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business success were starting to come in. A big break had come two weeks ago after the Dunham race, where the team scored its fourth first-place finish. Goodstone Tire had finally decided Carter Racing deserved its sponsorship at Pocono—worth a much needed $40,000—and was considering a full season contract for next year if the team's car finished in the top five in this race. The Goodstone sponsorship was $2 million a year, plus incentives. John and Fred had gotten a favorable response from Goodstone's Racing Program Director last week when they presented their plans for next season, but it was clear that his support depended on the visibility they generated in this race. "John, we only have another hour to decide," Fred said over the phone. “At the end of the Dunham race, we were $80,000 in the hole. Since Dunham, we got $40,000 from Goodstone and paid the $30,000 Pocono entry fee. If we withdraw now, we can get back half the $30,000 entry fee, but we will lose Goodstone and they'll want $25,000 of their money back, still leaving us $80,000 in the hole. If we run and finish in the top five, we have Goodstone in our pocket and can add another car next season. You know as well as I do, however, that if we run and lose another engine, we are back at square one next season. We will lose the tire sponsorship, and a blown engine is going to lose us the new $800,000 oil contract for sure. No oil company wants a national TV audience to see a smoker being dragged off the track with their name plastered all over it. The oil sponsorship is $800,000 that we cannot live without if we are to race next season. Think about it—call Paul and Tom if you want—but I need a decision in an hour.” John hung up the phone and looked out the window at the crisp, fall sky.