It’s not so a sunny day today, with scraps of cloud hanging on top closely. Sunshine doesn’t seem to penetrate through; the whole area seems to be dim yet intense. As you look into his eyes, you don’t see fear, but a man of vengeance, determined to cross that finish line the very first. Sweat rolling down his eyes brings him to the point of desperation, only striving for the signal for him to release all the madness upon his opponent.
From behind the back, nylon rope in the pit area, members of a small crowd hold their breath for forty five seconds of hell.
Moments ago they were still gossiping, ‘I have a feeling he’s going to win this,’ from the crowd of spectators. Yet in that very forty five seconds, anxiety filled up the whole atmosphere. All of a sudden, a thundering boom nearly knock them back a step, but they lean into the roar as if it were the wind.
The sound sharpens, piercing through ears, forcing the people to mask their ears. Certainly they did not come for pain in their ears. Yet a cloud of thin, gray smoke slips through their kneecaps bringing extra pain, while invisible fumes stab at their eyes.
Fluffy, seemingly harmless dust glues onto their skin. With their bodies under invasion, they blink and cover their eyes with their hands, somehow keeping fingers in ears. It is not a fair situation, the weaker ones and those with small hands are forced to stay behind, with their views blocked by the wall of crowd.
As the fog thickens, shadowy figures continue to fade away coughing, crying, gasping for air. Those who remain buried their faces into their T-shirts as the terrible smell sears their nostrils.
But covering their mouths means they have to uncover their eyes and unplug their ears, which really irritates them. While the noise tears their ears the dust blinds their eyes too. Like completing his regular routine, Winston, a twenty one-year-old fellow, is racing his dragster once again. Not a freshman or such, for drivers like Winston, drag racing is a passion that is indescribable to some people. In fact, it is what they eat, drink and sleep. From the day they were born they’re brought up in the racing world, instilled their passion of drag racing and a racer they want to be when they grow up.
Trained to be a racing man since young, nobody can change their minds, it’s their life since they had memory. Winston started his life as a racer at the age of seven, with great aspirations of his future dream already by the time. Now he experiences this every weekend whenever he races at Saskatchewan 24/7 Drag-strip or practices with other people of the same faith when there are no races. However, this day is special partly because Winston is going for his fifteenth following win in a row, unbelievable to some because he has outlasted the previous record by six wins.
Moments ago he was checking his GP2 with his crew making sure it was at the perfect condition. During those few seconds he would run the track to go as smoothly as possible for him to achieve a victory. In those few seconds anything could go wrong and going the speeds that they reach one bad brake would be disastrous. The cars accelerating down the track are faster than jet fighter aircraft on takeoff, keeping just enough sense about them to throw the chute when they cross the finish line.
But with vibrations being thrown off by a super high horsepower engine, the slightest human error can send the car into the wall. There’re all sorts of cars out there. From the high class professionals Top fuels and Pro Stocks to Funny cars, all of them looking very different and extraordinary stylish. In this international event nobody wants to get embarrassed; They all see it as a chance to show off their cars, covering in all sort of decorations. Flashy reflections and brilliant colours attract your eyes like magnets.
It does not look like an intense competition but rather a carnival of beautiful cars. Winston’s one, though not that fancy, his previous wins gained him fame hence his plain GP2 is easily recognizable by the crowd. Deafening yells are heard from the spectator area as he gently rows his car into the designed area. Depending on the warmth of the track, each heat begins once requirements are met. Drivers smoke tires in a burnout while workers blow-torch the track surface. All drivers roll their cars into the designed area when they are ready.
When everything is ready-to-go, the top of the Christmas tree illuminates. In drag racing a “Christmas tree” is like a countdown board that has two columns of lights signaling racers to set off. Like traffic lights, it numbers from red, yellow, then to green. Each car shifts forward by a bit, another half-foot, triggering the next set of lights. At last, when the tree goes green, foot goes down to the max. Everyone pushed so hard on their first stamps so they can win at the start. Engines boom like dynamites. Cars shoot out like bullets.
Sixty feet and one second later, they’ve reach 100 mph. Winston has already got an edge at the start. Winston had experienced these practices hundreds of times and had come close to death many times. Those thoughts are deep in his mind, but he only remembers the perfect runs that had brought him to this very point. This kept him continuously improving and now he is one of the top ranked racers among his league, few steps away from his childhood dream. A confident and pugnacious racer, he always demands the toughest challenge out there.
Mind clear, no fear, and ride like the wind was his motto, which he mastered just like an art but all he could do is to pray that he could do it this day as well. Luck is what he really needs now. Yet his opponent across the way is somebody he had not had much luck within the past. Also a top racer in the league who’s two years older than Winston, in three previous meetings Winston had beaten him by only three tenths of a second, and today wants to reverse the roll in invigorating fashion. As he glanced at him for the last time before the race, fear is the sole option left, while victory is only sixty feet away.
However Winston is not an easy one himself neither, once he set his mind, he will strive for his goal with uncompromising effort. So with a blink of an eye he sees the tree turning green, engine roaring in the back of his ears, and rubber burning at his heels, he blasts off the finish line with no worries. Like a jet spurts he, his speed so incredible that stuns pairs of eyes from the spectator sheet. Before he knew it he passed the finish line, not second, but first as he had imagined all along.
For the next few moments he just yelled at the top of his lungs with inexpressible joy, tears poured down his face as if he had won the World Series of drag racing. Crowds cheered like soldiers who had just won a tough and long lasting war, some even throwing their hats towards the youthful champion. With great satisfaction and glory, he soaked in the moment with his friends the family, knowing that he had accomplished something he had dreamt as a little boy. And the best part of all, with his eyes wet, he saw his opponent walking over, reaching out his friendly hand with a smile on his face.