Niki Lauda was trapped and almost killed in the car engulfed by smoke and fire. Six weeks later he donned a flameproof mask (inset) and raced again.
Unlike Lauda, whose comeback did not prevent him from losing his world driving title to James Hunt, other sportsmen tried mightily and did win big championships and major events. Unfortunately, many of their victories—bowler Earl Anthony's triumphs on the PBA tour, for example—went almost unnoticed, because the sports they participate in do not attract headlines. But as in the case of the caddie who closes this section, they more than pulled their weight during a grand year in sports.
Anthony became the first bowler to roll up more than $110,000.
Rocky Aoki finished A-OK in the Bushmills offshore race.
No hydro tyro, Bill Muncey won a record fifth national title.
Because of rain, Johnny Rutherford won the Indy 255, not the 500.
Scoring champion Mike French gunned Cornell to the NCAA lacrosse crown.
Texas Dolly Brunson was the big hitter at the poker World Series.
Gary Scott was No. 1 until 19-year-old Jay Springsteen beat him.
Bill Rodgers beat a field of 2,000 in the New York City Marathon, which started on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and spanned the Big Apple's five boroughs.