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Although American Peter Wells, a former ace racing-car driver, has lost his nerve and is no longer winning races for the Corsi team, he is determined to win a major British race. Fellow team driver and friend "Picc" Dallapiccola tells Peter that he fails because he is afraid of being killed, then says that he intends to ask Tony Bellario, the team's manager, to drop him. Pat, Peter's wife, also wants him to stop racing. The race begins and by lap seventeen Picc is leading with Peter in sixth place. By lap twenty-four, Peter, who a number of years earlier had won this same race, passes Picc and leads the field for the first time in two years. With twenty laps to go, Picc crashes. After Peter goes into the pits for refueling and is told that Picc is not expected to live, he abandons the race, goes to the hospital and comforts Picc as he dies. Guido Rizetti, Peter's team rival, wins the race and later becomes team leader. Although Pat threatens to leave Peter if he does not quit racing, he feels that he must continue and begs Bellario to give him another chance in a major race at Piemonte, Italy. Pat goes to see Bellario and tells him that she and Peter have separated and pleads with him not to let him race, but Bellario refuses. The race starts badly for Peter and he is lying in eleventh place. By lap seventeen he is in sixth place but smoke is coming through the cockpit's floor. Rizetti pushes his car too hard and it breaks down, eliminating him from the race. At a pit stop, Peter's crew discovers an oil leak but he refuses to quit and resumes the race. By the twenty-second lap, although the smoke is worsening, Peter is in third place. Pat comes to the pits to encourage Peter and he is told that she is there. With five laps to the finish, Peter is in second place but his windscreen and goggles are splattered with oil. After he moves into first place he runs out of oil and is forced into the pits where more oil is added. Although Bellario realizes that the situation is very dangerous and tries to stop Peter, he rejoins the race having lost most of his lead time. The race ends in almost a photo-finish with Peter narrowly winning. The Corsi team celebrates and anticipates many future wins, but Peter, having regained his self-respect, decides to quit and reunites with Pat.