PUTTING CART BEFORE THE SPORT
This is an article from the Feb. 26, 1979 issue
Few anti-Establishment uprisings have achieved more dramatic results than the one staged by the leading owners and drivers of Indianapolis-style cars. Unhappy with high costs and low purses, Dan Gurney, A. J. Foyt, Roger Penske and other luminaries last fall formed an organization called CART (an acronym for Championship Auto Racing Teams) and began pressuring the ruling United States Auto Club for reforms. USAC resisted at first, but then capitulated, introducing engine rule changes to reduce costs, offering owners a larger say in policymaking and promising to push for bigger purses. CART's founders could have returned to the fold claiming victory.
Instead, they are now bidding for outright control of the sport. On March 11. CART will launch its own tentative schedule of six events with a 150-mile race in Phoenix. USAC will begin its eight-race series with a 200-miler at Ontario, Calif. on March 25. Everybody choose sides, please; this is civil war.
The schism strains racing's already thin resources. Both CART and USAC will have trouble filling fields in their respective events. Uncertain about where the drivers will be, TV networks have been cutting back coverage. The only national deal is NBC's commitment to telecast a number of CART races. Meanwhile, USAC is having trouble renewing its network radio tieup. Sponsors are restive, too.
CART claims to have many of the big-name drivers, but its hopes for a quick knockout of USAC were probably dashed when founding father Foyt recently redefected to USAC. "CART's original goals have changed," Foyt explained. "The USAC board agreed to work with us. I didn't think the deal with CART was to conquer the world."
One of the few racing figures who have managed to stay more or less above the fray is Joe Cloutier, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Indy 500 remains a USAC event, but such is its prestige that the CART secessionists wouldn't dream of skipping it. Sounding a diplomatic note, Cloutier says of the CART-USAC split, "It's a thoroughly unfortunate circumstance. I'm not saying who is right and who is wrong. But it's too bad for racing."
WOODY GOES HOLLYWOOD
The night before Woody Hayes turned 66 on Valentine's Day, there was a party in his honor at Chasen's, a Hollywood restaurant popular with film folk. The bash was thrown by Koch-Kirkwood Productions, which wheeled out a huge birthday cake bedecked with fresh roses and announced to assembled reporters that it had acquired the movie and hardcover book rights to Woody's life story.
The men behind the deal, Howard Koch Jr. and Gene Kirkwood, are figures to be reckoned with in filmdom: Koch was an executive producer of Heaven Can Wait and Kirkwood held the same position on Rocky. They wouldn't disclose terms but said that the as-yet-untitled movie about Hayes would probably be released in 1981. "There is a lot more to this man than the small incidents that have been printed," Koch said. "We want to tell the whole story."
Hayes won't appear in the movie. "I'll work on the story and be a technical advisor on the football aspects," he said. "I'm no actor." Those mentioned as candidates to play Ohio State's defrocked coach include George C. Scott, Carroll O'Connor, Ernest Borgnine and Gene Hackman.
After losing to the Philadelphia 76ers 137-133 last Nov. 8, the New Jersey Nets protested to NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien that Bernard King and Coach Kevin Loughery had each been called for three technical fouls in violation of league rules, which specify that no more than two technicals be assessed against any one person in a game. Upholding the protest, O'Brien ordered the game replayed from the point at which King's third technical was called. Thus, on March 23 the game will be resumed with 17:50 to go and Philadelphia leading 84-81.
Two weeks ago an odd element was injected into the forthcoming replay when the Nets traded Eric Money and Al Skinner to the 76ers for Ralph Simpson and Harvey Catchings. Skinner didn't play on Nov. 8 but the other three did. Having changed sides, those three now stand to become the first NBA players ever to appear for both teams in the same game.
Some snow-clogged side streets remained all but impassable in Chicago last week, a full month after the big blizzards of '79. In view of that, Chicagoans might wish that the event scheduled for this weekend in tiny (pop. 1,800) Clayton, N.Y. could somehow be transplanted to their city. But Clayton wants to keep the International Snow Plowing Contest right where it is, thank you.
Co-sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and Frink Sno-Plows, Inc., the town's biggest employer, the plowing competition is open to two-man teams that test their speed and accuracy in clearing a 1,600-foot stretch of a local street. Before each run, graders and snowblowers pack the course with massive drifts, and pylons are strategically placed to simulate mailboxes, telephone poles and the like. Then off the contestants go, plowing through the slalomlike course. Last year's contest attracted 37 two-man entries. This year's is expected to draw 100 teams from as far away as Tennessee and Wisconsin.
There are no entries from Chicago.
GERTRUDE EDERLE WITH WINGS
Eighteen months ago a curious contraption called the Gossamer Condor became the first successful man-powered aircraft (SI, Aug. 1, 1977, et seq.). With a young man named Bryan Allen furiously pedaling to turn the prop, the craft completed a figure-eight one-mile course at Shafter, Calif. while maintaining an altitude of at least 10 feet at the start and finish, thus fulfilling conditions for a $95,000 prize offered by London's Royal Aeronautical Society. The money went to the plane's designer, a Pasadena, Calif. aeronautical engineer named Paul MacCready.
Now MacCready, 53, is going after the Royal Aeronautical Society's latest prize offer of ¬¨¬®¬¨¬£100,000—currently about $200,000—for the first manpowered aircraft to cross the English Channel. The Gossamer Condor is on permanent exhibit in the Smithsonian (cheek by fuselage with the Spirit of St. Louis), and MacCready has designed and built a new plane, the Gossamer Albatross, for the prospective 21-mile two-hour Channel crossing from Dover to Calais. He says the attempt will take place as early as mid-May and no later than August.
Allen, a 25-year-old hang-glider pilot and amateur cyclist, will be at the pedals this time, too. The Condor had a 96-foot wingspread and weighed 70 pounds. The Albatross' proportions are identical but, owing to the use of space-age materials, it is both lighter—by 15 pounds—and stronger. Allen was almost supine in the Condor; to better enable him to generate the additional power needed for the much longer Channel crossing, he will be in a virtually upright position in the Albatross.
MacCready says that, once in Dover, Allen will have to wait for a day when there are no head winds—indeed, no winds of any kind greater than six mph. And MacCready says that he is "running scared" lest somebody else beat him to the prize money.
BIG BROTHER, LITTLE SISTER
Eric and Beth Heiden, the speed-skating champions whose most recent triumphs are described on the next four pages, are scarcely the first successful brother-sister combination in sports. Others include basketball players Dave and Ann Meyers, he a Milwaukee Buck, she a four-time All-America at UCLA; Australians John and Ilsa Konrads, who both broke world swimming records in the late '50s; 1973 national figure-skating pairs champions Mark and Melissa Militano; Olympic distance runners Ron and Francie Larrieu; Olympic swimmers Jack and Shirley Babashoff; and tennis players Vitas and Ruta Gerulaitis.
Interestingly, in each of the above pairings, the brother is older. There are also brother-sister acts in which the sister is older, but in the most prominent of these, the siblings went into different sports. Like Billie Jean King and brother Randy Moffitt of the San Francisco Giants. Or Olympic hurdler Rosie Bonds and kid brother Bobby, now of the Cleveland Indians. Relatively few boys have achieved success in the same sport in which an older sister excels. Is it difficult following in Big Sister's footsteps? The experience of 17-year-old tennis player John Evert, who has grown up in the shadow of an accomplished older sister, would suggest as much. During John's matches needlers sometimes yell at him, "Hey, Chrissie. Hit some double faults, Chrissie."
Obviously, one should not be too quick to imply that an injured player is malingering, nor should players be discouraged from visiting doctors of their own choice. For violating these two precepts in the case of Doug Collins, the Philadelphia 76ers' ailing All-Star guard, team management was acting apologetic last week. As well it should.
Since mid-January Collins had been bothered by a bone spur on his left ankle. Both Dr. Michael Clancy, the 76er physician, and Dr. John W. Lachman, an orthopedist called in by Clancy, recommended rest, massage and whirlpool treatments but no surgery. Collins sat out several games but the ankle still hurt. He then decided to consult Dr. Joseph Torg, a former 76er team doctor with whom owner Fitz Dixon reportedly doesn't get along. According to Collins, Dixon let it be known that he disapproved of such a visit. Collins saw Torg anyway and was told that his ankle would heal properly only with surgery. Collins also saw Dr. Vincent DiStefano, the Philadelphia Eagles' physician, who concurred with Torg's opinion. Meanwhile, 76er general manager Pat Williams told a reporter, "He [Collins] does have a low pain threshold, no question. It's difficult for him to play hurt." Collins fumed, "I would never lay out a game if I could possibly play."
The 76ers finally sent Collins to Los Angeles to be examined by sports orthopedist Dr. Robert Kerlan—and, as one team official put it, "to break a two-two tie." Kerlan also recommended surgery and last week Torg operated on Collins for removal of a fractured bone spur. Collins may be out for the season. "There's a lot of pressure on this team to win," he said from his hospital bed. "I think professional teams operate on the idea of trying to get you back as soon as possible." Williams visited Collins and apologized for his offending remark. He also unwittingly indicted his own club—and other teams that are too eager to get injured stars back into the lineup.
"I admire Doug for taking the bull by the horns," Williams said. "He's the one who aggressively went off to get other opinions. It took courage on his part."
OUTMATCHED, BUT STILL GAME
Barbara Maltby, this country's top woman squash player, achieved something noteworthy last week at the U.S. championships in New York. No, Maltby didn't win the singles title; she lost in the finals at the Uptown Racquet Club to Heather McKay 15-7, 9-15, 15-8, 15-6. But what did anybody expect? The 37-year-old McKay, an Australian who lives in Toronto, has not lost a match since 1962, a 17-year streak that quite possibly makes her the most dominant figure in any sport.
By even taking a game, however, Maltby scored a moral victory. McKay had lost only four games in the last 14 years. "I made a lot of errors," the Australian said, explaining the relative closeness of her match with Maltby. "I just wasn't driving well."
THEY SAID IT
•Dick Elias, general manager of a lodge in Vail, Colo., bemoaning the shortage of help in Western ski resorts this season: "The kids just aren't dropping out like they used to."
•Lee Corso, Indiana football coach, who has eaten his share of chicken dinners on the post-season banquet circuit: "I no longer sleep. I roost."