The Indy Racing League's latest snafu—a scoring fiasco that prompted A.J. Foyt's return to fistic action last Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway—accomplished something, at least, for the inept racing circuit. The IRL says it wants to reconnect to its racing roots. Mission accomplished at the True Value 500K.
On many a bygone Saturday night, after the checkered flag had been waved at some grassroots track, there would be a set-to—amid a mess of pencil-and-paper scoring errors—often over who really won. On many such occasions young A.J. was at or near the epicenter.
Fast-forward to Fort Worth on Saturday. The electronic scoring system, which automatically counts the laps of the cars as they pass the start/finish line, went haywire, unbeknownst to officials. It first appeared that Billy Boat, driving a car owned by Foyt, had won. Then Indy 500 champion Arie Luyendyk charged into the victory circle, proclaiming himself the winner. Foyt, 62, cuffed Luyendyk in the head and then shoved the Dutchman to the ground. Luyendyk later scored a moral knockout: After an all-night review of the race, officials proclaimed him the winner. Luyendyk had actually driven two laps more than required to win the race, but the system had missed them.
Red-faced officials then issued their second straight postrace apology for a bungled finish. The first had followed the May 27 Indy 500 (SCORCARD, June 9). Protests and reviews of the Texas debacle were expected to continue into this week.
For the IRL, it seems, these are the good old days.
Put It on His Tab
Tiger Woods probably gets his meals gratis at the All Star Cafe, the chain of theme restaurants in which he is a celebrity owner. But if not, he better bring cash. The credit card Tiger endorses, American Express, is not welcome there.
St. Paul Saints manager Marty Scott was frank when he informed pitcher I la Borders late last month that she had made his Northern League team. "I told her that on the basis of physical ability it would be easy to let her go," says Scott. "But I said that because of her work ethic and the way she played the game I was keeping her."
Borders, 22, the first woman to play regular-season pro baseball, impressed Scott with her fielding, sound mechanics and willingness to hit fungoes in practice. The lefthanded reliever out of Whittier, Calif., can also pitch—though the widely-shown news clips of her May 31 debut left many doubting that. She hit a batter, balked, made a wild throw to first and surrendered three runs without getting an out against the Sioux Falls Canaries. But the next day Borders, who relies on her ability to change speeds, struck out the side against the Canaries in the eighth. She followed that with another solid outing on June 3, giving up a run in two innings against Sioux City.
Crowds—home and away—have roared for and adored Borders. She's fitting in well on the club, bantering on the team bus, where players like to inquire whether she has an extra copy of Vogue. Some of the treatment from other squads has been less accepting: One Northern League manager referred to her as "that thing."