SI Vault
Edited by Robert W. Creamer
December 25, 1972
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December 25, 1972


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Campaneris turned to Marquez and put the question to him in Spanish. In English, Marquez replied, "I theenk I heet fi o sees."

Campaneris turned to the reporter and said, "He say he theenk he heet fi o sees."

The latest fashion in professional sports commissioners seems to be lawyers—baseball's Bowie Kuhn, the American Basketball Association's Robert Carlson—which makes last week's restructuring of the National Basketball Association's league office all the more interesting. One of three vice-presidents named to assist Commissioner Walter Kennedy is Simon Gourdine, who has been the NBA's in-house counsel for the last 2� years. In that short period of time Gourdine has made a solid impression, as his advancement attests. Commissioner Kennedy has only three seasons left on his contract, after which he is likely to retire. Gourdine now looms as heir apparent. He is only 32, but then Pete Rozelle was only 33 when he took over the National Football League. Noteworthy, too, is that Gourdine is black, which means basketball may well have a black commissioner before baseball has a black manager or pro football a black head coach.


It is generally assumed in motor sports circles that the lively Formula I cars used in Grand Prix racing could run circles around our Indianapolis-type racing machines. But Dan Gurney, who has been both Indy and Grand Prix driver, feels that things have changed, and he wants to prove it.

Since Gurney left the cockpits, he has been building cars, and doing well. The Gurney American Eagle has become the Establishment chassis. He has sold 22 of them this year and perhaps half the starting field at Indy next May will be Gurney-built racers.

"Indy cars were once written off as tanks built only to turn left," Gurney says. "Grand Prix cars are built for twisty circuits. But now our cars, while still strong, are fully maneuverable. Maybe it's time to settle the old dispute about which type is better."

A showdown at Indianapolis would not be fair, since a Formula I racer with its 450-475 hp could not come within 25 mph of an 850-hp turbocharged Indy car. Gurney is willing to have the showdown on Grand Prix turf, specifically the tricky N�rburgring circuit in Germany. Let someone put up a purse, and let winner take all.

It's a classic slugger vs. boxer match. Both types are about the same length and width and height, but Formula I cars weigh only 1,275 pounds to 1,575 for the Indy type. The Formula I has a five-speed gearbox and can shift like lightning, but then there is that big Indy engine with its awesome turbocharger.

The format for the match would be like a qualifying run—a few warmup laps and then one all-out tour of the circuit for time. Naturally, the Indy car will murder the Formula I on the straightaways and, naturally, be murdered on the turns.

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