Rene Arnoux of France is after his third straight 1980 win in today's Long Beach Grand Prix.
Driving a turbocharged Renault, Arnoux has 18 points to lead the Formula One standings, with Alan Jones of Australia second with 13 and Brazilian Nelson Piquet third with nine. Defending champion Ferrari driver Jody Schekter has yet to score a point.
This is the last race Goodyear will supply gumball tires for qualifying to its 23 Grand Prix drivers. These sticky but short-lived tires permit fast times for a few laps so drivers can earn good starting positions during the timed practice sessions. That's very important on the short, narrow Long Beach course. Goodyear had not supplied the gumballs the three earliers races this year, allowing Renault and Ferrari drivers using Michelin rubber to claim the top starting places. After this race, gumballs will be totally banned.
Bill Scott, Tom Milnar and Trowbridge Littleton of Middleburg, Va., have purchased the two-mile Summit Point, W.Va., road course for an undisclosed amount. Scott and Milnar operate Scott's driving schools and other racing-related businesses from their McLean headquarters.
First Sports Car Club of America meet at the track near Charles Town is April 19 and 20. Motorcycles and karts also will race there this season.
Porsche has built a special car for this year's Indianapolis 500, on May 25. Intended for driver Danny Ongais, it may not make the race because it needs a little more "boost."
The German team originally wanted to race under U.S. Auto Club rules and were told, they say, that the USAC would allow sufficient boost for the turbocharged engine. So, it was tested using 54 inchest of boost. Then USAC informed Porsche the rules would allow only 48 inches.
The Porsche engine's design does not permit easy changes in turbocharging pressure. The lower boost is not enough to make the car competitive, so it may miss Indy unless USAC bends a little. USAC has indicated it might.
There is still not settlement on the USAC versus CART (Championship Auto Racing Teams) dispute, though John Cooper, the Indy Speedway president, has been pressing the groups to accept his compromise proposal. It would set up a separate body just to supervise Indy-type car races, with the speedway putting up a sizable prize fund to encourage acceptance of the program.
Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas opens it 30th season Saturday night, April 19. Two classes of stock cars will be raced over the 3/8-mile paved track, late models and street stocks. Maryland International Raceway, the drag strip at Budds Creek, Md., will open its Saturday night schedule that night with a match race between Grumpy Jenkins and Don Nicholson, both frequent national champions.
No word on the revival of racing at the Beltsville half-miler. It was dark all last season. The dirt quarter-mile Dorsey (Md.) Speedway will open its season in late April, as it has for more than 25 years.