Two men want the same flag.
|The heat was almost unbearable. You'd think Mario would be used to it by now. Thirteen years of Formula One racing had only taught him how to survive, not how to quit. The heat, the bruises, and the politics of the whole thing required all the grit and strength he had. It was all about the checkered flag.
He could barely shift his weight in the tight seat of the car. There was just enough room for him to guide the transmission from gear to gear. He never took his hand off the gear shift knob. Left foot down, shift, left foot up, right foot down to push the car forward.
This was his final race and he was doing everything he could to win just one more time. One driver blocked his way at every turn. When he moved left to hug a corner, John Stewart seemed to gain momentum and pull his car ahead. They had battled for the last 6 years but nothing like this. The cars traded places continually over the last 10 laps. First, second, first, second.
Mario smiled behind his protective fire mask as he pulled away on the final straight away. This is all he wanted, to end his career with a first-place finish. Then suddenly he heard the downshift of the demon car that wanted it as much as he did.
Mario’s heart sank when his foe pulled up next to him as they both crossed the finish line. A photo finish was not in his plan. Would it show him with the checkered flag in his hand?