Although the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has its usual contenders of Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Kyle Busch mixing it up for wins and points, there's been a particular rookie hailing from Hill Valley, Calif. who has caused quite a stir in the 2009 season.
That racing sensation is 40-year-old Marty McFly, known by his competitors as an eccentric, vest-clad "man boy" has been tearing it up on the tracks of the Cup circuit like child's play.
Driving for team owner and crew chief Emmett "Doc" Brown, the dynamic duo have been the talk of the garage area in the motorsports world.
Leading the championship chase in a season that includes 11 victories, including a sweep at Daytona International Speedway, McFly has put on quite a timeless performance for the championship and quite the mark on the championship contenders.
Needing to just virtually start in the next three races, this team has broken every label and expectation that comes with being an upstart in the big leagues of stock car racing.
"I mean, wow!" said Jeff Gordon, wiping the sweat from his face. "Unbelievable! Just completely amazing what these two have done to our sport and the points standings."
Exasperated for answers about the remarkable freshman driver, Gordon added, "This kid, I mean, guy, has been killing us all season long, especially in the corners. I swear his car just flies through them like he's running out of time."
Also singing praises for the Californian was Ryan Newman, who goes by the moniker of "Rocketman."
Once holding the reputation as NASCAR's speed demon on Fridays, the 31-year-old South Bend, Ind. native has watched possible pole positions fall by the wayside, riding shotgun on the outside row of each race.
Said the driver of the No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automotive Chevrolet, "Geez, when I thought I was setting speed records, here comes this old guy who looks like he's 17 and (he) is just making us look dumb.
His car doesn't even look all that aerodynamic either!"
When asked about McFly's vehicle, the 1985 Delorean, Newman, smiling but kicking a Gatorade bottle near the garage area at Daytona, said, "Don't look at me! I swear that McFly is the mathematical genius, not me. So much for that degree at Purdue."
However, Tony Stewart was not surprised with McFly's potential and talent, having watched him compete and set track records in the National Hot Rod Association ranks.
"When this kid goes, just watch out," Smoke said following Saturday night's Coke Zero 400. "I knew going into the last restart that he was going to make his move and sure enough, I see this gray car passing me on the outside.
McFly's the real deal, and we best watch out for him. I just can't believe we pass by one of the most hideous looking cars of all-time, as if these dump trucks we have are any prettier."
Even NASCAR on TNT color commentator Kyle Petty was flabbergasted, going as far as as posting this question last weekend on his Twitter:
"Twitterville, don't these two bear a striking resemblence to actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd?"
McFly laughs off any praises that come his way, as well as any accusations about their performances and identities, realizing that life wasn't so easy for them a long time ago.
Once trying the rock music scene and attempting a professional skateboarding career, he realized his options were limited as he was reaching his mid-life crisis.
Finding limited success in the NHRA series, Brown realized that their best opportunity for fortune, fame, and "cash to finally sell flux capacitors," McFly and company set their eyes for NASCAR.
And since Daytona Speedweeks in February, the scientist and his prodigy have never looked back.
"I could sit here and just tell you it's me, or it's Doc, but man, it wasn't always like this," said the Golden State star while he sipped his can of Pepsi Free in the Daytona media center. "Going from a musician with fruitless results to a wannabe X-Gamer was a tough pill to swallow. Losing Biff Tannen, my PR guy, was a difficult deal.
He was driving to the race shop one day when he just wasn't paying attention to the road and crashed into a dump truck with cow manure.
Then losing mom, and especially with dad...it was him who told me that if I put my mind to it, I could accomplish just about anything."
Shedding some tears, McFly acknowledged that if wasn't for "that brilliant" Brown and his "babe-a-licious" wife Jennifer, "I'd keep on wishing it was 1985 all over again. Those were truly good times."
Crew chief and mentor Brown could not help but smile when asked about their successful title campaign.
"I owe this kid my life," said the ageless, 89-year-old genius and former Noble Peace Prize winner.
'"He's saved my life on countless occasions, whether it be from Libyans, my insanity, or a locomotive train. I even met my wife, Clara Clayton, thanks to my boy Marty!"
Brown found some grey areas, so to speak, with the NASCAR rulebook concerning the Car of Tomorrow bodies.
Competitors have complained all season about an antiquated and out-of-stock vehicle beating today's boxy machines from Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and Toyota.
Nevertheless, Sprint Cup officials have deemed the Delorean to be legal, even going as far as considering making the car's body becoming the standard template for future COT designs.
Even NASCAR's CEO and chariman Brian France had this to say in a press release on Monday:
"The design and intricacies of this DeLorean racing vehicle adhere to the strict regime of the rules, policies, and procedures in producing top-notch, quality racing for competitors and fans under all sections of the book.
Futhermore, the DeLorean has saved my ass and job from many of my genius moves since my earning of this position in 2003. We may not even need those other manufacturers after all."
When pressed about the car's successes on the track, "Doc" Brown said with a stern tone, "I could tell you. But then, I'd have to shoot you."
Shuddering at his remark, the eclectic scientist walked away and put on his bullet-proof vest.
While we may never know what serves as the catalysts to Brown and McFly's success, we can at least admire the accomplishments of this California pairing.
After all, how many rookies win multiple races with margin of victories measuring by laps, never mind, lead the points standings by thousands of points?
From the life preserver vest, the Ray-Ban wayfarers, to their fond of 1980s rock, they may not sport the flashy, 21st century looks and speak in modern day terms.
Perhaps McFly's favorite band, Huey Lewis and The News, puts their success best with these lyrics:
"Take me away, I don't mind,
but you better promise me,
we get back in time."
Based on their success this year, we may never find the right time to truly marvel and digest what this pairing will accomplish next on and off-the-track.
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