won 18 races driving a green Skoal Bandit Chevy.