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Deadly Driver


The layout of the circuit in Mexico City is unlike any other. It splits a grandstand full of spectators, allowing fans to look down into the cockpits of the Formula One drivers as they pass at speed between the two tall structures.

Bryce had demonstrated to the worldwide media, and millions of fans that watch race broadcasts around the globe, that the incident in Baja and the media frenzy that followed hadn’t distracted him. He’d won the pole at record-setting speed in his Werner Industries-sponsored yellow and red entry, powered by Mercedes Benz racing engines.

At the start of the race he’d taken the first corner in dramatic fashion, pushing past a rival who had tried a kamikaze dive to pass him into the first corner, only to lose control and spin off the course. Bryce went on to command a three-second lead and held the margin lap after lap. He was headed for his first victory in Mexico until things changed in the blink of an eye.

A routine pit stop for four fresh tires normally took 2.3 seconds. But a problem with a pneumatic wrench used to remove a single, high-tech lug nut delayed the stop until a back-up unit was thrown into service. The 4.5- second stop, which in F1 racing is an eternity, cost Bryce the lead and left him with a second place finish behind the man closest to him in the point championship, Tony Bishop from Vancouver, Canada.

This was the same Bishop he had come close to fighting with years before at a restaurant in Monterey, California. The same driver he had beaten by a mere 11 points to take his first F1 Championship. Someday, somewhere, the rivalry between the two was sure to boil over. With only three races left—America, Brazil and Abu Dhabi—every single point, finishing position, and fastest lap award, would now be more important than ever and the increased intensity was palpable.

Hours later, as Bryce watched the NFL highlights on ESPN in the Presidential Suite at the five-star St. Regis in downtown Mexico City, he stared at the second-place trophy he had been awarded earlier that afternoon. When ESPN began to roll the race report from the event, one that over forty- five million fans in that country alone had watched, Bryce clicked the off button on the remote and reached for another Heineken from the bar. It had been a long week and a long race, and he was beat. With F1’s plainclothes security stationed outside his door, Bryce called it a night. He fell asleep in the chair before taking another sip of his beer. Just past midnight, a loud knock at his door woke him.

“Bryce, it’s Jack – we need to talk.”

Bryce rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Madigan sounded as if he’d been drinking, and wondered to himself what the hell couldn’t wait until the morning. The two security staffers who had just come on shift looked to Bryce to make sure he was okay and the visitor was welcome. Madigan was still wearing an All Access Pass but it was late and he was drunk.

“Come on in,” Bryce said in a frustrated tone as he gestured for Madigan to enter.

With a nod and a smile, Bryce closed the door and followed Madigan from the marble foyer into the living room. When his guest turned to face him, his expression let Bryce know there was a big problem.

“What’s up Jack?”

Madigan turned away and took a seat on a white leather sofa and suggested Bryce might want to sit down as well.

“You should have told me what you had planned out in the desert, Bryce. You should have told me!”

Bryce was tired and was trying to clear his thoughts so he could understand what the problem really was. Whatever this is, it could have waited until morning, he thought.

“Joan and I were having an affair,” Madigan blurted out. “I was falling in love with her.”

Bryce was even more confused now and tilted his head to show it.

“Who the hell’s Joan?”

“Nitro, you dumb bastard. You killed Joan Myers. Not only that, you killed not one but two CIA agents.”