To keep car owners happy, and solvent, the two organizations co-sanctioned a professional Formula 5000 series this year in which the qualified cars cost considerably less to campaign than a USAC Championship Trail car or an SCCA Can-Am prototype. The series took off, and with Mario Andretti locked in a battle for the championship right down to the final race, promoters were able even to make some bank deposits in what was otherwise a lean year. In fact, the Formula 5000 did so well for the SCCA that the club abandoned its two other professional race series, canceling the Can-Am entirely and surrendering the Trans-Am to the fledgling International Motor Sports Association.
But then the SCCA's 1975 schedule was announced. The strongest reference to co-sanction was that "talks were in progress." Back in Indiana USAC seemed to be wavering. In exchange for lending the series its publicity-generating drivers, all it got in return was an increase in the number of demands that it do something to cut the costs of Indy car racing, plus a little money.
If the USAC-SCCA cooperation collapses (the USAC claims it will not), that is about it for Formula 5000, and possibly for SCCA as a force in professional racing. Its driver roster is barren of promotable names. Little wonder that racing millionaire Richard Petty sticks almost exclusively with NASCAR.
NEVER TOO LATE
When he was in his 90s, Canadian golfer C. Arthur Thompson consistently scored under his age. He is 105 now and the recipient last month of one new honor, this one from the Uplands Golf Club of Victoria. A life membership.
HOT WORDS, COOL RECEPTION
Back in the locker room for prayers and inspiration before the season final against Pittsburgh, Penn State got carried away—at least Greg Buttle did.
First, Mike Hartenstine, the quiet Lion, spoke. Then Tom Donchez took over, and the sparks flew. He reminded the squad of its responsibilities, he told it what a victory would mean, he warned how devastating a defeat would be. He became so worked up that words suddenly failed him. Donchez hurled his helmet against a locker. It bounced back and hit Buttle straight between the eyes, knocking him cold.
"Oh, God," said Coach Joe Paterno, "can't we even get through the team prayer without an injury?"
WHEELS THAT TAKE WING
Of all forms of transportation ever devised, there are few, apparently, as inefficient as the bicycle. The condition will not last much longer, though, say some inventor-designers who have been experimenting with vehicles that resemble variously a floating egg with human legs attached, a knight on his horse in full skirt and that old cheese box, the Monitor.