1977 Gar Wood Memorial

1977 Gar Wood Trophy

by Jim Dunn

A full day of racing action was provided in front of an estimated crowd of 375,000 along the Detroit River June 26th as the Spirit of Detroit Association presented two races in one program.

The main feature, of course, were the season's high field of eleven unlimiteds who competed for the Gar Wood Trophy Race. The other attraction was the running of the Governor's Cup Invitational for Grand Prix limited hydros, won by Terry Turner in Uncle Norman's Lauterbach Special over 13 other grand prix entries . The Grand Prix's ran on a special 1⅔ mile course, and helped round out an afternoon of exciting racing action that made the day go faster. Turner, incidentally, also drove for UDer Brian Keogh in Pat O'Grady's Lakeshore.

Here's how the unlimited action went:

Heat 1A: U-5, U-13, U-50, U-64, U-66

Tom Sheehy in Natural Light led the field into the first turn with Jerry Bangs in Pat O'Grady's Lakeshore and rookie Steve Jones in Mike Gordon's Seafoods (ex- Gemini) on his hip. Leaving corner number two, Esquire drew alongside Natural Light and battled down to the Roostertail turn. Leaving the number four corner, Sheehy gunned ahead of Bangs and led the rest oi the way. Gordon's Seafoods died on the third lap while running third and eventually withdrew from the race.

Finish: U-13, U-64, U-50, U-66, U-5 DNF

* * *

Heat 1B: U-1, U-6, U-7, U-12, U-22

The expected duel between Atlas and Budweiser never materialized as Muncey rolled to 123 plus mph on the first lap and was never headed. Bud settled into second in a parade heat. Tom Martin, driving Tad Dean’s Bruno's Appliance, completed three laps before conking.

Finish: U-1, U-12, U-7, U-6, U-22 DNF

* * *

Heat 2A: U-1, U-12, U-7, U-64, U-70

Only four boats hit the starting line as Pat O'Grady's, replacing the withdrawn Gordon's Seafoods, never left the pits. The first two laps gave the fans what they wanted. With Budweiser on the inside, the two hot boats raced side by side with Atlas gaining slightly. Leaving the Belle Isle turn, Muncey's machine was too much as Bud slowered. Esquire passed North Tool on lap four and held third.

Finish: U-1, U-12, U-64, U-7, U-70 DNS

* * *

Heat 2B: U-6, U-13, U-22, U-50, U-66-

Sheehy took Natural Light over the line first in a slow, sloppy start and was never headed. Miss Madison, with rookie Jon Peddie, needed a second place finish to gain entry into the final and got it. Bruno's Appliance finished 3 laps and was black flagged with a holed sponson.

Finish: U-13, U-6, U-50, U-66, U-22 DNF

* * *

Final: U-1, U-13, U-12, U-64, U-6

As in earlier heats, Muncey started wide and led a wide open start down to the first turn. Reaching the backstretch, Muncey took the lead immediately and pulled away. Remund, with obvious problems in the Bud, ran second until lap 2 when he was passed by the Esquire and eventually the Natural Light. On lap 3 Bangs scorched the entire left side of the engine and tried to finish on six cylinders, losing out by ten seconds. Madison passed her on lap 4, finishing fourth.,

Finish: U-1, U-13. U-12, U-6, U-64 DNF

The consolation race was scheduled, but only two boats, Probe and City Of Kent (U-66) , came out - Referee Bill Newton sent them back to the pits as three starters are necessary for a legal start.

Gar Wood Trophy Race
June 26 Detroit
1. Atlas Van Lines 1200
2. Natural Light 1100
3- Miss Budweiser 825
4. Miss Madison 638
5. Miss Esquire Products 525
6. Probe 450
7. Miss North Tool 394
8. City Of Kent 338
X. Bruno's Appliance  
X. Mike Gordon's Seafood  
X. Pat O'grady's Lakeshore  


— Unlimiteds Detroit