Miss Barbara Stanwyck portrays an aggressive news reporter named Regina Forbes. She has a huge following across the country that reaches 40 million readers of her newspaper column. She is powerful and is not afraid to seek the truth with her written exposé’s. At the moment, Regina is attacking a popular senator who may be practicing fraud. Her next job is to write a personality article on a promising race-car driver named Mike Brannan (Clark Cable).
Brannan is a loner with a rugged forceful presence and knows a lot about car racing. He is a wild and dangerous driver who is hated by racing fans. Regina goes to a famous “midget” racetrack to watch Brannan drive. There is an exciting race between the top drivers and one of them is killed by accident. Everybody believes Brannan caused the accident to win that race. Regina knows nothing about car racing and the danger it involves. So, she thinks Brannan committed out and out murder.
She writes an article on Brannan accusing him of selfish homicide. It is a sensational news item across the country and it influences racetrack owners to blackball Brannan. Track after track bars him from racing and he is forced to sell his car to survive. He hits bottom and is found later as a “thrill” seeking circus driver. Regina loves it because she thought he needed to be brought down a peg or two. She is intrigued by him though and decides to visit him.
Brannan is a complete daredevil and does his job well. His plan is to raise money to join the next level of car racing. He is surprised by the visit from Regina who quietly laughs at him. He believes her just to be another cheap “dame” and treats her like one. He warns her not to write another scathing article on him as he begins to race with the “big cars.” She smirks at him and he instantly slaps her across the face. He then aggressively grabs her and kisses her.
Regina has found a man that isn’t afraid of her. The unbelief is written on her face as she smiles while rubbing her cheek. Brannan in return likes her too as he rubs off her lipstick from his mouth. She expected him to be a man who abuses women to get what he wants. He believes it to be justified for the lies she printed about him that ruined his career. Two powerful people have found each other and their egos collide. They are immensely attracted to each other.
Brannan has found a car owner who accepts him as his new driver. They go to the next “big car” race competition and Regina quietly follows him. Brannan is back on the circuit winning races with bigger money. He meets Regina at a fancy restaurant and their chemistry is exciting. They both have fallen in love. Brannan has one goal though and it is to drive fast cars in competition. No one can stop him either. She is afraid of that because of the danger involved. He could get hurt or die.
Regina throws caution to the wind and calls him. He surprises her by coming up to her apartment. They talk, kiss and banter back and forth. He wants her to make a commitment to him. She receives a phone call about the senator with whom she has been attacking in her column. He has committed suicide and she thinks it is because of her. Brannan tells it isn’t her fault and they argue over how far people will go to perform their jobs.
Brannan leaves her and ends their relationship because Regina doesn’t understand why he is willing to be so dangerous. He has qualified for the Indianapolis 500 and the exciting race competition begins. Will Brannan win the big race? Will Regina accept him for who he is and support him?