1970 APBA Gold Cup
Miss Budweiser Wins It All!!
By Bill Center, San Diego Union
On the morning of the 1970 Gold Cup, Dean Chenoweth shared a laugh with a Miss Budweiser crewman in the pits along San Diego's Mission Bay.
But it was short and the crewman remarked to a visiting journalist that "Dean's not like himself today.
"He really wants the Gold Cup and everything that would go with victory today. He's really tight, though. I don't know how he'll do."
He need not have worried.
On a day when breezes stirred the normally protected Mission Bay waters early favoring the Budweiser team's main rival — Bill Muncey and Myr Sheet Metal — Dean Chenoweth stood Unlimited Hydroplane aficionados on their ears.
He won. The Gold Cup, the national driver championship and the national boat championship for Bernie Little. He captured everything including the backing of a majority of the 70,000 fans lining the shores.
Chenoweth turned adversity into triumph.
In the day's first heat, Miss Budweiser ran second to redhot Notre Dame piloted by Leif Borgersen. In the second heat, Chenoweth and Muncey nearly had a tete-a-tete on turn 1 .
But, it was Chenoweth's day and he wasn't to be denied. Not only was Miss Bud running well, her stiffest competition was not.
Myr, which led the national races by a slim 27 points over the Bud team entering the day, didn't even make the finals. Muncey was penalized one lap for cutting off Chenoweth in the second heat collision (the boats bumped slightly as Myr cut in front of Bud) and lost his blower assembly in the third heat.
Exit Myr and Muncey.
Then there was the matter of Notre Dame. Chenoweth and Bud met that challenge head on in the finale, the Gold Cup Heat.
Miss Madison entered the championship heat tied with Miss Bud with 1,100 points while Notre Dame had 1,025. Miss Madison, however, had a fire in her cockpit as pilot Jim McCormick flashed her past the finish line for a third straight heat win. She was on the line for the finals, but she wasn't running up to her previous standards.
So it was Notre Dame and Miss Budweiser, with the former still holding an outside chance at both national titles, besides the Gold Cup, should Budweiser not finish.
For 1¼ laps it was sponson to sponson, one of the most exciting races of several seasons. Then, trying to keep pace coming out of turn 1 on lap 2, Borgersen got Notre Dame off balance. The 25-year-old pilot masterfully got the boat back on course, but Chenoweth and the Red Raider were gone, far up the backstretch toward victory.
"I knew I had it," said Chenoweth, "so I backed off and came in easy." The speed was Bud's best of the day, 101.848.
"I don't know what I hit," Borgersen said. "All that I know is that the boat got sideways, then up on one sponson."
It wasn't the happiest of weeks for Chenoweth or the Unlimited fraternity. On Wednesday driver Tommy (Tucker) Fults had been killed in a freak accident when Pay 'n Pak's Lil Buzzard pitched violently under a boat wake.
"Sometimes . . . sometimes you discover what living is all about," Chenoweth said in the pits after winning. "I'm just learning."
(Reprinted from Miss Budweiser Press Information Souvenir Magazine 1971)