1988 Budweiser Las Vegas Silver Cup

Boat racers to seek silver in heat on Lake Mead

Many a man has sought his fame and fortune in the mineral-rich mountains of Nevada, but racer Scott Pierce will be seeking silver of a different sort when he spends Friday through Sept. 25 in. the Las Vegas area.

Pierce will lead a group of racing prospectors who will attempt to win the 3rd Annual Budweiser Las Vegas Silver Cup unlimited hydroplane race. Pierce and his cohorts, who will be ending the 1988 URC American Hydroplane Series with the Silver Cup, will be racing their massive thunderboats on the mineral-ladden waters of Lake Mead. But, for this weekend, Pierce and his competitors will hope to glide over the water rather than spend time in its warm embrace.

The 32-year-old Pierce, from Seattle, has driven Jif Peanut Butter's Mr. Pringles hydroplane of Bill Wurster to second place in the overall boat standings with two events remaining on the 1988 schedule.

Pierce is on top of the individual points race as he chases his personal dream of being the individual points champion of the unlimited hydroplane series. So far, Pierce has accumulated 6,169 points, 248 points ahead of second-place Tom D'Eath, who pilots Miss Budweiser. Miss Budweiser leads the boats' title race with 6,721 points, with Mr. Pringles in second thus far with 6,169.

Living proof that nice guys don't have to finish last, Pierce is on the verge of accomplishing a dream that has been part of his family since his father, the late racing innovator Laird Pierce, invented the O-ring sealing gasket used widely today.

Racing has been in the Pierce family for much more than the 32 years that have passed since Laird put his 6-month-old son into the cockpit of a 140-m.p.h., six-liter 266 hydro and turned some fast laps at Long Beach's Marina Stadium.

Scott Pierce has been actively racing since he ran Go Karts at age 5.

Pierce worked his way up the ladder of boat racing and became the youngest driver on the thunderboat circuit when Bill Wurster gave him his first ride in 1981. Pierce finished fourth in the national driving standings and received rookie-of-the-year honors for his efforts in driving Wurster's U-8 boat.

In all, Pierce has won three events in his career. Driving the Executone boat in 1985, he won the Miami Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Trophy, and last year he guided Mr. Pringle's to a Detroit Budweiser Thunderboat Championship.

This year, Pierce turned in his third winning performance in a final race as he won the Budweiser Indiana Governor's Cup in Madison on July 3. That weekend, Pierce and Mr. Pringle's also finished first in one of the heat races and second in the other two.

In the world of unlimited hydroplane racing, where the unexpected usually happens, Pierce has used a relatively consistent performance to put him atop the driver's championship point race.

While the championship is clearly in his sight, Pierce knows the final two races of the season offer-2,800 points (1,200 in San Diego and 1,600 in Las Vegas).

This year's Silver Cup is sponsored by Budweiser through Nevada Beverage in Las Vegas. Additional major assistance for the project has come from Allstate car rental, KLAS-TV, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, KMZQ Radio and Western Coach Service.

Information regarding the Silver Cup race, which is free to the public, can be obtained by calling Las Vegas Events at (702) 731-2115.

(Reprinted from The Los Angeles Times, September 18, 1988)