Tom Frankhouser

Tom Frankhouser

by David Greene

Tom Frankhouser got involved with hydro racing in the early 1960's with Miss Exide. After the Exide crew moved over to the Miss Budweiser in 1966, Tom served as a crewman under crew chief George McKernan until the latter retired after the 1971 season. Then Frankhouser became crew chief for the first time. Although his first year as a crew chief was without a victory, in 1973 a new Miss Budweiser won four victories and nearly took the High Point Championship from the lighter Pay 'n Pak. In 1974, the Budweiser again took four victories, but did not come close in the race for the High Point Championship. 1975 brought only two victories to the Bud team as the trusty Pay ‘n PakBudweiser had a lot of miles on her.

A new Miss Budweiser was brought on the circuit and proved to be the fastest boat of 1976, but flipped in Detroit, causing it to be off the circuit for several races. This severely jeopardized the camp's prospects for a National Championship, although they did win at Seattle. In Frankhouser’s final year the boat ran without missing a heat to capture the High Point Championship. This was all the more remarkable since the Bud only won three of nine races and was a 1974 design. Tom Frankhouser then retired in favor of Dave Culley.

(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, March 1985)