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The Racer's Racer Wins at Home
Long Beach, California, April 3rd
Despite financial and organisational difficulties, the Californian city of Long Beach once again held its street race at the start of April, although the surroundings are hardly as glamorous as they are in Monaco. The United States Grand Prix West is the name of this Formula One event, the fourth round of the 1977 World Championship, as distinguished from the Watkins Glen race which goes under the title of United States Grand Prix pure and simple. Even though the surroundings in Long Beach are a little bit makeshift and dingy, the Long Beach Grand Prix Association has shown a commendable degree of enterprise in staging this race and tackle the whole job with irrepressible enthusiasm and verve. Incidentally, two former American Formula One drivers of considerable repute, Phil Hill and Dan Gurney, are well to the fore on the organisational side in Long Beach and were to be seen taking an active part in proceedings over the weekend.
There had been several driver changes on the Formula One front since the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami. The Shadow team had drawn its breath again after the body-blow inflicted by Tom Pryce's death and they had signed up Australian Alan Jones to run alongside Zorzi for the rest of the season. Last year Jones was a member of the works Surtees team, but left at the end of 1976 to concentrate on a diverse programme of sports-car and single-seater events in different categories under the patronage of wealthy Hong Kong enthusiast Teddy Yip. When the Shadow offer came up, Yip very kindly released Jones from his obligations to allow him to return to Formula One full-time. To replace Pryce's DN8/2A, which was totally destroyed in the Kyalami accident, the Northampton based team had built up a brand new chassis (DN8/3A) for Jones to drive while Zorzi continued to rely It the original DN8/1A.