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Foyt laughs when he’s asked about tracks where he had a problem.

“Well, I had that at a lot of them tracks I ran,” the 77-year-old cracked.

He just never let it bother him. It was as if a strip of concrete or blacktop was personally challenging him. And he never backed down from any challenge.

When Rahal hit a wall or collided with another car, he thanked his lucky stars for surviving and then added it to his store of knowledge for future use.

“You might say, `Well, I’m going to approach this a little differently because of what happened last year. I’m not going to do THAT again,’” said Rahal, who now co-owns a team and has to be concerned about the safety of his own drivers. “But, no, you went in thinking, `Boy, I don’t like this place.’”

Wilson was forced to sit out the next three or four months after his broken back. He spent that time watching the IndyCar series. He noted that, pure, blind luck also is a factor.

“I’m good friends with Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, and you watch them, two great drivers, and at the time, Scott was having terrible luck and Dario was fortunate. It’s just interesting to see two guys, the same team, both excellent drivers, and yet one’s winning and the other one _ if it could go wrong, it did. If there was a crash, Scott would get taken out and Dario would get through it,” he said.

So on top of past performance, confidence, driving ability and a hundred other aspects, there’s also an unseen element that seems to hold a fickle power over drivers, regardless of where or how they’re racing.

“There’s such a thing as luck,” said Wilson, who finished 18th at Mid-Ohio this time around. “Things that you can’t control, things that just happen.”

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Rusty Miller can be reached at http://twitter.com/rustymillerap