Countyline Racing.

Chico stepped on the gas as he turned onto the on ramp leading to I-95, almost tasting the sweetness of victory ahead. Then uncertainty set in as he had no clue who his opponent would be. Would he emerge triumphant with an improved racing record or would he just sink lower to the point of eternal shame? That question would soon be answered tonight.

Chico merged into the light traffic on the interstate and set about searching for his opponent. He flashed his bright lights twice in rapid succession and looked around for a response. No luck. He tried again and the car ahead changed lanes to move out of his way. Not the response he was looking for, but one slightly comical in tone to ease the moment’s tension.

Then he flashed his bright lights again and this time he got a response from one of the cars ahead. Its driver had tapped on the brakes twice to signal an acceptance of Chico’s challenge. The race was set to begin.

As Chico sped up to line his car up with his opponent, he was momentarily startled at the sight of blue flames shooting out of his opponent’s exhaust. No doubt a muscle car. But when he saw just what kind of car his opponent was driving, he began laughing.

His opponent was driving a Ford Pinto, but heavily modified for racing. The engine was so big that a hole had to be cut in the hood and the car rode on larger than usual tires. The bumpers were heavily padded to reduce any chance of explosion. Chico himself was driving a 1980 Datsun 210, also modified for racing. It boasted a powerful engine and some nitro boosters that helped secure his solid racing record that earned him a spot in the semifinals set to begin tonight. This was going to be a good race, if not a close one.

The two opponents nodded at each other in a final gesture of agreement to the race before they began their preparations, both mental and mechanical. The starting point was at the sign indicating the exit for Hillsborough Boulevard and the finish line was the Palm Beach County border. There were some spectators watching the race from the overpass, eager for some illegal excitement.

The exit sign for Hillsborough Boulevard zipped past as the two cars accelerated to begin the race. The other cars had to swerve out of the way of the speeding cars eager for a spot in the finals.

Chico was fully focused on the road ahead but to his annoyance noticed the Pinto was at his side and making no attempts to gain the lead. He was sorely tempted to use his boosters but he always saved them for the last stretch for they made controlling his car extremely difficult. He floored the gas pedal but it did little to gain any lead.

The race was now nearly half over but the two cars were still side by side. Chico began to worry about the race ending in a tie, which would have meant another race to determine the winner. Some racers utilized this strategy to wear down their opponents but Chico just wanted the race over with. His races never ended in a tie thanks to his boosters but he was hoping not to use them.

The sign indicating the upcoming exit for Boca Raton was now visible, marking the home stretch. Chico reluctantly decided to use his boosters and had reached for the button when his opponent suddenly slammed on the brakes and swerved off the road for no apparent reason. Perhaps the opponent conceded early and decided to let Chico win, unless there was a speed trap nearby. Chico quickly scanned the area and saw no patrol cars anywhere. He had won the race.

Then came the overpass where the cheering spectators offered their enthusiastic approval of Chico’s victory. As Chico drove underneath, his car was quickly buried by the $500 in pennies poured from buckets overhead.

This racing business isn’t bad, Chico thought, but the payout system is in dire need of improvement.


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