Vampire Bat Takes the Checkered Flag
Dateline: Indianapolis, Indiana — May 29, 2011: This year, for the very first time ever, ‘The Most Important Auto Race in History’ has been won by a non-human mammal! Here we see the cagy little vampire bat in The International Red Cross Blood Bank Car #4 as he took the checkered flag in this afternoon’s exciting running of the famed Indy 500.
Driving a normally aspirated spec Dallara IR-05 with a Honda Indy V-8, this winged creature really flew around the turns of the final dozen or so laps, to steal, and then secure, the lead. Once at the front of the pack, he used his unerring echolocation to find and hold the final stretch. Using his unfurled wings for additional braking past the Finish Line, the rookie driver then happily took his winning vehicle on a luxuriant victory lap, baring his fangs to the teeming crowd of over 400,000 cheering (though dumfounded) race fans as he went.
There are some in the sports media who are already crowing, “Foul!’, asserting that only the species of homo sapiens should be eligible as racing team drivers for this red-blooded All-American event. Believing the presence of a vampire bat to be just the very lip of a slippery non-humanoid slope — “What’s next? Roach pit crews? Armadillo announcers? A beer guy that’s really a grizzly? Hot chicks that are just . . . well, chicks!?” — they tried to organize a movement early in the qualifying rounds to ban the bat. There were others, however, who felt that once Danica Patrick had made it onto the oval, all the barriers had come down, anyway.
Today’s winning driver is Jerry, the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat (or, more formally, Jerald, the Diphylla ecaudata), from the Sonoran Desert of Mexico. Rumor has it that Jerry’s hairy legs are quite the hit with the ladies of his cave — all 18,714 of them! So I guess you could say that this is one bat that never strikes out on a Saturday night! After just a few rounds of Bloody Marys, Jerry’s likely to head off to one of the deeper, darker niches of the cave for some upside-down canoodling.
Jerry had been aided in his quest to become the first flying mammalian winner of the Indy 500 by the highly specialized thermoreceptors residing in the tip of his bat nose. Under normal circumstances, those would just be used during his nighttime forays, to literally ‘sniff out’ the warmest-blooded areas of prey for him to siphon a filling snack. But after a few months in driving school, Jerry found that these sensitive organelles were also remarkably adept at picking up the heat trail left behind by a full-bore race car engine at high throttle. By simply following his nose, Jerry realized he could draft behind the fastest lead cars the entire race, just waiting for his chance to squirt around and leap ahead.
Jerry was also supported in his efforts today by his lightning quick (and surprisingly strong) pit crew of former circus fleas. Though it takes 152 of them to hoist a single racing slick, it’s truly amazing how quickly and efficiently they can do so.
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