OCTOBER 16, 1976

AUTOWEEK

PAGE 15

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Continued From Preceding Page camping in the mud, the delicious warmth proved that Pagan Man was on the right track with his Sun-worship. The better to dry their sopping wet sleeping bags, clothes and hair, the Pagans at the Bog sacrificed another Chevrolet. The greasy black smoke rose above the bright autumnal foliage into the hard blue sky, where a steady string of helicopters fed VIPs into the circuit's heart. At the gates whole hordes of new spectators were jamming up, brought out by the change of weather. It looked like a beautiful racing day. At half past noon the F1 circus was allowed out for a 30-minute warmup. Needed in the icy air, it wasn't any effective substitute for the missing day of practice. That was over and gone, ("The same for everybody," the F1 crowd likes to say about conditions they hate,) the only thing now was to set the cars on full tanks for the race. Hunt, saying his car was "All right, I suppose," and that the track surface was, "All right, I suppose," was quick in the warmup, but so were Lauda and Peterson. J ames was acutely interested to know just how full their tanks had been. The gi ven answer in both cases was brimfull. For Hunt, on the pits ide of the grid, so very much depended upon his getaway. He could afford painfully little of his personal urge for caution with his clutch. Should anyone, even a "fellow Englishman," get in front from the start it would be like points torn from his hungry grasp. The start, given by green light, was beautifully clean. Everyone in the frontmost visible rows moved off at the same instant. But the Tyrrell on the outside front row got fractionally better bite and Scheckter definitely forged ahead of Hunt. The McLaren did stay close all the

USGP

The Pack, led here by Vittorio Brambilla, shows the fans at the Glen all about Formula One racing.

way though and James, two March noses and a Ferrari nose just behind the corners of his eyes, was neatly into the apex in second place-better than he might have been. J ody was the front of the race from James, with Vittorio heading teammate Ronnie and fifth man Niki. Clutch slip had cut Hans Stuck's sixth grid place

back to almost last, but Patrick Depailler was eager to profit and led John Watson, Mario Andretti, and Jacques Laffite. At the end of the first lap the first nine had already broken away a little from the 10th man, who was Carlos Pace leading narrowly from Clay Regazzoni, JochenMass and Tom Pryce. At the end of the second lap a pattern was gelling. Scheckter was out 1.7 seconds to the good from Hunt, but Brambilla

had fallen 2.7 seconds behind Hunt, and the way everyone next along crowded up behind the orange car-we've seen that before-it looked like it was going to be just a two-man race for a while anyway. Lauda cut the frustration as short as he could, getting by Peterson into fourth on the next lap and forcing his way by Brambilla on the fifth lap. Once clear in third, his disadvantage to Hunt was 5.8 Continued On Next Page

Pkk

Running free and clear, all alone and in front: James Hunt and the Mclaren M23.

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American Teams Have Their \ Problems At The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.-Brett Lunger came out the best of the American drivers in the American race-11th. As at Mosport, his Chesterfield Surtees was just not competitive. Brett quit what practice there was early when his engine went onto seven cylinders, and he went into the race even more poorly prepared than his rivals. Gross over steer and balky gearbox held him down to simple endurance driving. Mario Andretti stood on the grid on the morning of the race saying thickly, "Hell. I'm so damn disappointed." He'd wanted badly to score at Watkins Glen, but nothing had gone anything like right. Practice was too short to tune out an understeer condition-"This car is so critical to set up, it's so easy to go too far and get a vicious over steer, I just didn't make big enough changes." -and he was an almost hopeless 11th on the grid. Not hopeless: Mario was fifth into the first corner! But on the next long straight three other cars blew by his JPS, and he found his engine wouldn't pull over 9000 rpm. Trying harder than he should have to go fast anyway, he retired after bending his front suspension on the curbs at the Scheckter Chicane. So it's going to take another year for Mario to win at home. The First National City Bank Penske team suffered a pretty miserable practice with the weather catching them out badly, but John Watson made up for it in the race with a stirring drive despite a sluggish engine into sixth place. The Tabatip Shadow team started the weekend off well enough with Tom Pryce recording fastest time in the wet practice, but dry-track handling proved elusive dond after struggling along in the middle of the race Tom's work came to a merciful but useless end when his engine blew its brains out.

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