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It was race day at Rexcor Raceway. The stands in the dark, sinister-looking stadium were teeming with happy, excited crowds all cheering for their favorite teams and drivers. The hooting and hollering was nearly deafening-but the noise of the crowd was nothing compared to the bodyshaking rumble of the incredibly high-tech NASCAR Unlimited Series cars on the track.
A squadron of Unlimited Series cars zoomed around a sharp turn and gushed down a straightaway. Leading the line was Hondo Hines, a Team Rexcor driver also known as Specter, and Team Fastex driver Stunts, offlciafly Carlos Rey.Stunts steered his car, trying to spurt past Specter. . But whether Stunts
shifted high or low on the track, Specter moved to block him.
"Hey, slow-poco!" Stunts hollered at Specter over the car's radio. "Get outta the way! This race is mine!"
Specter's only reply was a low, threatening laugh. Up ahead of Stunts was Rexcor Raceway's worldfamous loop-the-loop, an insanely dangerous stretch of track that arched hundreds of feet into the air.
Stunts gunned his engine and followed Specter into the loop-the-loop. The two cars zoomed up the steep ramp, and the crowd cheered wildly as the cars hurtled along the track upside down, high above the stadium. Specter and Stunts surged out the other side, with Specter still in the lead, and headed for a high-banked turn.
Both cars took the turn at unbelievable speed. Specter, followed closely by Stunts, cruised out of the turn and onto a long straightaway.
Specter activated his radio. "Junker, shed some parts," he commanded his Rexcor teammate. Junker's real name was Diesel Spitz.I want metal on the track," Specter said grimly.
Across the infield, on the other side of the track, Junker's more than usually battered car roared down a different straightaway. Junker smiled. Ja, you are wanting metal," he told Specter over the radio, "you are getting metal!"
Approaching Junker was Mark McCutchen, the Team Fastex driver better known as Charger. Junker veered and
Crraaaaannnnnngggg! He smashed into- Charger. The sound was hideous.
Fighting to keep control, Charger managed to squeak by Junker mostly undamaged, but body panels fell off Junker's car and onto the track.
Meanwhile, Specter and Stunts were dashing toward the electronic flag board. The two drivers, almost side by side, roared under the flag board just as the yellow caution flag flashed on it. Specter banged Stunts's car sideways.
Stunts was sent sliding, his tires squealing. Both tires on one side of Stunts's car blew out as he bumped over the sharp metal panels from Junker's car.
Stunts struggled with the steering wheel. "Good thing these cars got four wheels!" he cried. He reached for the lever on his dash that controlled his maneuvering jets.
As soon as he pulled the lever, a powerful blast of flame exploded out of one of Stunts's jets. His car tilted up onto two wheels-and kept running.
An emergency helicopter hovered above the racetrack. It dangled a huge magnet to pick up the chunks of metal that had been knocked off Junker's car. In a few seconds, the helicopter had cleaned up the garbage.
Douglas "Duck" Dunaka, the Team Fastex crew chief, stood aboard the Fastex IMP. The IMP-or Independently Mobile Pit unit-was a high-tech garage on wheels. During an off-track race, it was driven onto a road and used as a rolling pit stop. But most of the time it was parked in the pits and the racers drove up onto it for repairs or refueling as if it were an automotive aircraft carrier.
Duck raised a handheld radio to his mouth. "Stunts, pit for a tire change!" he ordered.
Stunts breezed along on two wheels. "And let Team Rexcor pass me?" he replied to Duck. "No way, man!"
"Drive smart, Carlos!" Duck called over the radio. "Third or fourth place is worth a lot of championship points. If you wreck, you could lose everything."
"It's all or nothing with me, Duck!" Stunts answered.
The electronic board flashed the green flag-all. clear-as Specter blazed under it, followed by Stunts on two wheels.
Once again, Specter plunged through the loopthe-loop. Stunts took a deep breath, still up on two wheels, as he chased Specter into the swooping track.
Amazingly, Stunts whizzed through the loop-the-loop on two wheels and then followed Specter down the long straightaway.
Zorinaanother bad-tempered Team Rexcor driver, who used to be a fashion model-accelerated until she was hot on Stunts's tilted bumper.
The three cars blasted into the high-banked turn at the end of the straightaway and sizzled out onto another long stretch of flat track.
Specter swerved toward Stunts's car.
Still on two wheels, Stunts jerked the steering wheel hard to one side. He slipped into a controlled spin, his two wheels squealing. Stunts narrowly avoided hitting Specter's car.
But Specter crunched into Zorina as she was trying to pass Stunts on the other side. Her car heaved into the wall.
Stunts grinned. Ahead of him, there was nothing but the finish line.