At about 4 p.m. on Labor Day Junior Johnson of Ronda, N.C. was declared winner of the Southern 500 stock car race at the Darlington International Raceway in Darlington, S.C. He received the adulation of 70,000 spectators, the attention of the press, and the spurious kisses of two beautiful models, kept on hand for just such winner-smooching.
Six and a half hours later a recheck of scoring cards showed that Larry Frank of Greenville, S.C. had been deprived of one lap in the scoring and was the actual winner. Meantime the crowd had departed for home filled with happy talk of Johnson and morning newspapers-had gone to press reporting a Johnson victory.
It was no isolated snafu in stock car racing. Glenn Wood has twice taken the checkered flag at Martinsville, Va., and still has to be credited with an official victory. Rex White was flagged the winner in the 1960 Southern 500 at Darlington, but the official decision went later to Buck Baker. David Pearson was thought to be the winner of the rain-shortened Atlanta 500 last June. His actual place was seventh. And so on.
September 16, 1962
Such judging delays used to be even more common when car inspection, to check on rule violations, was conducted after the races. Now the cars are inspected and sealed before the races. But even so, scoring the races, in which 30 or 40 cars may be entered, with laps of each to be counted and clocked, and pit stops noted, remains a most complex business.
We feel that a country that could develop the automatic pinsetter for bowling ought to be able to come up with a quick, reliable scoring system for stock car racing. As a matter of fact, bowling has just now developed a transistorized computer that automatically records individual or team scores, gives each player a printed record and projects the scoring on an overhead screen. It is called Score-O-Matic and is a product of the Brite-Lite Corporation of America. We congratulate the inventors and suggest they next shine their light on the problems of stock car racing.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Cynics who question whether famous athletes read—let alone write—the stories under their bylines, should know the facts about the story by Floyd Patterson on page 18. The heavyweight champion delivered the words in tape-recorded interviews with his biographer, Milton Gross of the New York Post. Gross transferred the words to a typewriter, organized them, and delivered the manuscript to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. The editors made some revisions in the text, which was then rechecked with Patterson—in a curious way. To avoid distractions Floyd does not have a telephone at his training camp. Once a day he calls New York from a pay telephone booth and transacts business with his lawyer. On one of these calls the revised text was read to Patterson and he suggested many changes. (Floyd currently is a serious language and grammar student, with a creditable preference for "thats" over "whiches," and an appreciation of the maligned comma.) The result is Floyd Patterson's forecast of the fight in Floyd Patterson's words—and punctuation.
NOTE FROM THE ORIENT
To Americans who plan to attend the 1964 Olympics, we commend the following program note from a Japanese postcard, recently received and purporting to illuminate for Western visitors the inner essence of sumo, as we spell it, or sumo, as the Japanese seem to spell it. It reads:
SUMOH: TRADITIONAL SPORT IN JAPAN SUMOH is a match of strength in Japan. Two naked athletes empty-handed with only MAWASHI on game in a circle of 15 ft. diameter called DOHYO-BA and the fight finishes by throwing down a rival on the place or putting out from. The other nations had a same kind of games, but SUMOH in JAPAN has developed like now from the keynote of the sitting life of Japanese, and the athletes with peculiar strong legs and the lions of sitting race have brought forth several techniques and refined them. Consequently the sport called SUMOH, had been loved with public like now, is accomplished.
TALE OF TWO TUBS
Had he gone to Moscow to visit with Premier Khrushchev in 1960, President Eisenhower would have presented Khrushchev with a new jet-propelled boat, complete with a plaque inscribed "To Nikita Khrushchev from Dwight D. Eisenhower." The boat got to Moscow all right but, because of the U-2 incident, the President did not. Nikita blew his top, and the Russians wouldn't even let U.S. embassy personnel use the boat for their own pleasure. It was shipped back to its Indianapolis manufacturer.
At about that time Emperor Haile Selassie gave permission for establishment of missions in Ethiopia's remote interior, in a region that can be reached only by boat, 800 miles up the Gila River where, in the dry season, the river is only inches deep and a very shallow-draft vessel is needed. To the Rev. R. Byron Crozier, a former Marine paratrooper now in the Presbyterian ministry at West Allis, Wis., there was a simple solution. His congregation raised the $5,000 necessary to buy the boat that once was intended for Khrushchev's pleasure. It is now at work in the Ethiopian missions.
This was not the Rev. Crozier's first experience with problems involving presidents and boats. Serving as pharmacist's mate with a Marine battalion on Choiseul in the Solomon Islands, he and two other men went out on a landing craft to rescue a company that had been cut off. They picked up the lost men, but a coral reef ripped open the bottom of their landing craft. A PT boat came alongside and took the rescuers aboard.
The PT skipper: John F. Kennedy.
THE INSIDE TRACK
•Despite Big Four edicts, and excitement following last year's basketball scandals in North Carolina colleges and the resultant regulations limiting teams to 16 games, the heat is oil'. North Carolina State has scheduled 19 games for the 1962-63 season and the banned "Dixie Classic" is expected to return within another season.
•The Montreal Alouettes signed Sandy Stephens by promising him he could play quarterback, then were disappointed in his passing. But, since he is a good runner, the Alouettes kept their word by putting both Stephens and Sam Francis under center, then ordering Stephens to step back a few feet halfway through the cadence count, which makes him a fullback.
•Latest cuts and trades leave the Minnesota Vikings with only seven of the 36 players they originally acquired by draft from other NFL clubs for the 1961 season. For these 36, supposed to form the hard core of the club, the Vikings paid $600,000.
•A long term on NCAA probation did not put much of a crimp in Auburn's football finances. A new $600,000 dormitory for athletes has just been completed.
Advice to football fans from a noted Georgia physician who specializes in athletic injuries and has done extensive research on team conditioning:
When fresh troops are called in to halt the advance of an offensive team, expect no miracle on the first play. "You will find, under normal circumstances," says Dr. Jack C. Hughston. "that a fresh group of reinforcements isn't quite alert to combat. It will take a play for them to get their adrenalin up to cope with their opponents."
CALL FOR A CLINIC
Death is a concomitant of almost all sports, some more than others, but it occurs with special poignancy when, by foresight, it could have been detained. Now, after the death of Mike Kelsey, 20-year-old Southern Methodist, football player, presumably due to heat exhaustion, and the prostration of nine players at other Texas colleges, coaches of the Southwest Conference have taken precautions that might be followed usefully in some form or other throughout the country, on high school fields as well as in college sport, in tennis as well as in football.
The day after Kelsey's funeral the SMU squad returned to practice. Some changes were made. Coach Hayden Fry cut down on drill time, ordered two rest periods per practice and tripled the amount of salt solution rationed to each player. At each of the two rest periods players now drink a cup of an iced, lime-flavored drink containing sodium chloride, calcium and other salts found in the human body.
At the University of Texas, Coach Darrell Royal gives squad members a water-and-salt break every 30 minutes instead of just one halfway through each two-hour session. Football players at Rice and Texas Tech now go swimming for a brief period after each practice.
What bothers us is that the techniques are so different, suggesting that there is a need for unanimity about how to protect athletes—the strongest men to be found in our population—against heat debilitation. Not negligence, but simple failure to understand the body's needs under conditions of heat and high humidity seems to have been responsible for the rash of prostrations. On the day of Kelsey's death the temperature was a mere 77°, but the humidity was 80%. Under such conditions the cooling effect of evaporation resulting from perspiration is negligible—but no one looking at a thermometer would have cause for concern.
With such an example before the sports world, negligence now must be suspected if more deaths occur. It would seem to be the obligation of every athletics director, coach and faculty administrator to get the best possible medical advice on the subject. We suggest that a clinic of coaches and medical specialists be convened now to seek an answer.
Professional golf's leading money loser for 1962 is a cheery little pro from London, one Mike Wolveridge, who has just completed the PGA tour in the U.S. and is now gone to try his luck in Australia and Japan. Almost everyone on a PGA tour makes a little something, but Mike astonished the bookkeepers by playing in 31 tournaments without winning a cent. A California sponsor made it possible.
Mike's last stop in this country was the Dallas Open and, appropriately, he not only didn't win anything, he lost a check for $200 when a photographer asked him to pose displaying empty pockets. The check blew away, and Mike didn't find it until he had finished his round, a crisp 79.
Mike entered the PGA tour more to learn than to win, he explained. The idea was to find out if a man his size (5 feet 4, 130 pounds) can be a top golfer, and to this end he has worked with Paul Runyan, who is also small.
"I've done the usual things, swinging a weighted baseball bat, isometric contractions and all that," he said. "It helped me gain distance. I'm learning a great deal. There's a lot to learn about golf in America because these chaps strike the ball so much better than anyone else."
He also discovered that there's a lot to learn about driving an automobile in America. He collected three speeding tickets and was out of pocket $900 after an accident caused by driving on the wrong (British) side of the road.
THEY SAID IT
•Australia's Percival Galea, a big bettor, after dropping $75.300 on the horses: "They are only getting some of their own money back. I've won about $450.000 recently."
•Golfer Don January, on the greens at the Dallas Open: "I didn't see any buffaloes out there—but I putted over a couple of their tracks."
•Johnny Sauer, Minnesota Vikings' spy, after watching mighty Green Bay: "How do you scout blocking and tackling?"
•Terry Downes, British boxer and hero-worshiper of Sugar Ray Robinson, whom he fights in London on Sept. 25: "Gee, I wish I could see you train."
•The Houston Colts' Johnny Temple, on why short men often make the best managers: "I had to hit-and-run, bunt, steal and all the other things a big man never had to bother with. That's why, I think, you'll find so many little men make good managers. They had to think to stay in the big leagues."