SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
July 10, 1972
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July 10, 1972


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Once he gets used to roaring around at pretty close to 200 mph, there is nothing a race driver hates worse than standing still. Well, maybe one thing: standing around in the rain is worse. There was a great deal of that sort of thing leading up to the Schaefer 500 at Pocono, Pa., the $400,000 Indy-type race billed as "the Eastern jewel in auto racing's Triple Crown." The affair was canceled at the 11th hour and the principals assumed various attitudes of outrage.

The drivers were outraged because the track locked them out without notice after they had spent almost two wet weeks waiting to roll. The United States Auto Club was outraged because it figured the show must go on, and it threatened to make Pocono forfeit the $275,000 it had posted with the USAC. The track was outraged that everybody should adopt such an attitude.

The situation came about because of tropical storm Agnes. With flood relief work still slogging along, Pennsylvania Governor Milton J. Shapp asked the track to postpone the race so that all available manpower could be devoted to the cleanup. He implied he did not think much of 100,000 race fans enjoying themselves while many Pennsylvanians were homeless or destitute.

The USAC pondered giving the track another race date sometime this summer. Pocono was reluctant to reimburse the drivers for lost time or distribute the prize fund, although officials did indicate they might do something about the $1,000 entry fees. As for racing news, if that is any comfort, during the brief practice spells between rainstorms, Bobby Unser hit 188.442 mph to be wet Pocono's fastest racer—er, nonracer.


First reports out of the Northeast after the floods raised fears that fish populations had been devastated; deep fishing holes were filled in with silt, gravel banks necessary to spawning were washed away and mature fish were stranded and dying in pockets of water far from their native streams and ponds. One conservation official was quoted as saying, "We're faced with the worst natural catastrophe since the Ice Age."

A more measured response after the waters had subsided indicated that while the flooding would have a decidedly adverse effect on fishing, the situation was not catastrophic. The biggest loss is in the hatching of young fish, with this year's crop ravaged by the overwhelming flow of water. Nearly all fish that would have hatched in 1972 will be lost. But, otherwise, there is optimism. Fish displaced from one fishing area are finding homes in another. Fishing holes that silted in are yielding to new holes gouged out by the flood. The gravel needed for spawning is resettling in other locales.

In sum, fishing will be bad or, at best, uncertain for a season or two, but it will return to normal.

Facts, Figures & Film, a newsletter for TV executives, reports that servicemen watching Armed Forces Network television prefer boxing films to all other packaged sports programs, including football, big-league baseball and pro basketball. Name fighters of the past like Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano are particular favorites, even though most had ended their careers before the bulk of the Armed Forces viewers were born. That says something for boxing's continuing appeal as a spectator sport.

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