The return to Michigan International Speedway

NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace tries to suck up to Spud for his autograph

Spud was sitting down in front of the TV one Saturday evening watching a show on racing. The show's commentator announced that the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) President and CEO Bill France, was stepping down from his senior position at the head of the organization. France had banned the potato from competing back in 2000 when the side dish spanked the series regulars in his Ferrary Tuberossa. With this sudden turn of events, the potato flew down to NASCAR's headquarters to lobby the sanctioning body to reinstate him as an active driver.

With France no longer the key decision maker, the board would decide Spud's future. Armed with a pound of butter, the potato was all prepared to 'grease a few palms' if thats what it took to convince the board members. Fortunately, he avoided a potentially slippery situation and the the board unanimously agreed to lift the ban under the provision that Spud could only compete in a car prepared by one of the regular series competitors. The tater would also be prevented from carrying any bacon bits, chives or diced onions that may result in 'debris' on the track.

Spud pulls into the pits for right side tires

Upon hearing the news, Spud's phone began to ring off the hook with offers from many of the series' top race teams trying to persuade the tater to drive one of their cars. One particular call came from Bill Davis owner of the #22 Caterpillar car that won the Daytona 500 in 2002. Davis' regular driver, Ward Burton, was going into the hospital to have surgery on his lips. Apparently Burton suffered from a speech impediment whereby he was unable to move his lips when he spoke. Knowing how fast Davis' cars were on the track, the potato agreed to get behind the wheel for a race back at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS).

The potato showed up at MIS ready to do battle. The 42 other drivers had heard about the return of the carbohydrate and mobbed the side dish when he emerged from Davis' hauler, clamouring for an autograph. Spud happily obliged each request before going to his car and strapping himself in.

As the green flag dropped, signalling the start of the 400 mile race, the other 42 competitors swarmed around the potato. Although the Caterpillar car was certainly fast, it paled in comparison to the power of his Ferrari, and thus he was unable to pull away from the crowd. Spud soon realized he would certainly have his work cut out for him this time around.

Midway through the event, Spud was still mired in the middle of the pack; fighting an ill-handling race car. The tater was not used to running so poorly and decided to head into the pits for a new set of tires and to invoke Plan B.

While his crew turned in a blistering fast 2-tire change, the potato pulled a sheet of aluminum foil from his rear compartment and lined it in his rear window. The tater then roared out of the pits and back onto the track.

As Spud got back up to speed, the leaders were just becoming visible in his rear view mirror; trying to put the tato a lap down. The potato dove down into turn 3 where the sun was shining and the tin foil began to glow like a welder's flash right into the eyes of the lead cars. Blinded by the sun's reflection, the drivers lost control of their cars and spun into the infield grass bouncing off each other along the way.

With the lead cars now reduced to sputtering masses of metal, Spud easily cruised to victory.

Spud cruises over the finish line, winning the 400 mile event

NASCAR inspectors were suspicious of the potato's come from behind win and demanded an immediate post race inspection of the car.

The inspectors put the template on the #22 and began measuring tolerances. Director of Competition Gary Nelson found that Spud's roof height was 2" too high, making the car fail post race inspection and disqualifying the tater's victory.

Shocked with disbelief, the crew began arguing with officials. Undaunted, Spud jumped back behind the wheel and then roared back onto the track to performing his signature burnout - smoking all the remaining rubber off his rear tires.

He then roared into the winner's circle lane where he jumped onto the roof of his race car and raised his arm to salute the cheering capacity crowd in attendance.

The tater then demanded that the car be rechecked by inspectors. As luck would have it, the roof height was now 2 1/2" lower - well within tolerance. Spud's victory would stand!




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