Spectators on the NASCAR circuit have come to expect a heady mix of the inevitable, the improbable and the impossible. In the Purolator 500 at Pocono Raceway two weeks ago they got it all in spades. King Richard Petty won as he so often does, and as it often has, the yellow caution flag came in and out like a frenetic marigold. Betwixt the yellow and the green Petty and seven rivals traded the lead a record 48 times. In the process of finishing 24th and 25th (in itself unusual) Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough set records that would be hard to beat if anyone cared to try.
When Yarborough blew an engine, his pit crew changed it in a NASCAR-record 33 minutes, 10 seconds. As for Allison and the Penske team for which he drives, they treated the crowd to a show that will be hard to match without resurrecting the Three Stooges. After pitting on the 45th lap for what seemed a routine change of the two outside tires, Allison bolted away under a yellow caution. As he came out of the first turn, boiling along at a mere 90 mph, the two inside wheels, which had not been changed, rolled off the car.
Allison had been done in by technology. Whereas in olden times drivers got their signals from pit boards, Allison had been told by malfunctioning radio to come in for a tire change. While two crewmen changed the right side, another had taken the lug nuts off the other wheels. But having failed to get the radio message, and thinking it was only a two-wheel change, when the jack lowered the right side of the car, Allison took off. In the Penske pit hereafter, you can bet your boots there will be a fallible human who waves his hand to send the driver off.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Borrowing heavily on what he teaches, five years ago Dr. Ralph Anspach, an economics professor at San Francisco State, invented a parlor game in which players try to break corporate strangleholds and restore competition in an imaginary market. It sounds too complicated to be fun, but then who ever thought that Monopoly, the game where people spend phony money to build small wooden hotels in Atlantic City, would last as it has? In trial runs the only thing that proved confusing about Anspach's little game was its name: Bust the Trust: the Anti-Monopoly Game. Too many folks, forgetting what they had learned as kids about Teddy Roosevelt and the Robber Barons, thought busting trusts had something to do with bank heists.
After reversing the name to read, Anti-Monopoly: the Bust the Trust Game, Anspach sold 74,000 sets in 1974 and 200,000 last year, and that brought him face to face with a corporate giant, General Mills. Although better known for its Wheaties and Bisquick, General Mills also owns Monopoly, which is still a hot-selling parlor game. Although the games are not much alike, General Mills thought—and still thinks—the name Anspach chose infringed on its Monopoly trademark. After a little preliminary sparring, Anspach led off by charging General Mills with conspiracy to suppress competition. General Mills then socked Anspach with a suit claiming trademark infringement. Anspach countered with a suit denying infringemnent and challenging General Mills' right to the trademark in the first place.
Because Anspach is an expert on monopolies, it would seem the fight is right up his alley, but he has found that in a rough scrap against a talented superheavy like General Mills a man needs a lot more than a choice of alleys. Anti-Monopoly is selling better than ever this year, but Anspach's legal fees are eating up the profits. He expects to win and extract one lasting benefit. "I am learning facts in real life," he says, "that will be very helpful in the classroom."