Chuck Thompson

Chuck Thompson [1985]

Chuck Thompson got his start in the outboards and was recommended to the Dossin brothers by Clell Perry. After struggling with the first Miss Pepsi it 1949, Thompson came into his own in 1950 with the Hacker designed twin engine Miss Pepsi built by Les Staudacher. Thompson would have won the 1950 Silver Cup had he not reported to the race committee that he missed a buoy during one heat. Chuck made up for this miscue by winning the President's Cup. Pepsi's heat and lap speeds at the President's Cup were three and four m.p.h. faster than the Slo-Mo-Shun IV was able to post at Las Vegas a month and a half later on a comparable 2½ mile course.

In 1951, Thompson could not keep up with the Slo-Mo-Shun V at Seattle, but was able to sweep the four races in the east to win the National High Point Championship. Thompson passed the Slo-Mo V in the 1952 Gold Cup, when the latter lost power, but still could not win the cup. Again Chuck Thompson consoled himself by winning three races in the east to chalk up his second consecutive High Point Championship.

After this, Chuck began campaigning his own boat Short Circuit and then Miss Detroit. During this period he handled the Miss Pepsi at selected races in 1955-56. He would have won the 1955 President's Cup with the Pepsi, had he not been disqualified for jumping the gun in the final heat. With the Tempo VII - Short Circuit - Miss Detroit, Thompson won three races in four years from 1957 to 1960 against, for the most part, eastern boats. The next phase of Chuck Thompson's career began when he was hired to drive the Tahoe Miss.

Thompson won a race a year for the team until 1965. In that year, he won two races and generally was the main competition for the Miss Bardahl. Unfortunately, in 1966 Chuck Thompson crashed and died trying to win the Gold Cup, the one trophy that eluded him during his career. He was also quite a crew chief, performing that function on all of his wins on the Miss Pepsi, as well as his own boats, giving him 11 victories with a .183 winning percentage.

(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, March 1985)