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At about 4 p.m. on Labor Day Junior Johnson of Ronda, N.C. was declared winner of the Southern 500 stock car race at the Darlington International Raceway in Darlington, S.C. He received the adulation of 70,000 spectators, the attention of the press, and the spurious kisses of two beautiful models, kept on hand for just such winner-smooching.
Six and a half hours later a recheck of scoring cards showed that Larry Frank of Greenville, S.C. had been deprived of one lap in the scoring and was the actual winner. Meantime the crowd had departed for home filled with happy talk of Johnson and morning newspapers-had gone to press reporting a Johnson victory.
It was no isolated snafu in stock car racing. Glenn Wood has twice taken the checkered flag at Martinsville, Va., and still has to be credited with an official victory. Rex White was flagged the winner in the 1960 Southern 500 at Darlington, but the official decision went later to Buck Baker. David Pearson was thought to be the winner of the rain-shortened Atlanta 500 last June. His actual place was seventh. And so on.
Such judging delays used to be even more common when car inspection, to check on rule violations, was conducted after the races. Now the cars are inspected and sealed before the races. But even so, scoring the races, in which 30 or 40 cars may be entered, with laps of each to be counted and clocked, and pit stops noted, remains a most complex business.
We feel that a country that could develop the automatic pinsetter for bowling ought to be able to come up with a quick, reliable scoring system for stock car racing. As a matter of fact, bowling has just now developed a transistorized computer that automatically records individual or team scores, gives each player a printed record and projects the scoring on an overhead screen. It is called Score-O-Matic and is a product of the Brite-Lite Corporation of America. We congratulate the inventors and suggest they next shine their light on the problems of stock car racing.
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NOTE FROM THE ORIENT
To Americans who plan to attend the 1964 Olympics, we commend the following program note from a Japanese postcard, recently received and purporting to illuminate for Western visitors the inner essence of sumo, as we spell it, or sumo, as the Japanese seem to spell it. It reads:
SUMOH: TRADITIONAL SPORT IN JAPAN SUMOH is a match of strength in Japan. Two naked athletes empty-handed with only MAWASHI on game in a circle of 15 ft. diameter called DOHYO-BA and the fight finishes by throwing down a rival on the place or putting out from. The other nations had a same kind of games, but SUMOH in JAPAN has developed like now from the keynote of the sitting life of Japanese, and the athletes with peculiar strong legs and the lions of sitting race have brought forth several techniques and refined them. Consequently the sport called SUMOH, had been loved with public like now, is accomplished.