FLYING—Californian LYLE SHELDON set a speed record for unlimited class at the Reno National Championship Air Races. He piloted his F-8 Bearcat to 428.155 mph, breaking his three-day-old mark of 426.602 set in a qualifying run.
A few days later JACK LOWERS set a second world record in his AT-6-class plane, hitting 212.390 mph.
PRO FOOTBALL—On the first weekend of the season Miami needed a fourth-quarter rally to beat San Francisco 21-13 (page 30) and extend its record-tying winning streak to 18. The Bills' O. J. Simpson, meanwhile, was breaking the NFL single-game rushing record as Buffalo won 31-13 over New England. In 29 carries, the league's leading ground gainer last year ran for 250 yards, three more than Los Angeles Ram Willie Ellison's mark set in 1971. St. Louis Coach Don Coryell got his first NFL win when the Cardinals held on for a 34-23 victory despite a second-half rally led by Philadelphia Quarterback Roman Gabriel. St. Louis established a three-touchdown lead in the first seven minutes of the game and then withstood two Gabriel TD passes and three field goals by Tom Dempsey in the second half. New York defenders made off with four Dan Pastorini passes during the first half and the Giants dropped Houston 34-14. New York's Ron Johnson gained 96 yards and scored two touchdowns before he was sidelined with bruised ribs. Washington's defense played rough and San Diego was battered 38-0. Charger Quarterback John Unitas was sacked eight times, intercepted four times and the defense forced Running Back Mike Garrett to fumble three times. The fumbles resulted in Redskin touchdowns, two by defensemen Brig Owens and Verlon Biggs.
While divisional arch-rival Washington was winning easily, it took all the Cowboys had, plus a fake punt that backfired, for Dallas to pull out a 20-17 win over rugged Chicago, Toni Fritsch's 11-yard field goal giving the Cowboys their margin with 1:26 remaining in the game. Mike Phipps threw for three touchdowns as Cleveland defeated Baltimore 24-14. In a strong showing, Phipps completed 12 of 26 passes for 150 yards and carried the ball seven times for another 55. Ten-year veteran Dick Shiner racked up 38 points for Atlanta before leaving the game in the third quarter as the Falcons blasted New Orleans 62-7. Two of Shiner's scoring passes went to Ken Burrow and another to Wes Chesson. Cornerback Tom Hayes contributed to the rout with a 65-yard return of an interception. Minnesota beat Oakland 24-16 in a tough opener for both as Fran Tarkenton threw two touchdown passes and Bill Brown ran a six-yard draw play for the clinching Viking score. An 84-yard pass from Greg Landry to Ron Jessie was spectacular but not enough for Detroit as the Lions lost to Pittsburgh 24-10. Terry Bradshaw pulled the Steelers up from a 10-10 third-quarter tie with two touchdown passes in the final period. With Charley Johnson directing the offense Floyd Little scored three times to give Denver a 28-10 upset win over Cincinnati. John Hadl's two TD passes and an 11-yard run by Steve Preece on a bungled last-quarter field-goal attempt gave Los Angeles a 23-13 win over Kansas City.
GOLF—HALE IRWIN dominated the $150,000 Heritage Classic at Hilton Head, S.C., coasting in with a final-round 72 for a five-stroke victory over Grier Jones and Jerry Heard. Irwin finished at 12-under-par 272, seven strokes better than the 72-hole record for the course he already held. The $30,000 first prize put him over the $100,000 mark for the season.
Kathy Whitworth shot a two-under-par 70 to finish with 142 and beat Gerda Boykin by a stroke for the $25,000 Southgate Open in Kansas City.
HARNESS RACING—Favored Hambletonian winner FLIRTH ($4.40), driven by Ralph Baldwin, finished two lengths ahead of Knightly Way in the $103,495 Colonial at Liberty Bell Park in Philadelphia.
HORSE RACING—SECRETARIAT ($2.80) won the first running of the $250,000 Marlboro Cup in world record time by 3� lengths over stablemate Riva Ridge at Belmont Park (page 28).
Earlier in the afternoon, Jorge Velasquez rode DESERT VIXEN ($3.60) to her eighth straight win, an 8�-length victory over Poker Night in the $109,800 Beldame Stakes for fillies and mares.
Mike Manganello rode GOLDEN DON ($25.60) to a 2�-length victory over Tri Jet in the $100,000 Michigan mile and one-eighth at Detroit Race Course.