1970 Horace E. Dodge Cup

Seeking Speed, Bud Third At Detroit

By Jim Hendrick, Sportscaster, WJBK-TV, WDEE, Detroit

Detroit pits, 1970
Detroit pits, 1970

Miss Budweiser showed only flashes of the performance that was to result in a second national championship when she came to the shores of the challenging Detroit River. It was obvious to seasoned observers that the beer wagon team was still searching for the right combination to beat the world's fastest boats.

Driver Dean Chenoweth got around the egg-shaped Detroit oval with the fastest of them during qualification periods, but when the races started, his mount displayed an inability to keep up - with the exception of one heat when Chenoweth literally drove over his head to prove his mettle.

The first heat was nothing short of embarrassing for owner Bernie Little. Budweiser drew into a three way race with Myr Sheet Metal, Miss Owensboro and Miss Madison. That would indicate that the only boat Bud had to beat was Myr.

Not so.

Miss Owensboro outsped the Budweiser on the first lap, sticking within inches of Myr Sheet Metal, and simply ran away and hid from Chenoweth and Miss Bud for five laps, forcing Budweiser to settle for third.

The next time, it appeared Chenoweth was ripe for another skinning. He drew alongside of Owensboro, the speedy Notre Dame and Miss U.S.

Miss U.S. surprised everyone by leading the pack through the first turn and up the backstretch. Budweiser was fighting to stay in third place ahead of Miss Owensboro at this point.

Miss U.S. fell victim to mechanical miseries as the field passed the pits and Notre Dame charged in front.

Suddenly, Chenoweth began to move. He hauled almost even with Notre Dame on lap number two and then, in a nerve racking 106 MPH third lap, drew abreast of Leif Borgersen in Notre Dame.

Chenoweth tacked the Budweiser up to 107 on lap number four while Borgersen slowed to 103 and Chenoweth had his victory margin.

With a first and a third in elimination heats, Chenoweth had little chance to win the marbles. But he still had a solid shot at a first in the final heat to even the score with Bill Muncey and Myr Sheet Metal.

But even that wasn't to be.

Muncey smoked to a 110 MPH first lap and was never in back. Budweiser settled into a comfortable second to wait for another day.

Miss Budweiser scored 925 points for a third place overall finish at Detroit, but even in defeat gave her grooms something to look forward to. Plagued by lack of a competitive propeller, the Miss Bud still rode well in the Detroit water.

It was apparent that, once the Miss Budweiser found a wheel that would make her go, she would give a better account of herself.

The season was half over at Detroit, and Miss Budweiser had won but one race and was a distant second in championship points - some 800 points back of leader Myr Sheet Metal.

A second national championship looked somewhat distant and there was lots of distance to make up.

(Reprinted from Miss Budweiser Press Information Souvenir Magazine 1971)