The Texas track is a two-mile affair with enough banking—two 22-degree turns that rifle the racers into the straightaway—to make drivers feel they are inside a giant soup bowl. On the more sedate 2�-mile Indy course, starting speeds will be slightly slower. For the record, Al (The Other) Unser won in his Viceroy Special, but now that they're in the 200s the main concern of the drivers is the punishment wreaked on cars at such sustained high speeds. In Texas Bobby Unser led for 30 laps, then fell out with a broken piston. Mario Andretti, who qualified third with 209.607 mph, Gordon Johncock and Foyt dropped out with mechanical troubles, and only 13 cars, half the starters, were running at the end.
Next stop will be Trenton, and then, if there are any cars left, the month-long Indy scene starts. The question won't be whether or not they can hit 200 at The Brickyard but how long they can hold it.
WIRED FOR SOUND
Despite his wired jaw, Muhammad Ali may end up lecturing on poetry at Oxford, beginning next November. His only serious rival for the chair of poetry there is Stephen Spender, who has never been in the ring with a Ken Norton or a Joe Frazier. Spender does have a second named W. H. Auden, possibly a good cut man.
Dr. Duncan MacLeod and Dr. Nicholas Stern, who asked Ali to accept the nomination and run, insisted their bid was serious. "We should like to see him win," said Dr. MacLeod. "It may be time for ephemeral poets like Ali to be recognized. He is not a professional poet. His poetry is incidental to his main work. But it could be that it reflects a true poetic impulse."
Asked if he admired Ali's verse, MacLeod said, "That would be a bit strong. I enjoy it." He admitted, too, that one reason for the nomination is to suggest "there is a certain amount of ridicule attached to this kind of election, anyway."
The vote takes place next month when some, if not all, of 30,000 eligible Oxford M.A.'s will cast their ballots. The position is for five years at an annual salary of about �774. If he wins, Ali would be expected to give one lecture a term, or about three in the course of a year.
SELLOUT OF SELLOUTS
Next year's final round of the UCLA college basketball championships—whoops, make that the NCAA college basketball championships—will be played in Greensboro, N.C. The Greensboro Coliseum seats 15,400. Don't bother writing for tickets. They went on sale April 1, a year ahead of time, and they're all gone. Only 8,800 seats were available for public sale (the other 6,600 are reserved for the competing teams, visiting coaches and the NCAA) and almost 30,000 applications, each presumably asking for the maximum of four tickets, were received. It was estimated that the total value of the checks accompanying the applications was more than $2 million.
The applications with proper postmarks (none before April 1, none after that date) were put together in a bin and a drawing was held to pick the lucky 2,200 who would get tickets. Coliseum Manager Jim Oshust said, "We knew we were in the hotbed of college basketball and we knew we would have an early sellout, but nobody expected anything like this."