When Happy Hour finally arrived, Sullivan gave it a crack, and came back with 210.298. Now it was up to Mears. With less than 50 minutes to go he stepped off the motorized cart he'd been riding all week to spare his feet and strapped himself into the bright yellow March. On his warmup lap, he checked the flags flying over the grandstands; they looked as rigid as boards to him. "We're in trouble," he told himself. He could only muster 209.796.
Carter's pole victory was a popular one, for he's kind of a Speedway brat. His proper handle is Duane Carter Jr. He's 34 years old and has been to the Indy 500 34 times; his father, Duane Sr., raced in the 500 from 1948 to '63. "I'm more happy for him than I've ever been for myself," said Duane Sr.
But maybe not happier than the people at Buick. They have been developing the V-6 turbo for three years, and it looks like the racing powerplant of the future, not just in Indy Cars but in NASCAR and sports car competition as well. It has an enormous advantage over the English Cosworth V-8s at Indy: It is permitted 10 more inches of turbocharger boost—57" to 47"—because it's a production line-based engine, a "stock block" in Indy argot. That gives the Buick V-6 nearly 100 more horsepower than the Cosworths, about 850 to 750. A similar rule advantage applies to the big, but non-turbo, Chevy V-8 stock block that Steve Chassey had in his March when he qualified at 204.224 on Sunday. Whether a Buick or Chevy passenger car engine can last for 500 racing miles is an unanswered question. Pancho Carter, for one, is confident his will. And don't bet against a man when something in the wind wants him to be where he is.