Chapman, (lark and Gurney returned to Milwaukee last Friday morning and again shattered Offy marks in prerace trials, although this time they were a bit slower. Said Clark: "The track was slower than before." Said Chapman: "Track conditions vary so much that it is difficult to draw any conclusion. We changed gear ratios to go faster; instead, we are going slower."
It was exactly like the days before the "500." Nobody really knew how the Lotuses would do, but everybody wanted to see. Parnelli Jones himself witnessed the Friday trials, just checking up. A master driver at whatever he attempts, he had won a big 150-mile stock-car race at Milwaukee the previous Sunday and another, at 200 miles, on Thursday. He drove Mercury stockers, built by a division of Ford Motor Co., but this did not mean that he had gotten soft on the Fords. He is still an Offy man through and through. He already had tried to analyze the probabilities.
"I feel," he said, "that the Lotus-Fords have a better chassis than ours for this track. Our roadsters are designed for Indy, and they're not just right for Milwaukee, probably not much better than the old dirt-track cars.
"I think the Lotuses may be fastest in practice and in the race for a little while, but I feel that after a few laps we'll get ahead of them. They have been practicing. We haven't. It will take us time to get warmed up.
"If the Lotuses can do laps in the low 33s and high 32s, then I would say they can run away from us. But if they are in the high 33s and the low 34s, I think it will be a good race."
While Jones analyzed, Clark, finished with his practice laps, looked at caged circus tigers sitting in the racetrack infield. "Does a lot of walking, this bloke," he said. "Hello, puttycat." "G-R-R-R," said one tiger, a large and restless animal who showed fine strong teeth from behind the bars of his cage. "Oh, oh, he's getting upset," said Clark, walking away.
And so were the Offenhauser men. Parnelli Jones's pre race prophecy proved to be 50% correct. In trials Clark won the pole with a lap time of 32.930 seconds, and Gurney won the spot next to him at the head of the starting lineup with 33.094. Only two Offenhausers—Foyt's and Jones's—broke 34 seconds. In the race, unfortunately, Parnelli never got going. He had faulty brakes from the start and finally sputtered into the pits at about the one-quarter mark.
Clark was not even remotely threatened and looked as cool as a man in church. But Gurney had to work. First Foyt struggled past him after an unnerving duel in which they once scraped wheels while racing side by side. And, toward the end, Ward charged hard at Gurney but failed to take third place from him. After Clark finished at a record average speed of 104.48 mph, Colin Chapman cast a thoughtful look at Foyt's coasting, fuelless car. "One more lap and we'd have had first and second," he said. "Oh well, we mustn't be greedy."