The decision of Championship Auto Racing Teams' directors to bar members from competing in the Van Scoy 500-miler at Pocono Raceway next Sunday has not caused any dearth of entries for that $300,000 event sanctioned by the U.S. Auto Club. More than 33 cars, the starting field, are expected for the one day of time trials Saturday at Mount Pocono, Pa. Still, Josele Garza's three-car outfit and two other CART teams may skip the race.
"We took the action to protect our race in Atlanta, June 28," explained a CART spokesman. "We do not want to harm the Pocono race, but we are promoting the Atlanta race ourselves. We have a sponsor; we have a radio broadcast. We want to make sure we have a full field and we don't feel cars can run a 500-miler and then two 125-mile races on consecutive weekends."
Mike Knight, CART's communications director, agrees it is important that Indianapolis-car racing keep a major event in the East. With Trenton and Langhorne gone, the racers appear only at Pocono and in CART's Watkins Glen, N.Y., road race Aug. 9.
"Dr. Mattoli (Pocono's owner) and CART had a lease deal all worked out last winter to assure Pocono of a top field for several years," Knight said. "Everyone liked it but the bank. They would okay only a one-year lease and that isn't long enough for a successful promotion, so the deal died."
Malcolm Currie, longtime manager of the Watkins Glen Grand Prix course, has been working 14-hour days almost single-handledly preparing for the championship doubleheader there July 11-12, and not knowing how long he will be retained in his position. It seems the Glen's bankers think someone else might be able to do a better job. There are liquidators who can clear places out, but none has experience to match Currie's in putting people on a race track.
He will have a Can-Am for modified sports-racers July 11 followed by the final round in the World Endurance Championship for sports cars, a six-hour race, the next day. Entries already have been received from Porsche and defending champion Lancia.
Gov. Hugh Carey of New York is trying to persuade the state legislature to give the Glen, a community-owned track, economic assistance. A $2 million package is proposed. The basic problem with the historic track is the departure of the U.S. Grand Prix from its schedule. That was its big moneymaker and there is nothing at hand to replace it.