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'The Amazing Race' recap: Brought to you by Ford

November 28, 2011 |  8:44 am


It was about the 400,000th time someone said "Ford" or "Ford Mustang" on Sunday's episode of "The Amazing Race" that I started to wonder, hmmm, could Ford be a sponsor? And yes, the Ford test-track racing was topped off by the members of the winning team each getting a Ford Mustang. More than any of the contestants, the American carmaker grabbed the spotlight in this elimination round -- even though it took place in Belgium.

Five teams are still competing: Amani and Marcus begin in first place, after checking in with Phil and learning that they'd get no rest. They get lost on the way to the Ford Proving Grounds, so Ernie and Cindy are the first to learn they have to drive 100 mph, execute a slalom and stop perfectly, then do victory doughnuts. Ernie struggles to complete the slalom in the allotted time.

Jeremy and Sandy catch up, with Jeremy waiting for Ernie to try the slalom again. Ernie finally gets it, so Jeremy -- who is having a blast -- doesn't pass him. Andy and Tommy arrive, and while Tommy is on the track, Marcus suits up. Bill and Cathi are the last to get to the track.

Andy admits that he really loves cars, almost more than snowboarding, and he's got jealousy in his heart because he let Tommy do this task. After Tommy struggled with reciting the poem in the last leg, they decided that Andy will do "the mind stuff," he says, which means that Tommy gets to wheel around the track with a huge grin on his face while Andy simmers on the sidelines. "I had to ask for forgiveness through Christ, and Christ just lifted it from me," he says. With a little help from Ford.

After driving those Ford Mustangs, the teams must first either build a waffle stand, make Belgian waffles and put them on display, or build a raft out of barrels and logs and paddle it up a canal to retrieve two clues. Ernie and Cindy aren't the fastest at assembling their stand -- the taller Jeremy and Sandy get put theirs up more quickly -- but they're good at detail, and when they make the waffles they get the display completed right away. Jeremy and Sandy can't seem to get the waffles right, trying again and again, not understanding what they've got wrong. They convince the late-arriving Bill and Cathi that making waffles is hard, and they should do the raft instead.

Andy and Tommy get their raft task done quickly. Marcus and Amani are slower putting theirs together, and when they do, Marcus is so big that Amani can barely reach the water.

Ernie and Cindy depart the waffle/raft task in the lead, making them the first to head off to the next challenge: They must release a fleet of pigeons, drive to the pigeon destination and get a message from the leg of a pigeon. Amani and Marcus and Jeremy and Sandy arrive at the pigeon departure site at the same time. With all this driving, there are plenty of opportunities to get lost. When Ernie and Cindy do, there are anxious comments from Cindy in the back seat intercut with angry-eyed non-responses from Ernie at the wheel. Amani and Marcus also get lost. So do Bill and Cathi.

Andy and Tommy are the first to find their pigeon at its destination and see a picture of this. When Jeremy gets the clue, he immediately says, "We saw that in Brussels." Andy and Tommy ask some kids hanging out by a church, who tell them it's the Atomium. The Atomic-era sculpture was built for the 1958 World's Fair and was so neat-looking that it was never taken down.

Check-in is at the Atomium: That's where Andy and Tommy, first again, learn that they'll each get a Ford Mustang for winning this leg. See, Andy, no need to be jealous of Tommy's chance to drive earlier: you're getting a Mustang of your very own. Jeremy and Sandy are second, Ernie and Cindy third, and Amani and Marcus fourth.

Oldsters Bill and Cathi are last. No surprise, as the darkening day showed that they were a ways behind the other teams. They are eliminated, but they ran a pretty good race, and were nice to each other along the way.


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— Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Contestants Bill and Cathi at the Ford Proving Ground. Credit: CBS