Checkered Flag

Rodney Jones left this town while he could still buy the gas
Told the factory boys out on the state route they could kiss his ass
Didn’t know where he was going, but he was damn sure travelin’ fast
Figured out that stayin’ here, there’s no way he would last

Rodney had ambition, but not a lot of social grace
He could see the future clearly, but not the nose upon his face
Thought the only key to winning was just showin’ for the race
Never thought of consequences, never thought of second place.

All he ever wanted was a straight road and the fuel
All he ever recognized was overheat and cool
All he ever studied was the way to break the rules
Rodney Jones, he never played the fool.

Rodney hit the circuit in his homemade muscle car
Talked his way onto the track by starting in the bar
Didn’t know which road he’d taken, but he knew he’d traveled far
Figured it was gonna happen, he was gonna be a star.

Rodney lost a tire on the second straightaway
Lost control for the first time, and saw the wall give way
Says he don’t remember much, but his eyes they seem to say
“Don’t tell anyone I couldn’t handle it that day.”

All he ever wanted was a waving checkered flag
All he ever recognized was pressure and the drag
All he ever studied was the polish and the rag
Rodney Jones thought it was in the bag.

Rodney Jones came home today in a big motorcade
Everybody’s talking about him, and the splash he made
Never knew the dice were loaded, or the game it was he played
Now he’s lying ‘neath a yellow flag and marble, in the shade.

All he ever wanted was an engine and the tools
All he ever recognized was gamblers and the mules
All he ever studied was the gauges and the fuel
Rodney Jones, he never played the fool.

Summer 1998

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