1973 Season Summary
|1||May 20||Champion Spark Plug Regatta||Miami, Florida|
|2||June 2-3||Presidents Cup||Washington, D.C.|
|3||June 17||Kentucky Governor's Cup||Owensboro, Kentucky|
|4||July 01||Gar Wood Memorial||Detroit, Michigan|
|5||July 8||Indiana Governor's Cup||Madison, Indiana|
|6||July 22||APBA Gold Cup||Pasco, Washington|
|7||August 5||U.I.M. World Championship||Seattle, Washington|
|8||September 2||Clearwater Cup||Toledo, Ohio|
|9||September 9||National Champions Regatta||Detroit, Michigan|
|20-May||Pay 'n Pak (4)||Jim Lucero||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|03-Jun||Lincoln Thrift||Bill Boat||Jim Lucero||Fred Wickens||Allison|
|17-Jun||Miss Budweiser (7)||Tom Frankhouser||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|01-Jul||Miss Budweiser (7)||Tom Frankhouser||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|08-Jul||Pay 'n Pak (4)||Jim Lucero||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|22-Jul||Miss Budweiser (7)||Tom Frankhouser||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|05-Aug||Pay 'n Pak (4)||Jim Lucero||Room Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|02-Sep||Pay 'n Pak (4)||Jim Lucero||Ron Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|29-Sep||Miss Budweiser (7)||Tom Frankhouser||Lucero-Jones||Ron Jones||Rolls Merlin|
|Built||Boat High Points||Total|
|1||1973||Pay 'n Pak (4)||9663|
|2||1970||Miss Budweiser (7)||9388|
|3||1971||Atlas Van Lines (5)||6288|
|7||1972||Miss Madison (3)||4136|
|9||1973||Miss U.S. (5)||2463|
|10||1965||My Cupiee (2)||2231|
|11||1972||Notre Dame (9)||1763|
|12||1971||Red Man Too||1538|
|14||1962||Ms. Greenfield Galleries||712|
|16||1972||Valu Mart II||225|
|18||1973||Miss Lapeer (2)||DNQ|
|Driver High Points||Total|
Over the winter Bernie Little bought the Pay'n Pak from Dave Heerensperger to insure a winner after being blanked in 1972. Heerensperger had ordered a new Pay'n Pak from Ron Jones. The new Pak featured hexcel construction which is light, but still strong and a rear wing to keep the stern up while going through a corner.
The Schoeniths continued with their Atlas Van Lines the defending Gold Cup and High Point Champion. Miss Madison was partially wrecked in its third race of 1972 and really didn't have a chance to show what it could do.
The new Pay'n Pak won the first race of the season at Miami.
Miss Budweiser had engine trouble, but showed an ability to keep up with Pay'n Pak. Atlas Van Lines beat the new Pak in the final heat -- a heat win that was not necessary for the Dave Heerensperger entry to take the Champion Spark Plug Regatta. Atlas Van Lines fastest lap was 5 m.p.h. behind Pay'n Pak, however last year she was only one m.p.h. behind as was Miss Budweiser this year at Miami.
Lincoln Thrift, an attempt by Fred Wickens to duplicate the present Pay'n Pak-Budweiser turned a lap 2 m.p.h. off the pace at Pasco last year. At Miami she was nine m.p.h. behind the leader and driver George Henley was replaced by Gene Whipp. The Lincoln Thrift was still four m.p.h. behind the fastest entry at Washington, D.C., but won the Presidents Cup anyway.
Lincoln Thrift won heat 1-A and had engine trouble in heat 2-A taking 625 points into the final heat - not within shouting distance of Pay'n Pak with 800 points. Fortunately for Lincoln, the Pay'n Pak ran back in fourth place during the final and the U-29 defeated Miss Budweiser for first place and the regatta.
The Lincoln showed an ability to run in front of both Budweiser and Pay'n Pak in the preliminary heats as well as in the first and second running of the final heat. The hydro world was stunned as Pay'n Pak had the fastest lap at 113 m.p.h. to 109 for Lincoln Thrift.
Atlas Van Lines was next at 111 m.p.h. Miss Budweiser was a second place boat at the Presidents Cup.
As abruptly as George Henley had been replaced at Miami, Gene Whipp resigned his seat in the Lincoln Thrift after winning the Presidents Cup. Basically the Lincoln was a precarious although winning ride and Whipp did not want to push his luck.
Miss Budweiser then won all three heats to take the Kentucky Governor's Cup however she jumped the gun in her first heat and received fourth place points. Miss Budweiser's path to victory was greased by Pay'n Pak failing to start the final heat. Lincoln Thrift now driven by Andy Miller showed an ability to run with the Pak in heat 2-A in which both jumped the gun. Atlas Van Lines was three m.p.h. off the pace.
Miss Budweiser won again at Detroit beating Pay'n Pak in two of three heats. Andy Miller could not keep pace and he was ultimately replaced in Lincoln Thrift by Danny Walls. Atlas Van Lines also could not keep pace, but Bill Muncey stayed in the cockpit.
Pay'n Pak bounced back to win at Madison when Budweiser faltered twice in the championship heat. Both the Pak and Budweiser had entered the final with 800 points. Atlas Van Lines ran 5 m.p.h. short of Pay'n Pak.
Pay'n Pak beat Budweiser easily in heat 1-A of the Tri-Cities Gold Cup and was leading in the final heat when she went dead in lap 2. This gave the Gold Cup to Miss Budweiser. The losing Pay'n Pak had a 119 m.p.h. competition lap with Budweiser and Atlas at 116. However Atlas could not get by Budweiser in heat 3-A.
At Seattle the Fan Plan was run for the only time in 1973.
As a result Pay'n Pak and Miss Budweiser would meet in a three heat battle that would go down as one of the greatest confrontations in the history of Unlimited Racing. Atlas Van Lines did not have the temerity to even enter the fast flight of competition.
Miss Budweiser and Pay'n Pak dueled throughout heats one and three. Miss Budweiser won heat one, but Pay'n Pak won the winner-take-all final heat when it counted. In the second heat Pay'n Pak got off to a bad start and Budweiser led until expiring.
The hydros next stop was Toledo, Ohio for the Clearwater Cup.
The course was very narrow at 500 feet instead of the desired 1200. and thus should have favored Atlas Van Lines, who was having a terrible year simply being outclassed by Pay'n Pak and Budweiser.
Once more Budweiser and Pay'n Pak entered the final heat with 800 points. They dueled for a couple of laps in this heat until Budweiser faltered giving Pay'n Pak another win. Atlas Van Lines was again about 5 m.p.h. off the pace.
For the final regatta of the season the fleet went back to Detroit. This was the first time since 1961 that Detroit had staged two regattas. Pay'n Pak had 8638 points with Budweiser second at 8188 in the High Point contest. Pay'n Pak therefore had to stay healthy to prevail as National Champion.
This is what Pay'n Pak did again tying Miss Budweiser with 800 points going into the last heat of the season. By scoring these points Pay'n Pak had clinched the National High Point Championship.
In the final Pay'n Pak got off to a bad start and that was the story of the contest as Budweiser won easily. Miss Budweiser won the National Champions Regatta ironically as Pay'n Pak was National High Point Champion by 375 points.
Miss Budweiser, the former 1971-72 Pay'n Pak, was a hybrid of the ideas of Jim Lucero and Ron Jones. The new Pak was a Ron Jones design with input from Jim Lucero that had a rear wing and was 1300 lbs. lighter than her predecessor. Owner Dave Heerensperger thought his boat was superior, but Budweiser was only one m.p.h. slower in winning four races just like the Pak. The one consolation for Heerensperger was that when his boat got the inside, Budweiser could not keep up.
Atlas Van Lines, the boat that had dominated in 1972, just could not keep up with the Ron Jones designs in 1973 possibly for the reason new skid fin technology allowed the Jones hulls to effectively turn a tighter arc than in 1972. In competition lap times at best she was down 2 m.p.h. to Budweiser and 3 m.p.h. to Pay'n Pak. This made her about 1 m.p.h. faster than in 1972.
It is arguable that a driver like Ron Musson could have overcome this deficit as Musson defeated Muncey in 1960 with a stock Allison and in 1961 with a rather unruly hull. At the time Muncey was driving the Rolls Merlin Miss Thriftway in her High Point Championship seasons. Muncey gave this kind of performance in 1964 with Notre Dame ironically defeating Musson in Miss Bardahl en route to one of her National High Point Championships. Performances of this calibre are rare in Unlimited Racing.
[Statistics from Greene, V.2]