1976 Kentucky Governor's Cup

Muncey Easily Scores 36th Career Win

Owensboro, Ky. — (Special) — For Bill Muncey, it was a rather relaxed, routine Sunday drive.

Winning came more easily than usual for thunderboating’s winningest driver yesterday as Muncey steered Atlas Van Lines to victory in each of his three heat races in the Kentucky Governor’s Cup regatta.

Muncey, 47, has won four of the past six unlimited-hydroplane races here and now has 36 career victories over the past 20 years.

"It really was no contest. In fact, if it was downright monotonous," observed one spectator after the race. "The only, real excitement came in that first heat."

Jerry Bangs of Seattle, driving [Miss] Vernors, held a 7-second lead over the second-place-boat as he approached the final turn in Heat 1A. As Bangs’ boat faltered, Tom D’Eath pushed the Miss U.S. across the finish line first.

The Vernors caught fire, evidently because of a fuel-line problem, about 20 yards short of the finish line. While Bangs put the fire out, the boat drifted away from the line and never crossed it.

D’Eath, who finished second behind Muncey in the winner-take-all final, argued that his boat was cut off by the winner; but race officials disallowed the protest.

Tom Martin of Mercer Island, Wash., driving the Miss Budweiser, finished third, followed by Ron Snyder in Miss Madison. It was the highest finish ever for Martin, who replaced Tom Sheehy as Pete LaRock’s driver. The "Bud" is the U-95 hull which was leased by Budweiser backers while their own boat is undergoing repairs.

Muncey has moved out to a 1,825-point lead in the national-championship standings. After five races, the Atlas has compiled 5,725 points, compared to 3,900 for the second-place Miss U.S.

Yesterday’s results:

Heat 1AMiss U.S., Tom D’Eath, Fair Haven, Mich., 100.089 m.p.h.; Miss Madison, Ron Snyder, Piqua, Ohio, 92.669 m.p.h.; Owensboro’s Own, Roger D’Eath, Miami, 86.839 m.p.h. Vernors, driven by Jerry Bangs, Seattle, did not finish.

Heat 1BAtlas Van Lines, Bill Muncey, La Mesa. Calif , 99.060 m.p.h.; Miss Budweiser, Tom Martin, Seattle, 90.144 m.p.h.; Olympia Beer, Billy Schumacher, Seattle, 70.192 m.p.h. Vagabond, driven by Bob Miller, Everett, Wash., did not finish.

Heat 2AAtlas, 103.448 m.p.h.; Miss U.S., 100.604; Budweiser, 93.536; Olympia, 79.503.

Heat 2BMadison, 85.633 m.p.h.; Vagabond, 65.217. Vernors and Owensboro’s Own [II], did not start.

Final heatAtlas, 104.387 m.p.h.; U.S., 100.446; Budweiser, 93.206; Madison, 89.127; Olympia, 83.924.

Regatta pointsAtlas 1,200, U.S. 1,000, Madison 869, Budweiser 750, Olympia 519, Vagabond 300, Owensboro’s 225, Vernors O.

Season point totals Atlas 5,745, U.S. 3,900, Olympia 3,544, Budweiser 2,977, Madison 2,859, Myr Sheet Metal 1,669, Probe 694, Vernors 638, Owensboro’s Own-Miss North Tool 450, Sunny Jim 394, Vagabond 300.

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, July 12, 1976)