As Monty Python once said: "It's not easy to pad these shows out to thirty minutes, you know." The same could be said of making a good Monday puzzle. But Mr. Gulczynski has done so today.
First of all, the theme. Even as I filled in the various answers, I had no idea what they had to do with each other. Then: the revealer. NONSTARTER. That's a nice twist. DEADBATTERY wins for most unexpected interpretation, but the other three are very nice as well. LASTLAP is the most ludicrous - by definition it is very far removed from the starting lap!
But there's a lot to like in the fill as well. 1A: Ten to one, for one (RATIO) is a nice math term, with a mildly challenging clue. I thought "odds" at first, although I think that would be written as "ten-to-one", right? In any case, I give it a B. My first confident answer was RPM.
OKCORRAL is a fun way to exit that claustrophobic NW corner. As I completed that area, I couldn't help but feel a slightly LIBERAL leaning subtext. Who's being CRUEL recently? And who is it many of us are hoping LOSES by getting fewer votes? Well, okay, perhaps it's more of a subtext in my own mind that's coloring how I interpret the answers...
ARTDECO and PAGEBOY felt fresh, TENAM and OXEYE less so. But any puzzle that ends with RYE is a winner for me. You know it's my drink of choice, and what I will be partaking of Wednesday at 9 PM, for certain.
P.S. Hah! In reading Mr. Gulczynski's blog, it turns out my political interpretation was completely on target!