Since World War II the American automobile industry has looked on racing as alluring but loaded with danger—alluring because it conferred glamour on a company's ordinary passenger cars, risky because some Congressmen loudly (and, in our opinion, fallaciously) declared it incompatible with highway safety. Before 1957, a number of automakers openly, albeit nervously, supported stock car racing teams. But that year, fearful of Congress, the manufacturers jointly withdrew from overt speed competition. To dabble in racing under heavy camouflage, however, was irresistible. Last week Henry Ford II struck a welcome blow at undercover racing by declaring the Ford Motor Company out of the 1957 pact, which he said no longer had either purpose or effect. He pointed to a general industry record of more, rather than less, emphasis on "speed, horsepower and racing," and said he felt his company could better establish its "own standards of conduct." Mighty General Motors stood pat. ("Ford's crazy to start this thing again," said one GM man.) Chrysler, smallest of the Big Three, followed Ford out.
The Ford decision was widely judged as meaning that the big Dearborn firm would now launch a bold new racing program. Ford himself said, "We like to have our cars win races." But he said nothing else really specific and may by no means have a racing commitment in mind at this time.
Insiders know that John Holman and Ralph Moody, operating from Charlotte, N.C., have long constituted an unofficial Ford racing team. They build and manage stock cars, one of which recently won the important Atlanta "500." Aggressive, successful Pontiac has an arrangement with Indiana Mechanic-Builder Ray Nichels, Chevy with the former Indianapolis "500" winner Jim Rathmann, Plymouth with Drivers Lee and Dick Petty.
John Holman, who bossed no fewer than eight "factory" Fords per race in the hectic prepact days, said he foresaw no return to the mass-entry era. He believes that "two strong cars" are sufficient for a given race.
As it happens, Holman and Moody were already building a sports-touring Ford even before Mr. Ford spoke out. It is called the Challenger III and is based on the Falcon chassis. It might conceivably take on the world champion Ferrari Grand Touring cars next year at Sebring and Le Mans. We hope it does, with Ford banners flying in the pits for all to see.
The Peewee League baseball game at Artesia, New Mexico was called off the other night after two innings. The adult officials were tired and the 7-year-olds were tired, too. Final score: Pirates 43, Dodgers 22.
SHREWD PREP FOR KELSO
On July 4, Kelso, generally regarded as the best Thoroughbred in the world, will try to become the second horse in 75 years to win two consecutive runnings of the Suburban Handicap. In order to win, though, Kelso must be fit enough to beat Carry Back.
Three weeks ago the two met in the Metropolitan Handicap. Carry Back beat Kelso by eight big lengths. Many observers thought Kelso, away from racing for seven months, had been in need of a preparatory race before the Metropolitan, where he showed that he did not have his mind on his business.
No fault of Kelso's trainer, 46-year-old Carl Hanford, however. Hanford had sought a prep race for Kelso before the Metropolitan but every time he tried to start his horse, trainers with possible opponents simply refused to race theirs against him.
Last week Hanford, convinced that Kelso needed a prep race before starting in the Suburban, found a way to reverse the situation. Studying the condition book at New York's Belmont Park, he lit on a race for horses which had "not won three races of $2,925 at a mile or over since Sept. 24." Although Kelso had won $425,565 in 1961, he had won only two races at a mile or over since Sept. 24—the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Woodward Stakes, two of racing's premier events. The conditions further stated that if a horse had not won "two races of $3,575 at a mile or over since Oct. 28" he would have to carry only 117 pounds. This time Hanford waited and let the other trainers enter their horses first. "When we saw Kelso's name," said the New York Racing Association's racing secretary, Tommy Trotter, "we got a huge surprise."
Running with only 117 pounds against feeble opposition, Kelso galloped home and established clearly that he was back in good form. Come July 4 Carry Back had better be ready. This time Kelso is prepped.
A VOTE FOR BLOOD
By his own account John Douglas Pringle is a typical British intellectual—tall, thin, slightly stooped and a liberal in politics: he is against Suez, flogging, hanging, Sir Roy Welensky and being beastly to homosexuals. But Pringle, poor chap, suffers from one inconsistency, or at least from something his liberal friends consider an inconsistency. He goes in for a bit of blood sports (otter hounds and that sort of thing.)
To answer his critics he resorted to the literary magazine Encounter, in which he suggests that the cruelty involved in hunting and fishing is insignificant when compared with, say, the slaughterhouse. "You can't honestly maintain," he maintains, "that hunting men are normally more cruel than nonhunting men. They may be more stupid but not more cruel." He argues that those who vent their innate cruelty ("we all have some") by hunting are less likely to vent it on human beings.
Pringle admits that "the actual kill—the worry of the fox by the hounds or the gaffing of the salmon—is actually distasteful," that on the rare occasions he is there for the kill he watches with "fascinated horror" or, hypocritically, looks away. "But the chase—there you have me. When I hear the cry of the hounds or the slightly comic sound of the horn, I can't resist. Adrenalin is pumped into my bloodstream; I feel 10—well, five—years younger; I even forget my hernia and go leaping over the stubble. What's more I actively want the hounds to catch and kill the hare."
To appalled friends who exclaim, "But that's absolutely primitive!" Pringle replies, "I'm afraid I like feeling primitive now and then."
ONE FISH'S POISON
A selective poison which kills only the sea lamprey but no other fish (SI, June 25, 1956) seems to be winning the fight against the lamprey, which destroyed all the trout in Lake Huron, almost all the trout in Lake Michigan and depleted the trout in other lakes. Traps caught 28,981 of the eellike lampreys up to June 1, 1961 but only 3,630 up to June 1, 1962. The oldtime sport of lake trout fishing in the Great Lakes area may now come back.
UNCLE JOHN'S WAY
The fellow who hunts the African elephant ordinarily goes on safari complete with white hunter (to peer over his shoulder as he shoots) and a numerous troupe of gun bearers and servants. His rifle will likely be a Weatherby or a double-barreled Holland & Holland. He will tote movie and still cameras and assortments of color and black-and-white film. When he gets home he will write a book about it (illustrated with his own photographs) and have it privately printed for distribution to friends and the local library. "The elephant turned," it will read, "his great ears bellying out from his shoulders...I knew this was the moment...." He will have an umbrella stand made of an elephant leg.
A quite different fellow is Uncle John Buhmiller of Kalispell, Montana, who took off the other day for his sixth African expedition since 1955. On his five previous trips to Tanganyika, Uncle John killed 164 elephants. He is 69 years old. His rifle is homemade, but it is one of the very best. For years sharpshooters and hunters have considered barrels made by Uncle John Buhmiller to be among the sport's finest.
His first African trip was the usual safari but Uncle John didn't like being shepherded about, and so, instead of going with the white hunter, he used up his two-elephant permit to help out a farmer who complained that elephants were wrecking his fences and ravaging his crops. Impressed, the Tanganyika game department turned over to Uncle John (that's what they came to call him in Africa as well as in Montana) the job of thinning out a herd of about 12,000 elephants in the area because their game wardens couldn't cope with the task. Now he stays at farmhouses and goes out with a farmhand or two who scramble up, trees whenever they sight an elephant. Uncle John just stands there and shoots the elephant (or rhinoceros or buffalo). No one peeks over his shoulder. It's just like hunting back home in Montana.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Ultimate ambition of Robert Hayes, Florida A&M junior who tied Villanovan Frank Budd's 9.2-second world record for the 100-yard dash, is a pro football career. He will be a regular halfback this fall for A&M. Before turning pro, Hayes hopes to make the 1964 Olympic team.
•Fighting to keep the Athletics in Kansas City, Kansas Senator James Pearson will ask the Senate if moving the team for business reasons would not make baseball a business rather than a sport.
THE GROWLING LARKS
"Gardez le yo-yo!" dit l'entra√Æneur, and the defensive halfback moved two steps to guard against a pass in his zone by a receiver who might dash far forward and then snap back like a yo-yo. Fortunately for the halfback, le bloqueur missed his blocage and l'arri√®re-quart (the quarterback, you know) was knocked on his derri√®re. So no yo-yo arrived in the territory of the defensive tertiaire.
"I've got to learn French," said Perry Moss, who, after a career in American colleges, has been coaching the professional Montreal Alouettes. Last week Moss welcomed American and Canadian football coaches to the Alouettes' third annual football clinic. The clinic is designed in part to interest Montreal's hockey-pixillated Frenchmen in football (Montreal is 80% French) and to persuade U.S. coaches to recruit and develop players for the Alouettes, especially—for box office—players who are native Canadians.
"If you can get Canadians who have played four years of American college football," Moss explained, "you're way ahead of the game."
Because some coaches at the clinic spoke only French and most instructors spoke only English, a United Nations system of translation was set up; each French-speaking coach heard through a transistor receiver what, for instance, Minnesota Coach Murray Warmath, originally from Tennessee, was saying in southern-fried English. Or something a little bit like what he was saying.
What they saw was clear enough. They saw young Canadians playing with an enthusiasm that World War I correspondents learned to describe as "typical French √®lan." Two fights—not tolerated in the Canadian Football League—broke out on the field.
"You have to understand the French temperament," said Angus MacFarlane, a Scot. His Mount Allison University team is one of the best in Canada. Fluently bilingual, he was the only lecturer whose talk was given in French. "If you handle a French player properly he will die for you. My players have reached the point where they are so vicious that they growl when they hit a blocking dummy. Not because I say 'Growl!' No. Because they feel like growling."
So Perry Moss's problem is to teach the Alouettes ("larks" in English) to growl.
THEY SAID IT
•Richie Ashburn, Mets' outfielder, after hand-fighting Texas mosquitoes: "Houston is the only city in the country where women wear insect repellent instead of perfume."
•Frank Thomas, Mets' outfielder, same topic: "I hit two balls and killed three mosquitoes."
•Tommy Bolt, pro golfer, on the horrors of Oakmont: "I was buried in a trap so deep you could have thrown a little dirt and covered me up."
•Tex Schramm, Dallas Cowboys' general manager, on George Halas' ability to sell tickets at Wrigley Field: "Halas will sell a ticket anywhere he can put a chair. Many's the time a player has come out of the game and found some guy in his seat—and usually the guy has a ticket stub for it."
•Designer Geoffrey Cornish, on his new par-3 golf layout at South Yarmouth, Massachusetts: "It has built-in deceit. Every hole lies to you."