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GP West

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They pretty much all formed up into a
string, overtaking not being all that easy
and with most drivers concerned about
the long haul anyway. Most, but not all,
apparently: Stuck rammed the tail of
Fittipaldi, putting himself out and
damaging a wheel on the Copersucar and
nearly wiping the battery off too. Watson
did the same discourtesy to Laffite, a nd
had to stop in the Penske pit for a new
nosepiece. That was the third lap.
On the fourth lap Depailler clipped the
turn three barrier and then in turn four
got into a slide, which slowed him up so
that Hunt came alongside.
Unfortunately-says Patrick-the
APRil 3, 1976
AUTOWEEK PAGE 17
gasoline burns. There had been a leak
from the supposedly unused and blocked
off seat tank, and he'd been sitting in a
growing pool of petrol for many painful
minutes.
The scrap behind was gradually won
again by Depailler, who went back into
his old third place. The Ligier Matra was
holding its own with the remaining cars,
its power pulling back on the straights
what it was losing coming out of the
corners with a second gear that was too
tall for the lower end of the power band.
UNIHD STATES GRAND PRIX WEST. LONG BEACH. CALIF.. MARCH
28. 1976
ENTRY AND QUALIFYING
Tyrrell snapped back from its slide into a
counter-slide and bunted the McLaren
into the wall. That put James out of the
race and into such a hot mood that he
walked back uptrack-dead in the racing
line-and shook his fist at Depailler next
time around. Then about three hours later
he had a shouting match with the
Frenchman in the pressroom. More was
perhaps made of this incident than it
really warranted. These things happen.
A pOint for the Copersucar: Flttipaldi (30) finished sixth; Amon (22) did well to get eight.
I -Clay Regazzonl . Ferrari 312T!024. 1:23099. 87.5I mph; 2-
PatllCk Depailier. Tyrrell 007 / 4. 1;23.292; 3-James Hunt. McLaren
M23 / 8. 1:23.420; 4-Niki Lauda. Ferrall 312T/ 023 . 1:23.647; 5-
Tom Plyce. Shadow DN5B/ 2A. 1:23.677; 6-Ronnie Peterson.
March 761/3. 1:24.157; 7-Jean-Plerre Jarier. Shadow DN5B/IA.
1:24.103; 8-Viitorio Brambilla. March 761 / 1. 1:24.168: 9-John
Watson. Penske PC3/001. 1:24.170; lO-Carlos Reutemann.
Brabham 814512 . 1:24.265; ll -Jody Scheckter. Tyrrell 007 / 6.
1:24.344; 12-JacQues lafitt e. Llgler JS5 /0 1. 1:24.442: 13-Carlos
Pace. Brabham 8T45/1. 1:24472; 14-Jochen Mass. Mclaren
M23 / 6. 1:24.541; 15-Mario Andretti , VPJ4B/OOI. 16-
Emerson Flttipaldr. Copersucar Flttrpaldi FD04/ 1. 1:24.779; 17-
Chlls Amon. EnSign NI74-MN02. 1:24.803; 18-Hans Stuck. March
7b1 / 2. 1:25.in 19-Alan Jones. Surtees TS19 / 2, 1:25214; 20-
Gunnar Nilsson. Lotus 77/ 1. 1:25.;>77.
At this same stage Lauda slipped by to
take over second place, and the race as
such was really over. The two Ferraris
simply drove away, leaving the Formula
Fords to scratch amongst themselves and
the Matra and the remaining Alfa. It was a
fine sight for Ferrari fans, but if any
Lauda partisans had any happy
anticipation of a needle match between
the two drivers they had to go without it.
Niki did have plenty of speed in hand
from any other driver, but he' d already
badly flat-spotted his front tires with the
brakes and was having to live with a
strong front-end vibration. Clay by
contrast, for once, had no problems
beyond holding his own concentration.
He simply drove around and around,
carefully and neatly and quickly,
GP Makes Good
The first Time Out
LONG BEACH, Ca.-The inaugural
U.S. Grand Prix West made it the first
time out of the box if estimates from the
Long Beach Grand Prix Association and
the Long Beach Police Department are
close to accurate.
Promoter Chris Pook's attendance
mavens put the three-day crowd estimate
at 147,000 with the race day crowd at
75,000. L-B Deputy Police Chief Wishon
(the man charged with overall
responsibility for security and crowd
control by the city) put the estimate as
high as 100,000 for raceday counting
those on top of buildings and balconies.
While it is certain that many of the
91,000 seats went unoccupied, few good
seats were vacant. Putting the average
ticket price at $20 (the figure given by
Pook), the three-day take was in the
neighborhood of $3 million. One
Association spokesman estimated the
break-even point at 60,000 for race day.
One leftover from the September F -5000
race which needs explaining is the matter
of a $350,000 audited deficit. The loss was
caused by charging off the cost of all the
safety equipment against that race, Pook
sai d. The effect is that the Association
now owns the barriers and the like and
does not have to charge them against the
Grand Prix. It also allows them to carry
VMCCA Forms
Keystone Region
With the approval of the VMCCA
(Veteran Motor Car Club of America)
National Board of Directors the Keystone
Region of VMCCA has been formed.
Approximately 45 members from Ohio
and northewestern Pennsylvania
attended the organizational meeting at
the Holiday Inn in Strongsville. Ohio. a
southwest suburb of Cleveland.
The new region covers most of the State
of Ohio excluding only the nortwest
corner which is served by the Black
Swamp, Defiance and Toledo Chapters of
The Great Lakes Region. Northwestern
Pennsylvania. east to Pittsburgh. North
to New York State and South to West
Virginia is also included.
At the same meeting plans were
approved for the 6th annual 1976 Midwest
National Meet to be held on the campus of
Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea. Ohio,
on August 27, 28 and 29. This is the first
major undertaking of the new region.
for three years a tax loss credit.
The fact that the three-day count is
nearly twice the race day number is no
doubt explained by the numerous other
activities which turned the event into a
pageant of sound, color and excitement.
Foot races, bike races, motorcycle
demonstrations, vintage car racing,
displays, fire works and a parade only
served to hype the excitement of Formula
One cars dragging Main St. , USA.
Despite a larger attendance, Wishon
noted there were fewer incidents
(although one female was arrested and
dragged off after dashing into the middle
of turn 12 10 minutes after the first
qualifying session began on Friday!)
than during the September race.
"I think we got people in and out better.
The Grand Prix people had more control,
more entrances, more bridges-
everything was better organized,"
Wishon said. "We learned a lot the last
time and I think people had a good time.
We learned some more this time and the
next race should be better yet. "
The City's bill to the Association should
be lower too. The cost of police and
overtime was cut considerably when the
Association hired many of its own
security people and the police cut down
on efforts to control the area outside the
circuit. Wishon estimated he used only
150 men for about 4000 man-hours, which
will cost the Association only about
$55.000.
John Queen, a spokesman for the
association. noted that the job now was to
get the city cleaned up and fullfill the
remainder of the contract. Queen said that
Monday morning people were strolling
on Ocean A venue (the pit straight) with
little evidence of the race around them.
"Of course we're waiting for the
complaints from residents to come in,"
Queen said, "But it looks like it will be
much like the last time. We hadfive buses
scheduled to take people out if they didn't
want to stay, and we only used three of
them. It looks like they saw what was
going on and decided to join the fun."
Queen noted that the invocation
stressed worldwide friendship as an
important factor in this event. He said he
thought the race fullfilled its purpose in
changing the Long Beach image:
"The city of Long Beach will shine like
a million dollars on CBS Television next
Saturday," Queen said. "Hundreds of
thousands of people enjoyed themselves
and we'll come out better than Monaco.
This really did it for us!"
building up a cushion over his teammate
of 10 seconds, 12 seconds, and more.
Depailler, still third, spun in the
nearest thing to an Esses (call it turn
eight) and dropped to seventh. That let his
remarkable teammate Scheckter up to
third, and Jody was gradually pulling
away from the scrap going on behind.
-"I'm not interested in this race any more, "
he' d said an hour before the start, after
complaining about how badly his car was
handling, ''I' m just in it for the money."
Sure, sure-from sixth row to third place
and going away! Money can't buy a drive
like that.
But the seeds of destruction were
already sprouting. A little before half
distance as J ody put on the brakes past
the pits, the right front wheel suddenly
cocked at a funny angle. The bottom right
front wishbone had snapped. In a great
cloud of blue tire smoke and dull orange
sparks the Tyrrell slid on into the corner,
only just missing a crunch into a barrier
by inches. The driver leapt out and then
began tearing his clothes off. Not out of
mental anguish, out of physical agony.
As the bare Scheckter stern came into
view it was seen to be brilliant red:
RESUlTS
I-Regallonr. 80 laps or 161.6 miles In 1;53:18.471 for an
average speed of 85 .5lmph; 2-Lauda. 80; 3-0epailler. 80; 4-
Lalltte. 80. 5Mass. 80; 6-Fitt ipal dl . 79; 7-Jarler. 79; 8-Amon. 78;
9Pace. 7/ ; IO-Peterson. 77; ll -Jones. 70; 12-Watson. 69; 13-
Scheckter. 34. suspension; 14-Pryce. 32. half -shaft ; 15-Andrett i.
IS. water leak; 16-Hunt. 3. shunt With Depailler: 17-Stuck. 2, shunt
with Flltlpaldi. 18-Nilsson. Lotus. O. suspenslon/ crash; 19-
Reutemann. O. shunt with Blambilla; 20Brambilla. 0 shunt With
Reulemann.
Also geared too long, after a late change,
were the two Shadows; for Pryce it
stopped mattering when a half shaft
failed, and for Jarier the matter became
academic three laps from the finish when
he lost the three gears between bottom
and top. Also involved in the struggle had
been Peterson, but he had to pit to stop his
brake fluid boiling. Andretti went out
early with a water leak from a snapped
engine casting. Left alone, then, was Mass
out of the Ford runners, and although he
gallantly chased Laffite as hard as he
could there was a bad vibration under
braking and he was merely fifth at the
end.
Continued On Next Page
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