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Mad dog on the track

This monster is not—as it appears to be—a four-wheeled airplane gone wrong but a winged automobile gone right. So right, in fact, that last summer the Mad Dog IV set a new world closed-track record of 181.561 mph at Daytona Beach, Fla. "The whole secret is in the wings," says Bob Osiecki, the 40-year-old veteran of the racing business who worked and studied for years to perfect the monster. "I knew 180 could be equaled or bettered on the Daytona track, but it was no easy task. Finally I realized aerodynamic control was the correct answer."

The control was achieved largely by mounting an airplane's wings upside down on the car. Thus, instead of taking to the air, it dug its wheels firmly into the dirt to provide extra traction. When burly Driver Art Malone piloted Mad Dog to its record after endless trial and error, Builder Osiecki, who looks like a wrestler, kissed him unashamedly. "I knew we'd do it," he said, and he didn't even mind that the $10,000 prize he won was just $25,000 short of what it cost him.