1971 Season Summary
|1.||May 23||Champion Spark Plug Regatta||Miami, Florida|
|2.||June 5-6||President's Cup||Washington, D.C.|
|3.||June 13||Kentucky Governor's Cup||Owensboro, Kentucky|
|4.||June 27||Horace Dodge Memorial||Detroit, Michigan|
|5.||July 4||APBA Gold Cup||Madison, Indiana|
|6.||July 25||Atomic Cup||Pasco, Washington|
|7.||August 8||Seafair Trophy||Seattle, Washington|
|8.||August 15||Oregon Emerald Cup||Eugene, Oregon|
|9.||September 25-26||Atlas Van Lines Trophy||Dallas, Texas|
|5/23||Miss Budweiser (6)||George McKernan||Ed Karelsen||Ed Karelsen||Rolls-Merlin|
|6/6||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith Bill Cantrell||—||Rolls-Merlin|
|6/13||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith Bill Cantrell||—||Rolls-Merlin|
|6/27||Miss Budweiser (6)||George McKernan||Ed Karelsen||Ed Karelsen||Rolls-Merlin|
|7/4||Miss Madison (2)||Tony Steinhardt||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|7/25||Miss Madison (2)||Tony Steinhardt||Les Staudacher||Les Staudacher||Allison|
|8/8||Pay'n Pak (3)||Jim Lucero||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls-Merlin|
|8/15||Pay'n Pak (3)||Jim Lucero||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls-Merlin|
|9/26||Pay'n Pak (3)||Jim Lucero||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls-Merlin|
|Built||Boat High Points||Total||Team High Points|
|1.||(1968)||Miss Budweiser (6)||7821||(1)|
|2.||(1960)||Miss Madison (2)||7238||(2)|
|3.||(1970)||Pay'n Pak (3)||7217||(3)|
|4.||(1971)||Atlas Van Lines (5)||5726||(4)|
|5.||(1969)||Notre Dame (8)||3544||(6)|
|6.||(1967)||Hallmark Homes (1)||3394||(5-3563)|
|7.||(1968)||Atlas Van Lines II (2)||2869||(7)|
|9.||(1970)||Miss Timex (2)||1928||(9)|
|12.||(1962)||Smyth Smoother Mover||1079||(12)|
|14.||(1964)||Budweiser Malt Liquor||619||(14)|
|15.||(1967)||Miss Van's P-X||584||(15)|
|16.||(1971)||Hallmark Homes (2)||169||(16)|
|Driver High Points||Total|
A marketing survey that was conducted in the off season revealed a good deal of fan dissatisfaction with the sport. The general complaints seemed to be:
1) a lack of boat to boat competition
2) too much time between heats
3) a lack of meaningful qualifying and
4) an anti-climatic final in which the winner did not get the trophy.
As a result the "Fan Plan" was adopted which was really an adaptation of the Donogh Plan of 1961. Competitive qualifying would determine that equivalent boats would run against each other. Being in the fast flight would be worth more points per position than the slower flights. The final would be a winner-take-all event composed of three entries from the fast flight, two from the middle flight and one from the slow flight.
Since under the new format boats would not run in successive heats, they could be scheduled every 30 minutes. This would eliminate the hour and a quarter between heats one and two under the random draw system. Also under the draw system a non-competition heat could result.
The Fan Plan differed from the Donogh Plan in that the same boats would not run against each other all day long. Also the Donogh Plan did not have a winner-take-all final heat. The Fan Plan would cost a sponsor $5,000 more prize money - only two of the nine race sites signed up.
The traditional format also benefited from the winter meetings as now there would be compulsory qualifying at all events which would put some life into the days before the race. In addition the amount of time between heats as opposed to sections between heats would be reduced.
Interest in staging the Gold Cup reached an all time low when Madison, Indiana got the race for $30,000. Madison was the only bidder. Previously the race had gone for as high as $75,000.
Atlas Van Lines switched their sponsorship from Bob Fendler to the Schoenith family. This resulted in the Schoeniths building a lighter version of Myr Sheet Metal.
Pay'N Pak also made a change that was more dramatic than Atlas Van Lines. Their auto powered hull had been a disappointment both with regard to powerplant and riding characteristics. Crew Chief Jim Lucero changed from twin Chryslers to a Rolls Merlin and reversed the cabover cockpit to a conventional set up. It was an open question as to how things would work out. Billy Schumacher replaced Ron Larsen as driver.
Champion Miss Budweiser stood pat. Notre Dame replaced Leif Borgersen with Billy Sterett who had distinguished himself in 1970 driving Miss Budweiser II and Miss Owensboro. Miss Madison was no longer running a stock Allison getting considerable help from Harry Volpe, who worked with driver Jim McCormick when he was with Harrah's Club. The former 67-68 High Point Champion Miss Bardahl was bought by Tony Mulherin, who hired Leif Borgersen as driver.
Miss Budweiser picked up where she had left off in 1970 and won the first Champion Spark Plug Regatta at Miami. Budweiser had meagre opposition in winning two elimination heats and waxed Hallmark Homes, who also had 800 preliminary heat points, in the last heat before Hallmark went dead in the water. The new Atlas Van Lines did not complete a heat at Miami and Pay'N Pak did not complete a lap since she spun out before heat 1-B injuring driver Billy Schumacher.
After four years of sponsorship Atlas Van Lines got its first victory at the President's Cup. Atlas had the fastest lap by 3 m.p.h. and parlayed one impressive heat win over Budweiser and Hallmark with two second places for the ultimate victory. Miss Budweiser beat Atlas once in heat 1-A, but otherwise was not a front runner.
Pay'N Pak proved to be a good second place boat while Notre Dame had a mediocre race and missed the final heat. Hallmark Homes was back in the pack in the elimination heats before winning the final. Miss Madison won both her preliminary heats besting such boats as Pay N' Pak, Notre Dame and Hallmark Homes. In the final she was hosed down and placed fourth.
Notre Dame posted the fastest lap at Owensboro and won her two preliminary heats against contenders Atlas Van Lines, Pay N' Pak and Hallmark Homes. However in the final she was wet down and failed to finish.
Atlas Van Lines took the race by again only winning one heat. Pay N' Pak won the final heat after placing as low as third in the preliminaries. Hallmark Homes had trouble getting out of last place during the regatta.
The Fan Plan was first tested at Detroit in the Horace Dodge Memorial. Miss Budweiser won her first heat and dominated the field in the final when the Atlas Van Lines entries faltered. The heavy Atlas Van Lines II (ex-Myr Sheet Metal) had won both her preliminary heats in the slow section and had the fastest lap by 7 m.p.h. on the rough Detroit River.
Both Atlas Van Lines I and Notre Dame were rated at 108 m.p.h. prior to the Gold Cup. Since Atlas had won two races in contrast to Notre Dame with no wins, she was the favorite to win the Gold Cup.
Miss Budweiser had also won two events, but was pegged in the 103-105 m.p.h. class along with Miss Madison, Pay'N Pak, Hallmark Homes and Atlas Van Lines II.
In somewhat of an upset Miss Madison, not a front runner in the elimination heats, came on to win the final and the Gold Cup from her chief opposition Atlas Van Lines II. This Atlas had beaten the Madison four times in heat confrontations prior to the Gold Cup final.
The Madison victory had been facilitated by Atlas Van Lines I, who had 5 m.p.h. on the field that day, being penalized in heat 1-B for fouling the field before losing a sponson in heat 3-A. Driver Bill Muncey had been penalized twice in 1970 for cutting off his opponents, but at Madison he was able to water down two boats at one time - a first in Unlimited Racing. Now Muncey was on a three race probation with another violation causing him to be suspended from the sport.
Hallmark Homes had been eliminated in heat 1-A after being legally wet down by Muncey. This however resulted in her hull being damaged beyond repair. Pay 'N Pak, Miss Budweiser and Notre Dame gave sub par performances.
The hydros then headed west for the Tri-Cities Atomic Cup and Miss Madison won again. Once more she was not a front runner in the preliminary heats, but got out in front in the final and when Pay 'N Pak with a perfect score of 800 points went dead trying to catch her the victory was assured. Atlas Van Lines beat Miss Madison in heat 2-B before losing to her in the third heat. Miss Budweiser blew in the first heat thereby failing to make the final. Notre Dame was back in the pack most of the race.
A very competitive field headed for Seattle for the second test of the Fan Plan: Atlas Van Lines (109.4 race lap). Pay 'N Pak (108.9), Miss Madison (107.3), Miss Budweiser (107.1) and Notre Dame (108.6). Like the Miss America VII of long ago. Hallmark Homes built a new boat in less than a month to compete at Seafair.
Pay 'N Pak dominated the field at Seattle to win the race not once but twice. The Pak got off to a bad start in her heat one and was beaten by Miss Budweiser. Thereafter the Dave Heerensperger entry won every time out including the first and second running of the final heat*. The second running was made necessary by the third place Notre Dame stuffing her nose in during the last lap of the first running.
Ironically Atlas Van Lines was wet down in her heat one and rammed in heat two to miss the final. Miss Budweiser was the no. 2 boat with regard to speed, but just couldn't get by the Pay 'N Pak when it counted. Miss Madison was a sick cowgirl in the secondary race and failed to make the winner-take-all championship heat. The new Hallmark Homes was not as good as the old one.
Pay 'N Pak won again at Eugene, Oregon - this time she took all three heats. Driver Billy Schumacher made it interesting by not making the best starts, however finally prevailing. Miss Madison - #2 in speed - was second all day long.
Miss Budweiser had mechanical trouble in heats two and three, nevertheless beating the substitute Atlas Van Lines (ex-Myr Sheet Metal) in heat 1-B. The sub Atlas had trouble with Bob Gilliam's Valu-Mart in heat 2-B.
The final regatta of the season was scheduled for Dallas, Texas. Bill Muncey was off probation and had his #1 Atlas back. The Atlas was rated at 109.4 while Pay 'N Pak, which had made its reputation while Muncey was on probation, was pegged at 109.7. The other contenders Budweiser and Madison labored in their shadow.
Pay 'N Pak took on Atlas Van Lines in all three heats and won two of them to win the regatta. The Pak lost the final heat to Atlas when she didn't have to win to capture the overall victory. Nevertheless both boats posted laps at 109 m.p.h. The record of 112.2 was still held by Pak driver Billy Schumacher's former mount the 67-68 Miss Bardahl.
Miss Budweiser however won the High Point Championship by about 600 points over Miss Madison. Pay 'N Pak clearly the boat of the year was 21 points behind Miss Madison.
[Statistics from Greene, V.2]