The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on May 13, 1984 · Page 62
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 62

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Indianapolis, Indiana
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Sunday, May 13, 1984
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Page 62
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SUNDAY, MAY 15. 13S4 my yinx still haunting Mario THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR- MAKE A LIST of the greatest race drivers in the world and hell be in the top five; maybe even draw most of the votes for No. 1. Name the finest of all time and hell still get his share. But the Indianapolis Motor Speedway deeps taking him out to lunch and doesnt even buy. ; HE BROKE THE track record the first time he qualified. And he finished from here to Nazareth, Pa, ahead of the field in 1969. It was the first of what many thought would be several 500 Mile Race victories for Mario AndrettL So that 1969 race was more than a little unique. Like, here we are nearly halfway through the 80s and he's still looking for his second. The closest he came was a couple of years ago when he wrestled through the courts with Bobby Unser and lost That one hardly would have counted, anyway. Bobby was the best that day in 1981. They could have raced a week and nobody would have caught him. Besides, Andretti doesn't need lawyers to engrave his name on trophies. Just give him a race track. But at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway you can say it in two words "in credible." Andretti hasnt had the worst luck of anybody who raced here, since some havent left alive. But he certainly has seen more snakes than a drunk sentenced to life in a distillery. ONE YEAR HE drove two cars and finished 33rd and 28th. Another time he was taken out in a crash with his teammate. Last year he was running strong enough to win when he caught part of Johnny Parsons' shunt : At least that was better than 1982 when Kevin Cogan turned him into a spectator before he reached the starting line. He has started on the pole and he has Sports ylzH Over i iJLlCIITLY By BOB COLLINS started 33rd. In 1981, he moved from the last row to lead for 11 laps. And believe me, friends, that's coming a long way. Saturday, however, he broke in a new act and set a record that may stand forever the fastest lap' ever .run by a glider. ' Mario had the horses screaming for what would have been a strong 208 average probably good enough for second position on the grid. , THE FOURTH LAP might have been his best at least he thought it would be. But the ignition quit Since these things dont run on candles, he coasted across the finish line. Andretti without power sLll is quicker than most drivers. His speed for the final lap and the coast down the straight was 201950. Mario likes to low key it That's his style. It's been a long time since he was the saucer-eyed kid who seemed to look at the world with perpetual wonderment He's raced and won around the world. And now he is with the Hollywood team of Paul Newman. But he still hurts; still bleeds. The man met the press with a shrug, a smile and a laconic sense of humpr. But believe me, he was in pain. The small smile couldnt hide the eyes. He'd never say it but deep down the man believes he's the best It sometimes must be beyond his comprehension that equipment he handles so well, always nurses right up to its limit would just flat quit on him. SO WHAT ELSE to do? He tried to give the folks what they wanted to hear. It was. "unfair." and the long ride down the chute without power seemed like an "eternity." And, of course, he was happy for his son Michael, who qualified at 207847. And ft doesnl bother him a bit that Michael is the fastest Andretti at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this season. Still, a father's pride cannot erase a professional race driver's dejection. Mario gave it his best the car didnt It would be understandable and for givable if he went back and banged his head against the wall. Maybe he kicked the critter. It certainly finished in something less than a tie with the driver. ; Or, perhaps, he indulged himself in an uncharacteristic gesture and simply shook his fist at the Speedway. I'd buy that - This place certainly owes him a few. Andreftis: Michael craisess Mario coasts Expectations were high for a great Andretti show at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday. Yet one of the day's biggest surprises was that Michael Andretti, not his father, Mario, turned in a near record performance. The junior Andretti had barely completed a near 208 mph qualifying run before his father began his four-lap trial. Mario's first lap, in excess of 209 miles per hour, brought a big smile from his son. Soon, Michael would be startled like much of the crowd to learn that his father's car faltered on the final lap. An expected, record setting performance was not to be. In fact Michael had qualified ahead of his father. "He's not going to be too happy," said Michael. Moments later as his father stalked the pits near where Michael answered media questions, someone commented that was not one of the senior Andretti's happy walks. "Nan," said his son knowingly. EVEN FAMILY disappointments could not dim Michael's satisfaction after his first Indy qualifying run. "I think we have a real competitive car," said Michael. He was. understating his case after a four-lap speed of 207.805 miles an hour placed him on the inside of the second row. His second lap was his quickest - 208.126 - and he easily was the fastest rookie among Saturday's qualifiers. The 21 year old Andretti has run six Indy car races, and is a product of Super Vee and Formula Ford competition. The name Andretti alone, he says, would not be enough to bring him to Indianapolis. What Michael proved Saturday is that his talents and a good car will keep him as competitive as his father when the cars race for good in two weeks. - "I think we have a shot at winning," he said. "The big pressure was to qualify. When we get to the race, I'll try to hang in there and finish. I'll try to be consistent I don't want to set any records." While relying on his father's ad-Vice all month, Michael also hopes he has learned from his father's experiences. "He's still as hungry as when, he started out and I have pretty much the same hunger. He' wDuld be very competitive when he was younger, and sometimes that &d to a mistake," said Michael. Not to mention disappointment. : SO YOUNG Andretti is not determined to be a rookie winner at Indy at least not at the expense of his better judgment "We'll go out and try to run consistent" he repeated, "in preparation for the race and in the race. I think we can be in the top five." He wouid not duck a chance to win, but "if we're not hooked up (to win), I'll take second," he said. ? As for the day's family woes, Michael shrugged. "He (Mario) didn't want to get his hopes up too high (for a pole position)," he said. - How high his own hopes had been he didn't say, but it's probably safe to say they were realized. CRAIG McKEE Srieva . 1 j5jM . ' ... E y-, ; , Stir pM( Michael Andretti Reacts to run at 207.805 mph N It could have been such a happy time at least until Tom Sneva went out a couple hours later. For the fifth time in his 20 year Speedway career. Mario Andretti had the one-lap track record. No one ever has held it more often. , And he was heading for what seemed like a third pole start in the 500-Mile Race and his first since 1967. In fact it seemed to him that his fourth lap might be his best as he came into the fourth turn. And then, coming out of that fourth turn for the final time, the ignition in the Budweiser Lola quit For the last half-mile, Mario was sitting at the controls of the world's fastest coaster. ' , AFTER THREE laps over 208, he dropped off to a final lap of 202.950 as a result That dropped his 10-mile average to 207.467 slower than son Michael, not on the pole, not even in the first row. In fact the 1969 500-Mile Race winner will be starting the 68th edition of the International Sweepstakes from sixth position, the outside of the second row. "That last straightaway seemed like an eternity," said the 44 year-old . veteran. "I had just got out of the fourth turn when it cut out I thought that might have been my fastest lap it was my cleanest" " ' : The flop at the finish left Andretti a most unhappy Piasano. His comments in the interview area were minimal. And then it was back to the garage for some more cussing and bemoaning of the evil fates that seem to conspire to keep him from getting his just rewards here. Finally, he came to a press conference about an hour later in the Speedway's Conference Room. It hurt he really didnt want to talk to anybody but he came and he managed a slight pained smile. "It's unfair," he said. "It's really cruel. The car can be fixed, but it cant give me back my run. It is the emptiest feeling I've ever felt in a long time." ' STILL, THOUGH, he is in the show and that's the whole idea in qualifying. You hope to do the best you can even get the pole and pick up all the publicity that goes with that But getting in the race particularly in this most competitive of years is what it's really all about "All this is behind us now," said Mario of Saturday's monumental disappointment. "We still have a helluva car for the race." If there were a saving grace to a most unpleasant day for Mario, it was son Michael. The 21 year-old turned in a splendid run in the Electrolux-Kraco March 84C, earning the inside spot in the second row with an average speed of 207.805 mph. "I'm really happy for him," said Mario. "Right now I've got to cool off a bit so I can give him a big smile; "I think he deserves that" DAVE OVERPECK ff wm - " LJ Star Mi by Vkk AlklM Mario Andretti glares at car after qualifying' " Veteran unhappy with 207.467 average for four-lap run Herd's March taking Indy by storm By GEORGE MOORE There have been a number of history making car builders at the Speedway over the years: Harry Miller, the Duesenberg brothers, Art Sparks, Frank Kurtis, A. J. Watson, just to name a few. And Saturday a new one was added to the list The name is spelled Robin Herd, an English race car designer and builder who has become an "Honorary Hoosier" by virtue of establishing a residence in Indianapolis. Herd's March race cars dominated the qualifying for this year's 500-Mile Race and give every indication that one of them is going to win the event on May 27th. THE 1984 March has set the racing fraternity on its respective ear, and with the lone exception of Mario Andretti's Lola, nothing else at the Speedway is even close. Drivers, not especially known to pass out kudos about a race car, have been unanimous in their praise about this piece of racing : stock. Not only do they regard it as a superior vehicle, but one which stands head and shoulders above the 1983 model. How does Herd do it? "Basically, by doing two things," he said. "You design a car to be quicker down the straightaway, and faster around the corner. It sounds simple, but it isn't To do those two things represents a tremendous amount of work." A race car and the daring young man of the flying trapeze have one thing in common. The whole idea is to fly through the air with the greatest of ease, and Herd does that with his race cars by getting everything possible tucked away out of the air stream. TO GET THE car to stick to the track in the corners, he has created a lot of down force. That is accomplished by constructing certain shapes in so-called "tunnels" on each side of the car, with the flow of air through the tunnels being made to create a venturi affect This sets up a pressure differential between the air that enters into the front of the tunnels and the air exhausting at. the rear. Fundamentally, the shape in the tunnel squeezes the air between pavement and the bottom of the tunnel, and the resulting pressure differential creates a sucking condition which pulls the car down onto the track and increases its tractive effort " "We spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel," Herd said. "We actually work with three tunnels in developing different shapes. "Much of the work is in the back of the car around the turbo and gearbox to get everything tucked in out of the air stream. Mechanics hate me, because everything is packaged in a smaller space." IN ORDER to punch a smaller hole in the air, the superstructure of the '84 March has been narrowed by 2 inches. "That doesnt seem like much," Herd said, "but it reduced the drag by 7 percent But with the cube law you only get a third of that" The designer said the major fac- Continued From Page 1 with what we were doing. The only people we wanted to do anything for were the sponsor and the team for their morale. "The only reason we ran a full lap every once in a while was to get the team's morale back up." Some might say that Sneva has a secret about this track that he's not letting anybody else in on. If that's the case, he still isn't letting anybody in on it "1 think h's" more what I know about the car," was Jwn it to that point, Sneva lai ne naa a preuj rr shot at ON 3)0614 andtafter Saturday morning . : practice run when he was quickest - the leeiing was only stronger. " " "AT THAT POINT, weather conditions dictate," aUhettjJpUojwl hi IeWicM formal he said. And because of weather conditions, he would have been happier going either earlier or later than his 2 p.m. run. But Friday night's draw dictated when he would go and he made the most of it There were no big, . overnight changes that made the difference. Just a little less wing on the rear end. "We just really fine-tuned a little more for the weather," he said. "We sawed a little bit more off the wing. . . . ... . "What you do now is if the car feels eood. vou '' just keep taking more wing out of it until it doesnt nore. : -; : TVhat wedid lodry VitfCrun as hard as the . . equipment wanted UgMJ44Jfcittt ,wati, enough." tor making this year's car so stable is that the center of pressure (in the tunnels) stays the same. The condition which he sought was to create a neutral steering race car, one in which the front end didnt tend to push out in the turns or the back end come out and try to put the car in a spin. "A neutral car is essential." he said. "Then you just use the wings to trim it The wings are not meant to give you down force." While the 1984 March is a roaring success, Herd is not resting on his laurels. Work already is under way on the 1985 car. "It's just the same thing all over again," he said. "You want the 1985 car to be quicker on the straightaway and faster in the turns. "YOU RARELY win due to innovation. We're doing lots of work and trying lots of shapes." The success of the March is in part due to its being designed around a given engine, the Cos-worth. That's also essential, as the size and weight of the motor exerts an influence on design configuration. "We're fortunate that the only other engines we have to contend with are the Chevy V-6 and the Buick V-6, and they're like the Cos-worth (from a size and weight standpoint)," Herd said. This month's escalating speeds and horrendous crashes during the practice period and Saturday's qualifications have raised comments about slowing the cars down by making the chassis flat bottomed to remove the down force effort of the current tunnel design. But Herd Bloomington driver hurt in sprint race Bloomington race driver Jeff Thickstun was injured in a spectacular wreck in a 30 lap sprint race at the State Fairgrounds shortly after midnight today and was taken to Methodist . Hospital via helicopter, track officials said. Hospital emergency room per-- sonnel would not reveal the extent of his injuries or his condition. The accident occurred on the 11th lap of the feature which later . was restarted and was won by Joe Saidana with Larry Rice finishing second.. . - Earlier in the program, Ken Schroeder of Fenton, Mo won a 20-lap feature in the Hoosier Sprints at the ,y State Fairgounds Saturday night says he's already on top of that situation and the cars will go just as fast with a flat bottomed chassis. "Our flat bottom design work is all done," he said, "and we're getting the same amount of down force with this design as we are with what we're doing here. With the technology he have, we know how to get this, and the cars will be just as fast" MARCH ENGINEERING has about 100 employees in England working on that technology, but Herd is seriously considering building a wind tunnel facility in India-' , napolis. With he and Mrs. Herd having established residence here, and the 500 obviously constituting a major market for his cars, the En-. glish designer's thinking is to establish an Anglo-American company which would have "a foot on both , sides of the Atlantic." ' : March produces around 60 cars a year, consisting of Indianapolis, formula and sports-racing cars. Over 30 are Indianapolis cars, with a complete racer less engine going for $130,000. : Sherman Armstrong of Winchester, Ind., is the representative for March in the U.S., and Herd . suggested, with a smile, "A Cosworth . costs $48,000, so for $178,000 you can sit on the pole." . v ! The only better seat is in the Hoosier Dome. - You won't miss an exciting moment of Indianapolis Colts " action with a subscription to Colt Report, the only publication devoted exclusively to the Indianapolis Colts and the NFL. Colt Report is a full-sized, color tabloid magazine, with 22 weekly issues from training camp to season's end, plus four post-season issues. . v . .1 Each week you'll find: Comprehensive game coveragein- i depth storiestop columnistscolorful player 5' . . " featurescomplete, meaningful statisticsweekly depth charts . and game previews. ' . . Just fill in the easy subscription form and mail today. You can send payment with your order, or charge it to your credit card-DONT MISS AN EXCITING MOMENT! . ONE YEAR: $19.95 SAVE $5.05 (Con Report FREE (18" x 24") 1984 NFL SCHEDULE POSTER with subscription order! Unrru limitpri nnantitiM Allow 4 WSwert toe ftUwy SAVE $16.05 available at news-stands May 21, 1984.) TWO YEARS: $35.95 SIGN ME UP FOR: : -; - - - 1 year (26 Issues) at $19.95 2 years (52 Issues) at $35.95 I enclose payment . - Please charge my . Mastercard ' VISA Card no. Exp. date Name Address City State Zip Mall to: COLT REPORT, P.O. BOX 5653, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, 46255 OR, CAU 125-5555 ... -(UNES OPEN SUNDAY

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