Going into the race, Hulme and Brabham were far out in front of the others on points. Hulme, although three ahead of his boss, 43-40, was gigantically un-excited.
"Just suppose," said one newsman, using Hulme as a windbreak, "just suppose that you are out there running first and Brabham is running second and the boss wants to win and he waves you to move over?"
Hulme grinned wolfishly. "Oh, I don't think he would do that," he said.
"But suppose he did, what would you do?"
"Well," Hulme sighed, "I think we'd just have to dash for it together, wouldn't we now?" So much for devious strategy.
Meanwhile, the crowd began gathering. Estimates ranged from 80,000 to a million, and it is reasonable to assume that, as you read this, there are still car-loads of people trying to break the traffic jam and get out of town.
No matter. The U.S. Grand Prix has become such an important national fertility rite—the chill reverse of the springtime migration to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—that everyone who is anyone in the bopper set has to be seen there. By the thousands they huddled in the fantastic cold—an ebbing, flowing ocean of blue lips and red noses. In years past it was de rigeur to burn every unguarded hay bale for miles around. But the In thing this year seemed to be a talk tent operated by an earnest group of collegians stoked on Vietnam, Black Power and the old college itch to gab.
The crowd became so large—and the roads leading to the track so jammed—that in order to stage the race at all officials had to airlift the drivers by helicopter from their downtown motel.
An ocean of people parted just enough to let the cars get through from the garage to the starting grid, and the field bristled away at the win-or-bust speed that makes this the most glamorous form of automobiling. For a time Hill led Gurney and Clark, but then Dan's Eagle busted and near midpoint Jimmy sailed around Hill and on to victory. In danger of losing a wheel the last three laps, Clark "had a look and saw the thing wobbling. I think it would have fallen off in another five or six laps."
Clark's win made it clear that the Lotus-Fords are the Grand Prix team to beat in the future, but it was too late to snatch the year's spoils from Brabham and Hulme. And in a parting word on Monday, calculated to jazz up American racing, Jack (who must win in Mexico to beat Denny for the driving championship) announced that he would build three Brabham-Repcos for the 1968 Indy 500. He would not name the drivers, but Mr. Hulme certainly had an available look about him.