1976 Jack in the Box Regatta

Schumacher Captures Race after Muncey Jumps Gun

SAN DIEGO — (Special) — Billy Schumacher may never again carry a shoehorn with him.

Schumacher, the driver of the Olympia Beer unlimited hydroplane, "forgot my lucky shoehorn" for the first time in many a month yesterday and won the Mission Bay regatta without it.

The Seattle driver used "a little even-the-score strategy" at the start of the winner-take-all final heat and a little luck at the conclusion of it to win the final thunder-boat race of the season.

Schumacher trailed Atlas Van Lines, driven by Bill Muncey, through the final heat but officially was a lap ahead of the La Mesa, Calif., veteran since Muncey was penalized a lap for crossing the starting line too soon.

"I got him wet two or three times before the 1-minute gun and it seemed to upset him enough that he went across the line early," Schumacher said. "I think he lost his concentration.

"I believe in evening the score," Schumacher added. "I was chopped off royally in the second heat, and it upset me tremendously. I decided then that in the final heat I would even the score. There was nothing illegal about it. I just outmaneuvered him."

Muncey, who earlier this season clinched the national championship, set a lap record of 121.294 miles an hour during the final heat and lapped another boat, Oh, Boy! Oberto, to wind up in third place,

Miss Budweiser, gaining on Olympia at the finish, wound up second after moving into the spot vacated when Miss U.S. went out with a blown engine in the fourth lap.

Schumacher said his straightaway speed dropped from about 160 m.p.h. to "80 or 90" through much of the final lap after the wheelhousing connected to his engine’s blower broke.

"Normally, when that happens you stop," he said. "I was just lucky the boat continued to run."

The victory was the second of the season for the Oly boat, which may be replaced by a new craft next year.

Schumacher’s luck stuck through-out the regatta — in the opening heat his boat was in second place, behind Jerry Bangs in Miss Vernors, until the ginger-ale boat threw a rod.

Bangs escaped with minor burns when his boat burst into flames near the finish of the first lap, while Schumacher sped past to win the heat.

Heat 1A — Olympia Beer, Billy Schumacher, Seattle, 110.051 miles an hour; Miss Van’s P-X, Jack Schafer, Jr., Santa Ana, Calif., 100.089 m.p.h.; Ms. Management & Business Seminar, Bob Miller, Everett, no speed available. Miss Vernors, Jerry Bangs, Seattle, did not finish (blown engine, first lap). Barney Armstrong’s Machine, Chip Hanauer, Seattle, did not start.

Heat 1B — Miss Budweiser, Mickey Remund, Palm Desert, Calif., 116.249 m.p.h.; Atlas Van Lines, Bill Muncey, La Mesa, Calif., 113.522; Miss U.S., Tom D’Eath, Fair Haven, Mich., 110.919; Oh, Boy! Oberto, Bill Wurster, Seattle, 81.389.

Heat 2A — Miss U.S., 107.066. Armstrong’s Machine, D.N.F. (cracked supercharger casing, third lap). Ms. Management, D.N.F. (blown supercharger, first lap). Oberto, D.N.S.

Heat 2B — Atlas, 116.913; Budweiser, 114.011; Olympia, 102.226. Van’s P-X, D.N.S.

Final heat — Olympia, 107.682; Budweiser, 106.939; Atlas, 96.858; Oberto, no speed available. Miss U.S., D.N.F. (blown engine, fourth lap). Van’s P-X and Ms. Management, D.N.S.

Final 1976 point totals — Atlas 9,750, Olympia 6,896, U.S. 6,725, Budweiser 5,702, Miss Madison 4,074, U-7 (Ms. Everett) 1,894, Vernors 1,744, Sunny Jim 1,669, Ms. Management 1,482, Van’s P-X 750, Probe 694, Miss North Tool-Owensboro’s Own 338, Armstrong’s Machine 238, Oberto 338, Spirit of Dayton-Walther 300.

 

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, September 20, 1976)