1977 Jack-in-the-Box Regatta

1977 San Diego

by Craig Fjarlie

Mickey Remund won the 1977 National Championship and, in something of a surprise, won the Jack-In-The-Box Trophy Race, too.

Ten boats arrived in the San Diego pits. Atlas Van Lines topped the qualifiers with two identical laps of 129.310 around the 2y mile, salt water oval. Miss Budweiser was next at 123-626. The speed range bottomed out with Oh Boy! Oberto at 97.614. The twin Ford-powered Miss O'neil & Knudsen didn't make the field.

Referee Bill Newton conducted the drivers' meeting without a blackboard, to the consternation of Tad Dean. The two top qualifiers were separatee by the draw. The Beerwagon would face Squire, Miss Van's P-X, Oh Boy! Oberto, and Oh Boy! Oberto in heat 1A. Atlas would go against Natural Light, Starvin Marvin's and Dionysus, running as "Pacific Datsun", in 1B.

* * *


Wurster took the bouy line at the start of 1A and reached the first corner out front. BUD and Squire quickly moved him back to third. Van's P-X and Oh Boy! Oberto trailed. Remund kept his lead to the finish, Hanauer held on for a respectable second. Van's P-X and overtook Oberto, but both went dead in the fourth lap, leaving Wurster to finish third at his own pace.

1) Miss Budweiser, 111.221

2) Squire, 109.144
3) Oh Boy! Oberto, 83.893

Oh Boy! Oberto DNF
Miss Van's P-X, DNF

* * *


Tom Martin took Dionysus out of the pits first for heat 1B, but the engine quit after half a lap with carburetor vapor lock. Muncey started the heat all alone. For some reason, when the gun fired, Starvin Marvin's and Natural Light were still milling on the backstretch. Muncey won the heat without a hint of competition, lapping Starvin Marvin's and drawing within a quarter lap of doing the same to Natural Light.

1) Atlas Van Lines, 112.754
2) Natural Light, 93.613
3) Starvin Marvin’s, 83.581
Dionysus, DNS

* * *


The three top qualifiers were drawn together for heat 2A. Atlas Van Lines blew away the field, finishing nearly half a lap ahead of Miss Budweiser. Squire took third. Oh Boy! Oberto popped a blower on the last lap, and Starvin Marvin's never got out of the pits.

1) Atlas Van Lines, 118.671
2) Miss Budweiser, 110.402
3) Squire, 105.584

Oh Boy! Oberto, DNF. Starvin Marvin's DNS. Muncey set a lap record of 122.763, (lap two), fastest competition lap ever turned on the Mission Bay coiuse. His heat average was a world record for a 12-1/2 mile heat on a 2-1/2 mile course.

* * *


Mlss Van’s P-X withdrew before the start of heat 2B. Dionysus had a dead battery. Oh Boy! Oberto looked doubtful. Natural Light milled the course alone. Just in the lick of time, Snyder got the U-? going. Everything clicked, and he took the lead ±t the start. The crowd was with Snyder, cheering as he extended his lead with each lap. Going into the last turn, something went wrong with the OX. Snyder was off plane and slowing. As the U-7 reached the exit buoy, Natural Light was diving into the corner. When less than two buoy lengths separated the boats, Snyder found some extra beans and Oh Boy! Oberto accelerated toward the finish line. Benns was a close second. As the cheering crowd returned to its seats, one veteran observer remarked, "Snyder never even heard of Mira Slovak!"

1) Oh Boy! Oberto, 105.018
2) Natural Light, 103.567
Dionysus, DNS
The P-X, w/d

* * *


A six boat final was scheduled. Since Oh Boy! Oberto had a better heat speed than Starvin Marvin's, Wurster (with 225 points) was awarded the sixth slot in the final. He joined Atlas Van Lines (800), Miss Budweiser (?00), Natural Light (600), Squire (525), and Oh Boy! Oberto (400). Starvin Marvin's (225) was the alternate.

Wurster took the course first, but shut down in the infield. He had only ten pounds of oil pressure, and elected to save his equipment by waiting until just prior to the one-minute gun to restart. The rest of the iield, including the alternate, took to the course. Wurster restarted, the one-minute gun fired, and Squire went dead. Since all six legal final heat entrants were running when the one-minute gun sounded, Jon Peddie should have returned to the pits. He didn't. Instead, Starvin Marvin's joined in the run to the line. Officials disqualified the U-6.

Wurster again took the inside, Oh Boy! Oberto lane two and Atlas lane three. Budweiser was a roostertail back with the disqualified Starvin Marvin's trailing. Muncey crossed the line wide open, with Snyder on his hip.

As the boats came out of the first turn, Muncey was nowhere to be seen. Budweiser sprinted up the backstretch first, with Oh Boy! Oberto second. Finally, someone spotted the Atlas, dead in the water at the apex of the first turn.

Oh Boy! Oberto gave valiant chase to Budweiser. Remund's engine was sick, running without ADL. In the third lap, just when it appeared Snyder would catch Remund, Oh Boy! Oberto died of fuel starvation.

Remund slowed noticeably during the remainder of the heat, and Benns, in second, crept closer to his teammate. They finished three buoy lengths apart. Starvin Marvin's physically finished the heat third, but was awarded no points. Oh Boy! Oberto gave up the ghost on the final backstretch, a boiling engine run to its limit.

1) Miss Budweiser, 100.156
2) Natural Light, 97.890
Oh Boy! Oberto
Oh Boy! Oberto, DNF
Atlas Van Lines, DNF
Squire, DNS
Starvin Marvin's DISQ

— Unlimiteds Detroit