Before reaching its present eminence the Indianapolis 500 suffered some poverty-stricken years. Now comes Indianapolis West, and if ever a track was born rich, this is it. Ground was to be broken this week for the Ontario Motor Speedway, as the track is called, on 697 acres in vineyard country 40 miles up the San Bernardino Freeway from the Los Angeles Civic Center, and let it be said at once, reverently, that the people behind the speedway are going to offer a purse of $300,000 for their very first Indy-style race around Thanksgiving time in 1970. What's more, there are to be permanent seats for 95,000 and temporary stands for 45,000 as the Foyts and Andrettis and Unsers make their Ontario debuts. It has taken the original Indy, of which Ontario is to be a close copy right down to the angle of the four low-banked turns, more than half a century to build its purse to $712,269 and seating capacity to 210,000.
Where is the Ontario money coming from? A $25.5 million, tax-exempt municipal-bond issue offered by a nonprofit corporation. It sold out in three weeks. Besides the 2.5-mile main track there will also be a drag strip and a road-racing course.
What is good for Ontario, however, may be grim for Riverside and its raceway, the most important track in California. Riverside is only 20 miles away, and the officials there are said to be furious over the massive intrusion.
A LITTLE PEPPER
There may be nothing wrong with baseball that playing it in Spanish wouldn't cure. According to a reliable source in Mexico, the following spicy terms are currently in vogue among baseball buffs down there:
Exciting game: juego card�aco (cardiac game). A full swing: tirando a toda orquesta (swinging at full orchestration). Get going: p�ngase los pantalones (put your pants on). First base, second, third and home: la inicial, la intermedia, la antesala (the antechamber) and la chocolatera (the chocolate pot). Home is also the caja registradora. Bases full: se llen� la casa (the house got full).
Then, says our Mexican correspondent, there is the phrase bola de nudillos, which means "knuckleballs"—and which is used, he writes, "when the pitcher swirls the ball, putting the man at base out of control."
It may be that that last one lost something in the transmission.