SI Vault
Edited by Jack McCallum and Richard O'Brien
May 20, 1996
Getting Back(s) Together
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May 20, 1996


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"The rivalry was beginning to shape up like a civil war, and neutrality was becoming increasingly difficult," wrote Hemingway, who was close to both principals, each of whom was gored twice that season. "It would have been tragic to miss it and it was tragic to watch it. But it was not a thing that you could miss."

In the end Ordóñez, in the eyes of both Hemingway and most fans, prevailed, and Dominguín retired not long after. He tried a comeback in the early 1970s, but his sun had already set. Still, Dominguín remained a model of the great, proud matador, something even Hemingway never denied. "I admired his grace and his facility," he wrote, "his wonderful legs, his reflexes, and his tremendous repertoire of passes and encyclopedic knowledge of bulls."

A Pox on Both Their Pits

SI's Ed Hint on reports from two speedways where the real battle wasn't between the cars.

Indianapolis was a relative ghost town last Saturday, and things were even less lively at Michigan International in Brooklyn, where the erstwhile stars of the Indy 500 had fled, whining, on orders of their team owners. None of this is surprising. Indy-car racing is speeding toward ruin as a result of a war between Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George, who is seeking to reestablish the Brickyard's sway over the sport, and a powerful alliance of Championship Auto Racing Team owners, led by Carl Haas and Roger Penske, which has controlled the sport in recent years.

At the fore of the Speedway's motley field were three loyalists, Scott Brayton, Davy Jones and 1990 winner, Arie Luyendyk, and one bright novice fresh off the dirt tracks, Tony Stewart. They all broke the one-lap qualifying record of 232.618 mph. But so what? Absent was the juice from what had been, for decades, one of the most electrifying moments in racing: pole qualifying for the Indy 500.

The Indy crowd of 55,000 paled in comparison to the usual 250,000. Although the 80th running of the 500 on May 26 technically is sold out, the word is that ticket-scalping, legal in Indiana, is virtually nonexistent. While in recent years a $140 ticket sold on race day for $750, last Saturday's Indianapolis Star quoted a scalper as saying, "At 10:30 on race morning, you'll sit anywhere you want, under face value."

The rival U.S. 500 pole qualifying at Michigan International was equally low-wattage. Fewer than 10,000 turned out to see three less-than-household names—Jimmy Vasser, Adrian Fernandez and Bryan Herta—take the front row for what the Indianapolis press calls "the other 500." CART barons were already offering twofer deals on tickets (buy one, go to their Detroit Grand Prix in June for free). And some team owners were saying that they would give away tickets to the rebel race, if that's what it would take to fill up the track in the farmlands 70 miles west of Detroit on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

Criminal Practice
Someone—or perhaps it was a foursome—broke into Roberta's Golf Center in Tampa last week and stole a cash register containing $40, a bunch of trash bags, a watercooler and two sets of golf clubs. Police might want to direct their investigation toward suspects whose golf game undergoes dramatic improvement: Also stolen were 14,000 striped range balls.

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