"Oh yeah, we'll gel to El Chinero all right. Danny can fix the brakes there."
(The crews stayed one step ahead of the racers by traveling between the pit stops via the highway, which was possible because the course conveniently snaked back and forth across the pavement in miles-long arcs.)
The pickup began dropping out of the pines into a valley, along a steep, narrow, downhill trail of jagged rocks, some as big as breadboxes. As the truck stumbled on fading front brakes to the bottom, the codriver looked over, saw Evans driving left-handed and wondered why he didn't stop flapping his free right hand and cover his eyes with it.
In the valley the trail smoothed and spread into a small dry lake bed, where the truck accelerated to about 120 mph. Suddenly Evans pressed the brake pedal down hard. Metal clanked against metal as the pedal hit the floorboard. The truck slowed to about 80 mph. The codriver looked at Evans; Evans shrugged.
They approached two buggies in the lake bed. Just as one buggy pulled out to pass the other, Evans squirted between them and passed them both, laughing, "Ha! No brakes, and I still passed them!"
"You didn't pass them with the brakes, you passed them with the gas!" shouted the codriver over the roar.
"Yeah, boy," said Evans, still laughing. "The gas!"
When the lake bed ran out, Evans announced, "There's a shortcut up ahead in a sand wash." But he headed into the wrong wash—they all look alike anyhow, thought the codriver, who had been of no help in spotting the shortcut: seen one sand wash you seen them all—and they were being led away from the course. Off-road racers would rather get out and push than backtrack, so Evans slowly cut across the middle of the desert, dodging boulders and cacti and sand traps at 10 mph, not knowing exactly where the course was but hoping to meet it at the pass. When they finally discovered the trail again, Evans began attacking the road; he was mad at himself for missing the shortcut and was driving improvidently.
"Hey! Don't get carried away!" admonished the codriver. "Forget the mistake!"
That reminder was all it took. Evans replied, "O.K.," irritably, then paused, thought about it and nodded his head in agreement. A minute later he was back into his rhythm. "Alllreihttt!" he yelled.