1972 Season Summary
|1.||June 4||Champion Spark Plug Regatta||Miami, Florida|
|2.||June 11||Kentucky Governor's Cup||Owensboro, Kentucky|
|3.||June 25||APBA Gold Cup||Detroit, Michigan|
|4.||July 4||UIM World Championship||Madison, Indiana|
|5.||July 8-9||Presidents Cup||Washington, D.C.|
|6.||July 23||Atomic Cup||Pasco, Washington|
|7.||August 6||Seafair Trophy||Seattle, Washington|
|6/4||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith||Bill Cantrell||Rolls Merlin|
|6/11||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith||Bill Cantrell||Rolls Merlin|
|6/25||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith||Bill Cantrell||Rolls Merlin|
|7/4||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith||Bill Cantrell||Rolls Merlin|
|7/9||Pay'n Pak (3)||Jim Lucero||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|7/23||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith||Bill Cantrell||Rolls Merlin|
|8/6||Atlas Van Lines (5)||Jim Kerth||Cantrell-Schoenith||Bill Cantrell||Rolls Merlin|
|Built||Boat High Points||Total|
|1.||(1971)||Atlas Van Lines (5)||8300|
|2.||(1970)||Pay'n Pak (3)||5725|
|3.||(1968)||Miss Budweiser (6)||5223|
|5.||(1967)||Miss Timex I||3097|
|7.||(1972)||Notre Dame (9)||1821|
|9.||(1972)||Miss Madison (3)||1394|
|11.||(1971)||Miss Van's P-X (2)||938|
|14.||(1962)||Smyth the Smoother Mover||190|
|16.||(1970)||Miss Timex II||000|
|Driver High Points||Total|
|14.||Bill Sterett Sr.||400|
Two race sites were lost at the end of the 1971 schedule, which meant that the season would end August 6 - the earliest in history. This was counterbalanced by Gold Cup bids being up with Detroit getting the regatta over several other cities.
Pay'N Pak was the pre-season favorite, but it was an open question as to whether her wide turning propensities would suit the eastern race courses. Washington, D.C., the fifth event on the tour, would be the first good Pay'N Pak course. In contrast Atlas Van Lines was the equal to Pay'N Pak at least on the basis of competition lap times and didn't need a wide berth to make a turn.
Shirley McDonald nevertheless ordered a new Notre Dame from Ron Jones and got Dean Chenoweth to drive it. Madison on the other hand bought a new hull from the Schoeniths. Miss Budweiser matched Pay'N Pak's best lap in 1970 and exceeded it in 1968 by 2 m.p.h.
Terry Sterett was set to drive the boat in place of Dean Chenoweth.
Atlas Van Lines and Pay'N Pak each won their preliminary heats at the opener in Miami tied at 800 points for the championship heat. Atlas Van Lines got inside of Pay'N Pak at the start, turned a tighter arc through the turn and was away up the backstretch. Pay'N Pak, set up for a wider arc, could not deal with the Atlas on the tight course at Miami. Miss Budweiser had mechanical problems and didn't finish a heat. The new Notre Dame and Miss Madison failed to impress as the second year Atlas Van Lines won the Champion Spark Plug Regatta.
Unfortunately for Pay'N Pak the turns at the next race at Owensboro were even tighter than at Miami. Unlike Miami, Atlas Van Lines and Pay'N Pak ran all three heats together in the Kentucky Governor's Cup. Atlas beat Pay'N Pak in heat 1-A, but got off to a poor start in 2-A and was defeated by the Pak. In the final Pay N' Pak made the bad start and Atlas Van Lines took another regatta.
Pay'N Pak was running the same laps as last year. Atlas Van Lines was four m.p.h. faster. All the other "contenders" were out of the ball game.
The Detroit River - home of the Gold Cup for 1972 - had the biggest turn in Unlimited Racing on one side of the course and the smallest on the other. This should have played to the Pay'N Pak's advantage since she had only one small turn to deal with at Detroit for which she was compensated at the other end of the course.
However the water was rough, and not to Pak driver Billy Schumacher's liking. In fact he and owner Dave Heerensperger suggested moving the course established around 1908 to another site in the Detroit area.
In the good old days in the early 30's complaints from the English moved the Harmsworth Trophy course from the Detroit River to Lake St. Clair close to Detroit and then to the St. Clair River many miles from the Motor City. In due course the boats returned to the "River" in front of the Detroit Yacht Club. To verify the Pay'N Pak conclusion Miss Madison was damaged in qualifying. Notre Dame and Lincoln Thrift were banged up during the racing.
Atlas Van Lines won the Gold Cup in four straight heats giving driver Bill Muncey Gold Cup win #5 tying him with Gar Wood.
No other entry could come close to the high flying Schoenith family entry. Pay'N Pak was second even though being defeated by Miss Budweiser in one heat.
Next the boats traveled to Madison, Indiana for another U.I.M. World Championship. The fleet was down three entries due to the aforementioned carnage on the river. Unfortunately the race course was flooded and full of debris. However on race day all the drivers except Billy Schumacher were satisfied that the course was raceable due to debris clearance. Champion Budweiser pilot Bill Sterett took over the reins of Pay'N Pak for the regatta.
As a consequence of the small field, Madison was not able to run the Fan Plan. Atlas Van Lines captured her first two heats and had not serious antagonists for a potential overall victory. After a number of hours the final heat was cancelled and Atlas was awarded the trophy. There had been a number of postponements due to debris on the race course, poor visibility, and rain. In fact the whole regatta had been postponed two days due a debris filled Ohio River.
Pay'N Pak driven by Bill Sterett had matched Atlas Van Lines' best lap at Madison at 107 m.p.h. albeit on 600 foot turns. Previously the Pak had been two, four and 9 m.p.h. back of Atlas. The Pak crew was behind driver Billy Schumacher initially in his decision not to race, but after a regatta with no incidents and a good performance by their boat, the crew no longer supported him. Schumacher headed for California.
Pay'N Pak needed another chauffeur and the best available Bill Sterett wanted to stay retired after his stint at Madison.
Bill Sr. then suggested Bill Jr., late of the Notre Dame, as his replacement. The junior Sterett was not in his father's class, but probably was the best available pilot.
Fortunately for Billy Sterett Jr. the following event was Washington, D.C. with two big 1200 foot turns. Atlas and Pay'N Pak were really the only boats in the race - it being no surprise that both had 800 points heading into the final championship heat.
Pay'N Pak started the last heat inside of Atlas Van Lines.
Due to the wide turns this was possible. However after a battle of a couple of laps. Atlas got the inside. This proved to be a bad move for Atlas as when the two leaders encountered Pizza Pete in the initial turn of the final lap, the Schoenith entry got some rough water to run in and Pay'N Pak was away clean.
This was the difference in the heat and the race as Pak owner Dave Herrensperger finally got his first win of 1972. In lap times Atlas Van Lines was still the swifter by nearly 2 mp.h. - the same margin as at Miami.
The next race was at the Tri-Cities which also had two large turns as well as smooth water. Pay'N Pak and Atlas were again tied at 800 points heading into the final. This time Pay'N Pak easily defeated Atlas Van Lines in the final until Pizza Pete spun out throwing her driver into the water. The heat was halted with the leading Pay'N Pak 1000 feet from the finish line.
In the re-run Pay'N Pak dropped her bow heading for the starting line and plowed to a stop. With Pay'N Pak out, Atlas Van Lines had an easy time and gave the Schoeniths yet another victory. Again Atlas Van Lines had the fastest lap by 2 m.p.h. over Dave Heerensperger's boat. Lincoln Thrift, the experimental auto powered Atlas Van Lines of 1970 - now with a turbo charged Allison also posted a lap about 2 m.p.h. behind Atlas Van Lines giving her quite a tussle in heat 1-B.
Prior to the last race of the year at Seattle, Pay'N Pak turned a lap of 125.870 on a three mile course. She was nearly five m.p.h. faster than in 1971. Atlas Van Lines did 123.007 m.p.h. The top lap for a Ted Jones-style hull was 120.940 m.p.h. In the regatta run under the Fan Plan Pay'N Pak did not make it past the first turn and Atlas Van Lines had its sixth triumph in seven races.
At the end of the 1971 season keen observers determined that Pay'N Pak could significantly out corner any boat in history due to the Lucero-Jones design. However the lap speeds did not verify this and there was a question as to the Pak's turning ability on the narrow eastern courses.
The 1972 season had now gone by and there was still a question as to how the Atlas and Pay'N Pak would match up at Miami, Owensboro, Madison and Detroit. The Pak's run to glory in 1971 and to a lesser glory in 1972 was on at least 1200 foot courses. The eastern courses on average were about half as wide.
Atlas Van Lines had been able to best Pay'N Pak consistently by about 2 m.p.h. in competition lap times. In qualifying the Dave Heerensperger entry was about 5 m.p.h. faster both on a 2½ mile and 3 mile course. However in the last two heat confrontations Pay'N Pak won - the last time by a considerable margin. As a consequence the jury was still out on which was the best overall hull.
One thing was certain. The old Ted Jones and Ed Karelsen designs could no longer cut it against the boats of Ron Jones and the Schoeniths.
[Statistics from Greene, V.2]