The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on May 14, 1977 · Page 24
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 24

Indianapolis, Indiana
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 14, 1977
Page 24
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PAGE Zi THE IXDIAXAI'OLIS STAR SATURDAY, MAY 14, 1977 WEATUEii FACTOR MX TODAY'S IIUXS 3eveloDment9 Causin ncrease f y. A - 0 ft f V C ; ' ... -& ttnitf-"' a- nif ilrrr--" -""- . JANET IS BACK Janet Guthrie is back with the No. 27 Bryant Heating & Cooling Spl. Earlier in the week the lady 500 driver had a brush with the wall at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but her car underwent Light Baffl ing By DAVE OVERPECK Alex Morales walked into Garage 10 about 5 p.m., yesterday to find his driver, Bill Vukovich, sitting beside the stripped down Alex Foods Lightning. The car owner greeted the driver cheerfully. It was a cheerfulness the driver found hard to return. "Am I fired?" asked Vuky. It was a joke with just a little raw edge of truth to it. "Why?" queried Morales in return, ' have you done something wrong?" "THAT'S JL'ST IT," laughed Vuky, 'T don't know." But it was a laugh without humor. No one really is getting along great with the new Lightnings this May. They were supposed to be the hot new chassis this year. Morales plunked down a bunch to buy two for Vuky and rookie Bobby Olivero. The latter is happy with his car. He was just a shade under 189 miles an hour, yesterday. No one else shares his sentiments. Some Bobby Unser and Roger Mc-Cluskey are going faster, but they're not really happy. Everybody else is having 'varying degrees of trouble. NONE IS HAVING more than Vukovich. 'T just don't see anyway we can ; qualify this weekend," he said yester- day. "It would take a miracle." Worse yet .Vukovich doesn't know '. what's WTong. "I'm baffled," he said. ; "I've never been so baffled in my ; . life." The Morales crew headed by veter-. an mechanic John Capels, has tried to ' make Vuky's car as exact a copy of ; Olivero's as possible. It hasn't helped. The best Vuky has been able to nurse out of it is a high 183. Olivero The Top Ten Pes. Drivtr, Cir , 1. Johnny Rutherford 200.624 , First Notional City McLaren-Cosworfh No. 2 . 1. Mario Andrew 200.311 CAM 2 Motor Oil McLaron-Cosworth No. . 3. A.J. Fort .. 200.177 Gilmort Broadcasting Coyoto-Fsyt h 14 4. Tom Snova . 1M.1M Norton Spirit McLaron-Cosworth No. 8 - S. Al Unser 17.10 American Racing Parnelli'Cosworth No. 21 . Gordon Johncodc 1T7.1W STP Ooiioio Oil Filler Wildcit-DGS No. 20 7. Johnny Rutherford m.,50 First National city mcuoren-iosworrn no. iz ' J. Bobby Unsar IOS.oM Cobro Tiro Lightning-Drake No. t . Danny Ongals 1M.10S Interscopo Parnolll-Ceswortli No. 25 10. Pancho Carter 14.147 Jorgonnen Stool Eagl.Drakt No. 48 if f a ' t I V - v?? - , t SNEVA'S CAR DAMAGED A mechanic on the Roger Penske team works to repair the damage to Tom Sneva's McLaren after he hit the fourth turn wall yesterday during a practice spin at the Speedway. Sneva's car suffered only minor damage as time drew near for today's first qualifying runs. (UPI Photo) I . ning Problems 7 7 1 ruKovicn took a test hop and without working very hard boosted that by about a mile an -hour. He said he rather liked the car. THAT COLXD LEAD to self-doubt. But not with Vukovich. 'It really doesn't mean that much," he said. "What one driver likes may bs very different from what somebody else likes." . Neither does he subscribe to the theory that Olivero, with limited time in championship cars, might have a different opinion if he had more experience from which to make a comparison. . "Maybe that's it, but I don't think so." he said. "That's just too simple." What Vukovich does know is the car just doesn't feel right to him. "I'M JUST NOT comfortable in the car," he says. "It feels like a truck . . . an empty truck with no spring travel at all. "On the straightaways, it j U s t seems to bounce along, up and down. I don't know how we are in the engine department because I can't get the chassis to settle down." Some Lightning drivers have complained that the cars seeni to be tco loose in the rear end going into a turn and then want to push coming out. It's almost a text book description for disaster. But it's not Vuky's problem. "THE CAR REALLY feels like it s glued to the race track," he said. VBut it's not glued to the same spot two seconds in a row. It wants to dart around. "I've been able to get it so that it felt good in (turns) 2 and 4 (the "slow" turns), but I think that was because I was so slow through 1 and 3 that I didn't have it going fast enough to feel bad in the other two." It's not because they haven't tried to improve the situation that the "Tamale Wagon" isn't going faster. "We've made a lot changes but they haven't helped, yet," said Vukovich. 'We haven't gone back to Point 0 yet. But we may have to." Ahead of that, Vukovich had his close buddy Gary Bettenhausen over for some advice yesterday. His fellow second-generation driver suggested changing the front shock absorbers and lifting the rear end. THAT MAY BE the setup Vukovich tries this morning in the final pre- minor repairs and owner Rplla Vollstedt talked things over with the driver before she went out yesterday for practice in preparing for qualifications today. (Star Photo) qualifying practice session. "If I can get it feeling comfortable," said Vuky, "I'll need five laps or so to get it up to a respectable speed, say 188." The other problem is that Vukovich needs a little cushion. He is not a good qualifier. He usually loses one or two-even three-mph when it comes time to go against the clock. "I don't know why it is," he said. "I've always been that way, even in midgets and sprints." Pacer Officials Deny Sale To Rhode Island Promoter A former rock concert promoter from Providence, R. I., said yesterday he has an "agreement in principle" to purchase the Indiana Pacers, but officials of the National Basketball Association team immediately termed the statement "inaccurate" and declared no papers have been signed. Robert (Skip) Chernov, who earlier wanted to buy the New York Nets, said at a news conference that he was in Indianapolis Thursday and received a signed agreement from Pacer officials to purchase the financially struggling team. James C. Hilliard, Pacer president, confirmed that he talked with Chernov, but said, "We have not agreed to sell the team. The team is not sold." He refused further comment. BILL EASON, chairman of the board of directors, asserted, "From my point of view that (Chernov's report) is inaccurate information. "He is one of the people we have talked to, but an ageement in principle was not executed. We did not sign any Boost Isn H At 80-Inch USAC TECH CHIEF Fran Del Roy won't be buying any sad stones of woe today from drivers saying they didn't get the full 80 inches of boost when the pressure relief valves are placed on their turbochargers for qualifications. "We've made some modifications in the valves since last year," says Del Roy, "and they've worked just super. We've tested them before qualifying and they haven't varied and we've checked them afterward and they haven't varied even a half-inch." Del Roy thinks he knows why seme people think they're getting less than the law allows. "When the valves get hot, they creep up a little," he said. "Some of the guys set the valve right on 80 inches. When it creeps up, it opens the waste gate and momentarily the boost dips down to 77 or 78 inches. "But it's just for a second. "The guys who have been around and know set the valves just a little low to allow for the creeping. The ideal is to get 79.999 inches." THE VALVOLINE PEOPLE, suppliers of oil, fuel, gear lube, solvent, rust control, and hand cleaner for the Untted States Auto Club's five divisions, have posted a $1,000 bill for the first official 200 mile an hour lap. AND BENTLEY WARREN, the amiable Easterner who was a regular with thte USAC champ cars for several years, has returned to take over Tassi Vatis' second machine. DOING A LITTLE radio or TV work is a way several drivers over the years By GEORGE MOORE If Carl Fisher could see his Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, he wouldn't believe it. FISHER, WHO H AS THE motivating force in founding the Speedway, built the place in 1909, and had it designed for a top speed of 76 miles an hour. Since that period the denizens of the track have added 125 mph, and there's no end in sight. The reason is contained in an 11 letter word spelled development. In this case, it's the development of everything - track, engines, chassis, tires and probably the driver. WHEN JOHNNY RUTHERFORD hit 200.624 mph Thursday, ha had what is known as the "combination" all hooked up. The engine was working. The chassis was working. The rubber was working and John was working. To achieve that speed it has to be the collective results of everything, and starting with the powerplant it's obvious that the engines are down the road a way from last year. "The engine contributes significantly," said Tyler Alexander, team manager for Rutherford's owner, McLaren Car?. "THIS CAR IS better than our Offy car and would be quicker with an Offy than the 73 car would have been with a V-8, providing the same rules were in effect." In 1973 when Rutherford set an official one lap record of 199.071 mph with an earlier version of the McLaren chassis and powered by the "old style" Offy engine, one which had a 36 degree valve angle. The current version is an updated engine which has a shallower valve angle, 19 degrees, and this plus other refinements contribute to a considerable increase in power. However, there is a hooker to this. When John set his one-lap record, and four lap record of 198.413 mph, there was no limitation to the amount of manifold pressure from the turbocharger. Today there is. "UNDER THE SAME rules," Tyler said. "I think the Offy might run quicker than the Cosworth. Actually, the whole package (the V-8) is a little heavier." The fastest speed marks set this thing. We did write up something for him to take to his people and that could be his interpretation of what is an agreement." While admitting Chernov has a "good reputation...creditability," Eason claimed, "We're still talking to three, four, maybe five other people. "We've been in the process of boiling those offers down and trying to find out who is truly interested in professional basketball here and by that we mean those who are interested in operating the franchise in Indianapolis." THE PACER MANAGEMENT has been negotiating with groups in Indianapolis, Chicago and Southern California to buy the team. The club is faced with the prospect of meeting a $45,000 payroll due Monday, and "we are going to try to meet it," said Eason. "It's not definite right now, but not only do we want to meet the payroll but also to come up with something to wrap this entire thing up." Asked about the terms of the reported agreement, Chernov said: "I'm not Best Maximum PIT PASS have picked up some side cash at the Speedway. Usually, it's easy work and good exposure. But then there are days when you don't want much exposure. Tom Sneva is moonlighting this year for Channel 6. Fine most days. But yesterday he kissed the wall coming out of No. 4 in the Norton Spirit McLaren-Cos-worth. So he was an easy target for the needle-masters as he later walked through the garage area with microphone in hand. "Looking for a new profession?" asked one. But Sneva was equal to the occasion. "After this morning, I may need one," he shot back. ROOKIE JAMES McElreath has picked up a sponsor, which puts him one up on his pop. Amax Coal Company has posted the funds to get its name on the side of the No. 26 Eagle-Offy that Jim the Elder owns. Amax also sonsors Jim the Younger's sprint and championfhip dirt cars. Henry and some others went around to the business community and raised so much money that now I understand they're in the black by about a half-million dollars." CONCERNED - Bobby concerned over speeds in practice Tire car. (Star photo by Frank H. Fisse) month are held by V-8 engines, and it's the consensus that they have more power than the four-cylinder Offy or Drake-Goossen-Sparks powerplant. But just how much nobody who has anything to do with the engine will say. "Now you know I'm not going to tell you how much horsepower we're developing," Alexander said. HERB PORTER, WHO is considered the father of the turbocharger on the Offy and is Goodyear's engine man, said that he didn't feel that all the speed over last year was from the engine, but the extra five inches was a considerable help. Last year the turbocharger pressure was limited to 75 inches of mercury manifold pressure compared to 80 this year. "That five inches was good for about 50 horsepower," Herb said. WHILE THE POWER of the Cos- worth may be unrevealed, the power of going to do numbers right now. The terms are my personal business." However, he said he has until Monday to finalize the purchase. "It's alwaj's been my intention to purchase a franchise for the city of Providence and that's what I'd still like to do," Chernov added. He also said he talked with Irv Levin, principal owner of the Boston Celtics, on Wednesday before going to Indiana because the Celtics have territorial rights that include the Providence area. "He (Levin) didn't like the idea at all," Chernov said, adding that Levin wanted $6 million to let a franchise operate in Rhode Island. "But that's a little unreasonable," he said. when you're buying a 11 V fi rartron h-W- TIME TRIAL NEW 1977 mim Pwl. automowe o'l hJ T, STr 5 E m PLYMOUTH FURY SALON Stock N2B65. 4-t. sodan. Jasmine yHow. 316 C I O., 8 cylinder engine. Torquaflit transmwen, air conditioning, tinted windows, left remota control mirror, wtoe vinyl body tide moukhng, automotive speed control. AM radio, heavy duty shoe absorbera, deluxe wheat covers. WAS SS8M. TIME TRIAL PRICE $4998 PLYMOUTH FURY 2-DR. Stock G2034 Spinnaker White, 316 C ID., ft cylinder engine. Tofqueflite trans mtsstort, air conditioning, tinted windows, light package, remote control left mirror, AM radio, deluxe wheel covers, bench seat doth and vinyl, F78xtS WSW Ore. WAS SS475. TIME TRIAL PRICE $4804 PLYMOUTH FURY 6 N2036. 4-Dr sedan, vintage red lunfire metallic, 360 C I D., a cylinder engine. Torque tuts transmission, a conditjoninfl, tnted iMndows, spM back bench vinyl seats, left remote control mirror, AM radio, vinyl roof, deluxe wheel covers. F7Bx15 WSW tree. WAS 15681 TIME TRIAL PRICE $4822 PLYMOUTH VOLARE' CUSTOME Stock NSS64. 4 -Or. sedan. Sever ctoud metallic. 316 C I O., cylinder engine. TorquefirM transmission, air ixtYMxrsng, anted glass, left remote control mirror, vmyl body side motchngs. AM radio, power steenng. vmyl roof, deluxe wheel covers, daymght mirror. WAS S633 TIME TRIAL PRICE $4810 PLYMOUTH VOLARE' PREMIER Stock 4N5632. 2-Dr coupe Spinnaker whrte. 318 CIO. 0 cylinder engine, Torquefhte transmission, air condibotng, 6040 spMI bench seat, frnted glass. AM radio, landau vmyl roof, dual remote control sport mirrors, hood tape stripes, body tide accent tape stnpes. ER78xt4 WSW tires. WAS S&663. E TIME TRIAL PRICE $5095 NJiVTl JM .1 .IN i fi I . k J . iTTii'i' .1 L J n Unser, Speedway veteran driver, apoears mucn runs. Bobby drives the No. 6 Cobre the Offy lies between 815 and S35 at 9,000 to 9.3C0 rpm. Porter says a good overall average, with an engine which has been set up right, should be in the area of 825. Although there is much concentration on the engine to obtain speed, the new chassis are right up there in making their contribution to the 200 mph lap speed. Refinements in suspension have been made since last year, and much work has been done in that all-important area of drag. The whole idea is to fly through the air with the greatest of ease, and to do that you can't have things sticking out in the wind. THE ONLY THING keeping a driver from introducing himself to the concrete retaining wall - in a loose sense - is the grip the tires are getting on pavement. And in this department, Goodyear has been doing its homework. The complete paving of the track last summer has kept the tire company hoping to find out how the rubber was going to fare on the new asphalt. In earlier testing sessions, Goodyear found that last year's race tire wouldn't run four laps before it blistered. The track was giving such a bite there was a tremendous buildup in heat. Such tractive effort contributed substantially to the 200 mph speeds as it . permitted drivers to go through the turns almost without getting off the throttle. WHETHER THIS WILL be possible today in qualifications is debatable, as the temperature is warming up and the rubber buildup in the groove is beginning get a little slicker. Speed today will be determined in part by today's weather conditions. It "is net'' the consensus that an official 200 mph lap will be turned unless there is rain to wash down the groove and cool air conditions. But then, those people known as race drivers have a way of confounding the experts. -,0'BRIEN SPECIALS rl CHRYSIER COSDOBA .VB1 $5225 .0 Stock K7427. Caret Red. 400 i BBL. S cyi . lean bum system. Torqueftite transmission, trunk light, ixj glove box light, and receiver light, Wmm ignition awilch kght wame delay. Accessory floor mats, door edge E3 tic speed control, bit steering , protectors, amf-m stereo, automa wheel, road wheel covers, sput oencn velour interior, GH78X19 W5W tires. PLYMOUTH VOLARE' Stock G52S9. 2-Dr. Sport Coupe. Mojave beige. 225 CI O., 6 cylinder engine, Torquefkte transmission, power steenng, AM radio, deluxe wheel covers, bench seat doth and vinyl, 076x14 WSW tires, dnp mouldings, quarter windows, color keyed carpeting, electronic ignition. WAS S4271 TIME TRIAL PRICE $3947 PLYMOUTH VOLARE' PREMIER Stock GS117. 4-Dr. Sedan. Starlight blue sunfire metallic. 225 C.I.D. 6 cylinder engine. Torqueflite transmission, light package, easy order package, air cond., tinted windows, accessory floor mats, remote control left mirror, AMFM radio, door edge protectors, ER78xM WSW feres. WAS S5746. TIME TRIAL PRICE $5188 PLYMOUTH VOLARE' Stock 05291. 2-Dr Sport Coupe Silver cloud metallic, 225 C I D , 6 cylinder engine, Torquefbte transmission, power steering, bencft seal doth and vinyl D78x14, dnp mouldings, quarter windows, color keyed carpeting, electronic tgnbon. WAS S4133. TIME TRIAL PRICE $3886 PLYMOUTH VOLARE' Stock NS931. Motave beige. 225 C IO . S cylinder engine. Torqueflile transmission, easy order package, air cond., ftnted windows, power front disc brakes, vmyl side moulding. E78i4 WSW ires, vinyl bench seat, tuU vmyl roof WAS S5313. TIME TRIAL PRICE $4877 PLYMOUTH VOLARE' Stock 5738 2-Dr Sport Coupe. Regatti blue metallic Bench seat doth and vtnyl. manual transmission. 3 -speed floor mounted, 225 C I O , 8 cylinder engine, wheel lip mouldings, power steenng deluxe wheel cove's. D?8x14 WSW t'es, color keyed carpeting. WAS $3842 TIME TRIAL PRICE $3599 ra

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