When the NASCAR Winston Cup officials inspected
Spud's car, they found that he had an illegal cooling system and hit
him with a $5000 fine. Spud pleaded his case stating that the
only reason he needed it was to keep the sour cream and butter pats
refrigerated in his trunk. Unfortunately, the inspectors would not give
in and Spud had to remove the system prior to the race.
Much to the other race teams' dismay, the
inspection found no other problems with Spud's car, so his qualifying
speed would stand. Spud was ecstatic - this was his first big
race and he would be starting it from the pole position.
With his car setup perfect,
Spud went into town the night before the big race leaving his competitors
feverishly working away on their cars back at the track.
The next morning began with Spud leading
the field of 43 cars around the 2 mile oval track before a capacity
crowd of about 160,000 fans. Many had traveled from all corners
of the globe to see the tuber's inaugural race. He would not disappoint.
At the drop of the green flag the tuber
charged out to an early lead with the likes of veterans Dale Earnhardt
and Rusty Wallace struggling to keep him in their sight. Each time one
of them got close, Spud 'dropped' some bacon bits out the back of his
machine causing the 3500 pound stock cars to skid wildly out of control.
By the time the race
reached it's halfway point, Spud had already lapped the field twice.
The fans found themselves losing interest quickly and began filing out
of the track. Some of the competitors simply gave up trying to catch
the speedy side dish and simply parked their car back in the garage.
At the end of the 400 miles, Spud was pursued
only by veteran Dave Marcis who was ambling along 36 laps behind. As
Spud took the checkered flag, he was surprised to find that the stands
were empty except for an angry group of promoters and NASCAR executives.
This was definitely not the fanfare he had expected.
Spud pulled into victory
circle and was presented with his winning cheque and bottle of champagne.
Unfortunately, that was it - there were no photographers, no media and
there would be no kiss from Miss Winston. Spud had 'stunk up the show'
by beating all the others so easily, and there were many folks that
weren't too happy with him. Sponsors were threatening to pull out of
the series and TV ratings had nose-dived.
None were angered more than NASCAR president
Bill France Sr. who glared back at the tuber with fire in his eyes.
France had to get rid of the potato...and quickly. He lurched at the
tater wielding a masher in his left hand. Spud narrowly escaped by jumping
back into his car. The crazed exec dived for the yam again, but Spud
stood on the gas pedal and roared away.
Maybe stock car racing isn't for potatoes