1979 Season Summary

Statistics

1. June 10 Champion Spark Plug Regatta Miami, Florida
2. June 24 Thunder On The Ohio Regatta Evansville, Indiana
3. July 1 Spirit Of Detroit Trophy Detroit, Michigan
4. July 8 A.P.B.A. Gold Cup Madison, Indiana
5. July 15 El Dorado-Bluestem Regatta El Dorado, Kansas
6. July 29 Columbia Cup Pasco, Washington
7. August 5 Squire Seafair Trophy Seattle, Washington
8. September 3 Golden Spike Governor's Cup Ogden, Utah
9. September 16 Jack-In-The-Box Regatta San Diego, California

 

  Winner Crew Chief Designer Builder Engine
6/10 Atlas Van Lines (9) Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
6/24 Atlas Van Lines (9) Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
7/1 Atlas Van Lines (9) Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
7/8 Atlas Van Lines (9) Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
7/15 Atlas Van Lines (9) Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
7/29 Atlas Van Lines (9) Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
8/5 Atlas Van Lines (9) Jim Lucero Jim Lucero Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
9/2 Squire Shop (2) Bob Espland Dave Knowlen Norm Berg Rolls Merlin
9/16 Miss Circus Circus (2) Jim Harvey Dave Knowlen Norm Berg Rolls Merlin

 

  Built Boat High Points Total Team Points
1. {1977) Atlas Van Lines (9) 9600 (1)
2. (1979) Miss Circus Circus (2) 6769 (2)
3. (1976) Tri-City Tile & Masonry 4713 (4)
4. (1972) Dr. Toyota (2) 4524 (5)
5. (1979) Miss Budweiser (11) 4250 (3-5494)
6. (1979) Squire Shop (2) 4000 (6)
7. (1967) Miss Van's P-X (1) 2819 (7)
8. (1966) Miss Kentuckiana Paving 2201 (11-957)
9. (1973) Miss Orange County 1192 (8)
10. (1978) Tempus 1185 (9)
11. (1975) Candyman 1032 (10)
12. (1957) Precision Marine 873 (12)
13. (1973) Miss Madison (4) 619 (13)
14. (1971) Detroit Radiographics 254 (14)
15. (1970) Electricraft 127 (15)
16. (1971) Whatcom Lady 000  
17. (1972) Miss Burien Hobby DNQ  
18. (1977) Century 21 DNQ  
19. (1962) Evergreen Roofing DNQ  
20. (1976) Miss O'Neil & Knudsen DNQ  

 

  Driver High Points Total
1. Bill Muncey 9600
2. Steve Reynolds 6769
3. Jack Schafer Jr. 4713
4. Bob Maschmedt 4524
5. Dean Chenoweth 4250
6. Chip Hanauer 4000
7. Ron Armstrong 2819
8. Jon Peddie 2201
9. Chuck King 1192
10. Chuck Hickling 1185
11. Terry Turner 1032
12. Tom Martin 873
13. Milner Irvin 619
14. Brian Keogh 254
15. Bob Miller 127
16. Steve Jones 000

 

1979

The situation was rather bleak following the 1978 season -- in essence the Atlas Van Lines was the only boat out there. Even the Miss Budweiser organization which had become the all time team with 29 victories could not mount a challenge.

Fortunately for Unlimited Racing the Budweiser team came back with a vegeance purchasing a new Ron Jones hull and hiring nonpareil Budweiser driver Dean Chenoweth. It was a cabover as the Atlas Van Lines had established this form as the only way to go.

Previously Budweiser was to have ordered a new hull from Norm Berg with Dave Knowlen as designer, but had opted for Ron Jones who had not built an Unlimited in four years. Norm Berg, who built the present Atlas, and designer Knowlen did get orders from Circus Circus and Squire Shop however.

Circus Circus, a gambling casino and hotel chain in Nevada, had much money to pour into its racing team. Their Berg hull was light with hexcel construction, however they were taking a flyer with a rookie driver Steve Reynolds and a rookie crew chief Jim Harvey. Most new drivers needed at least a season before they were ready to win.

Squire Shop, on the other hand, had chosen wood construction. This would make the hull heavier and presumably slower. Unlike Circus Squire had an experienced chauffeur with a demonstrated potential in Unlimited Racing in the person of Chip Hanauer. They also had Bob Espland as crew chief. Espland had experience as a crew chief, but had never been a winner.

The new Miss Budweiser was not completed in time for the opening race at Miami due to defective materials. As a consequence Atlas Van Lines had only the Circus Circus and her inexperienced driver and crew chief to deal with. Squire was ready, but would not join the tour until mid season.

Miss Circus Circus spun out in her initial confrontation with Atlas Van Lines in heat 1-A at Miami. In the final she hooked again in the first turn and followed Atlas Van Lines up the backstretch in third place. This was all Bill Muncey needed for yet another triumph.

At Evansville Circus Circus won a preliminary heat from the Atlas Van Lines when the latter made a bad start. Nevertheless at the finish Circus was nearly caught by the Bill Muncey entry. In the championship heat Muncey did not make the same mistake and won easily.

Miss Circus Circus driver Steve Reynolds again showed his inexperience at Detroit by nearly hitting the seawall coming off the roostertail turn as well as jumping the gun in heat one. However in his next heat, Reynolds led before throwing a prop on the initial backstretch. This put Circus out for the day and Atlas Van Lines cruised to another triumph.

The Gold Cup at Madison was next with the new Budweiser and Squire Shop joining the circuit for this most prestigious trophy.

Atlas Van Lines had four m.p.h. on the field and beat Miss Circus Circus in the championship heat although the latter took heat 2-B when Bill Muncey did not make a good start. Miss Budweiser and Squire Shop were many m.p.h. off the pace.

The following event was at El Dorado, Kansas about 30 miles outside Wichita. Only five boats showed up for the race. Miss Circus Circus had the fastest competition lap of the regatta and won heat one, but had engine trouble in the crucial final heat. Atlas Van Lines still had 5 m.p.h. on the new Miss Budweiser and took another first place with little trouble.

In contrast to the eastern races that for the most part drew fields of under 10 boats, sixteen entries showed up at the Tri-Cities for the Columbia Cup. Atlas Van Lines annexed the trophy, but not without some stiff competition from the new Miss Budweiser. Miss Budweiser had the fastest lap by three m.p.h., however she was not a stable ride. Atlas Van Lines, Miss Circus Circus and Squire Shop were in the next speed echelon down from Budweiser. This gave the sport four competitive entries.

At Seattle's Seafair Atlas Van Lines triumphed once again. Nevertheless it was only after Miss Circus Circus jumped the gun in the final heat. Circus driver Steve Reynolds was over the line by 15 feet at the gun finishing the five laps ahead by 7 seconds-losing the Seafair Trophy by a technicality. Atlas beat Budweiser in their duel for second by three seconds.

After being flighty in her first heat. Miss Budweiser became a stable ride in winning heat 2-A over Miss Circus Circus. Squire Shop had engine trouble in both of her heats at Seattle.

The hydros returned to Ogden, Utah after 14 years for the Golden Spike Regatta. Again the winner of the championship heat beat the gun. Miss Budweiser led Squire Shop by 27 seconds at the end of five laps however the Squire Shop - 5 m.p.h. slower than the Bernie Little entry - got the victory.

Miss Circus Circus threw a prop in heat 2-A and did not run in the last heat of the day. Squire Shop although not as fast as Atlas Van Lines swapped victories with the latter in the preliminary heats. Miss Budweiser beat Miss Circus Circus in both their elimination heat confrontations.

Miss Circus Circus was again beaten by the Miss Budweiser twice in the preliminary heats at the final race of the year at San Diego. However when the latter entry and Atlas Van Lines had trouble in the championship heat. Miss Circus Circus was able to get the best of Squire Shop. Squire was running ahead of Circus in the final and then had engine trouble as she had in her heat one. At any rate Circus Circus got their first win in Unlimited Racing.

Unlike 1978, 1979 produced three different winners. Atlas Van Lines and Miss Budweiser were very close being rated at 129 m.p.h. Circus and Squire were about three m.p.h. back although Miss Circus Circus showed front running speed at Seattle.

[Statistics from Greene, V.2]