Brad unhitched the seat harness. He hoisted himself out of the car to face a crush of 50 or more well wishers. Someone poured champagne over his head and another handed him a bottle. He took a deep drink then was kissed by Miss Westminster Races, a blonde with more sparkle than brains.
"You did it, buddy," Frankie said, draping an arm around Brads shoulders. "Your first race, and you pulled off a winner. You done great. Sean would be so proud of you. You drove like a pro out there, I didn't think you'd get out of the middle of the pack. How did you manage that?"
Brad winked at Frankie, said, "Sean, was driving, I was just a passenger."
"It sure looked like it Brad, you drove ever as bit as good as Sean."
Brad craned his neck around, looking over the crowd, "Where's Sandy?"
Frankie pointed toward the first row behind the pit. "She's over ther... Well, she was over there." There seemed to be a glow eminating from an empty seat, or maybe it was a trick of sunlight.
Brad thumped the top of # 401. "Is this the car Sean died in?"
Frankie frowned. "No, Brad. That car's at Mason's."
Brad knew that Mason's was a bone yard for race cars, there they would strip away anything useful to keep the rest of the cars running.
"Brad, Brad? Over here," called a voice from the edge of the crowd. Brad spotted a short gal with dark hair and a tall guy wielding a camera. Brad blinked at the camera flash. "You're going to be a hero in tomorow's paper," she yelled. Then brad was engulfed with more well wishers.
The glow of winning had all but faded by the time Brad climbed into his rebuilt Dodge Charger. He and Tony had rebuilt the Charger before he'd left for Iraq, and Tony had taken care of it while he was gone. Tony had stopped coming to the races after Sean got killed, and Brad suspected Sean's death was the reason.
Brad guided the car down Alameda Avenue to La Brea, there he turned on his right turn signal, then suddenly the car turned left, toward Tony and Clair's place. What the hell?, he thought.