AUTO RACING—Driving the last 10 hours without brakes, HELMUT MARKO, an Austrian judge, and GYS VAN LENNEP, a Dutch shipping executive, claimed victory in their Porsche 917 in the 39th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Only two of seven Porsche 917s survived the race, but they were one-two, with Briton Richard Attwood and Swiss Herbert Muller finishing second. Marko and Van Lennep drove a record 396 laps (3,305.9 miles), at an average speed of 138.03 mph. The first woman entrant at Le Mans in 20 years, France's Marie-Claude Beaumont, failed to finish in a Corvette.
Denis Hulme and Peter Revson, the McLaren team, finished one-two in the opening race of the Can-Am Challenge Cup series at Mosport Park, Ontario. It was the 30th McLaren win in 34 Can-Am starts. Hulme withstood an early challenge by Jackie Stewart, whose new Lola racer started on the pole but ultimately was felled by transmission trouble.
GOLF—On the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, Tom Weiskopf ended the suspense at the Kemper Open in Charlotte, N.C. with a birdie. He was tied at the end of regulation play at 11 under par with Dale Douglass, Gary Player and Lee Trevino.
Kathy Whitworth, 31-year-old Texan and leading money winner on the women's circuit, applied steady pressure to younger rivals and won the $55,000 Eve LPGA championship with a four-under-par 288 on the Pleasant Valley Country Club course in Sutton, Mass. Miss Whitworth had previously won one LPGA championship—and lost two in playoffs. Kathy Ahern finished second, four strokes back.
James Knowles, 56, of Greenwich, Conn., son of John Ellis Knowles, six-time winner of the event, shot a 77 to win the U.S. Seniors championship at The Apawamis Club in Rye, N.Y. from William Wright, 60, in an 18-hole playoff after they lied at 150 for 36 holes. Wright had a 79.
HARNESS RACING—LAVERNE HANOVER ($3.60), driven by George Sholty, made it two straight in the $170,000 International Pacing Series at New York's Yonkers Raceway, beating Super Wave by a nose in the $35,000 Good Time Pace. Laverne paced the 1� miles in 2:32[3/5].
Majette ($7.20), driven by Bill Shuter, led all the way to win the $25,000 American-National Pace for 4-year-old mares at Sportsman's Park in Chicago, 1� lengths ahead of Majestic Belle G.
HOCKEY—Hard upon their Stanley Cup championship the Montreal Canadiens accepted a superstar's retirement, demoted a controversial coach and drafted a young star. JEAN BELIVEAU, 39, Canadien captain for a decade, retired after 18 full seasons in which he played on 11 regular-season and 10 Stanley Cup championship teams. He was the winningest player in NHL history. SCOTTY BOWMAN, lately of the St. Louis Blues, replaced AL MACNEIL as coach. MacNeil, the man Center Henri Richard called "incompetent" in the heat of the cup warfare, will coach a minor league team owned by the Canadiens. Finally, using the No. 1 draft pick acquired from the California Golden Seals in an earlier deal, Montreal selected GUY LAFLEUR (SI, March 1) from the Quebec Remparts. Lafleur was his league's high scorer with 130 goals and 79 assists.
HORSE RACING—DRUMTOP ($8.80), a 5-year-old mare ridden by Chuck Baltazar, beat half a dozen male rivals and set a record of 2:25[2/5] in the 1�-mile, $56,800 Bowling Green Handicap at Belmont Park. Fort Marcy, who was second, had set the old mark of 2:26[3/5] last year.
Burt Bacharach's ADVANCE GUARD ($7.20) scored a head victory over heavily favored Manta in the $78,800 Inglewood Handicap at Hollywood Park.