1978 Spirit of Detroit Trophy

1978 Spirit of Detroit

Bill Muncey made it four in a row as he swept the three Mid-western races and recorded career victories number 46, 4? and 48. His Atlas Van Lines hydro could do no wrong as it skipped along to easy wins at Detroit and Madison, sandwiching his 7th Gold Cup triumph at Owensboro in between.

The race for the Spirit of Detroit Trophy, held June 25 on the Detroit River, left little doubt that the Unlimited field has been outclassed by a superior Jim Lucero design as the Atlas swept two elimination heats and held off a last lap charge by Chip Hanauer in The Squire Shop. Here, in capsule form, is how the Detroit race panned out:

Heat 1-A:

The water was extremely rough. Squire Shop and U-96, running as Pat O'Grady's II, went over the line together as U-66, named Miss Detroit Radiographics, had to slow up or jump the gun. Hanauer took off and ran away from the field. Miss Madison did not start, floating in front of the judge's stand. Tom Martin in the U-66 held second before stalling at the end of lap 2, allowing U-96 to go by. U-66 restarted and chased Chuck King, passing him at the end of lap 5 for second place. FIN: U-64, 400; U-66, 300; U-96, 225; U-6, DNS.

Heat 1-B:

Three drivers gave "thumbs down" on the rough water, but Referee Bill Newton ordered a start anyhow. Atlas flew to the front on the outside and was never headed. Miss Budweiser outran Probe thru the first turn and held second. North Tool plowed around in fourth place. Probe's engine soured on lap 2. Steve Jones gunned the North Tool past Probe at start of lap 5. Muncey won by a mile, FIN: U-00, 400; U-1, 300; U-7, 225: U-50, 169.

Heat 2-A:

Once again, Squire and U-96 blasted to the front with Hanauer taking the lead on the inside. King held back in second, always within striking distance. Martin's U-66 held a steady third and North Tool did not start. Hanauer won by about 200 yards. FIN: U-64, 400; U-96, 300; U-66, 225; U-7, DNS.

Heat 2-B (1st running):

In a flying start, Snyder in Miss Budweiser cut across the field from the outside, forcing Atlas to swing outside and Madison to be swamped out temporarily. Atlas led out of first corner, outduelling Bud and Probe. Near the end of lap 2 Bud's left sponson came apart at the seam, so Snyder jumped into the water and the heat was stopped.

2-B (restart):

Atlas went thru the motions and easily defeated Madison and Probe. Bud was ineligible for restart. FIN: U-00, 400; U-6, 300; U-50, 225; U-12, DNF.

Final Heat:

Atlas sped to a one-lap clocking of 117.519 mph, fastest of the day, on lap one. Squire Shop held second, followed by Probe, Pat O'Grady’s II and Miss Detroit Radiographics. Muncey's lap speeds diminished as the heat wore on, but Hanauer remained consistent. By the last lap, Squire was pushing 110 while Atlas coasted at 98. U-66 stalled coming out of the last turn of her fourth lap. Muncey came out of the turn to finish the race and had to cut outside to avoid hitting Martin's boat. Hanauer, in the meantime, had caught up and was heading for home. Muncey punched his nitrous button and shot over the finish line a mere boat length ahead. FIN: U-00, 400; U-64, 300; U-50, 225; U-96, 169; U-66 DNF.

Spirit of Detroit Trophy Race Final Standings
1. U-00 Atlas Van Lines Bill Muncey 1200 Pts.
2. U-64 The Squire Shop Chip Hanauer 1100
3. U-50 Probe Bob Miller 619
4. U-96 Pat O'Grady’s II Chuck King 694
5- U-66 Miss Detroit Radiographics Tom Martin 525
6. U-L Miss Budweiser Ron Snyder 300
7. U-6 Miss Madison Jon Peddie 300
8. U-7 North Tool Steve Jones 225
X. U-8 Oh Boy! Oberto Bob Maschmedt Did Not Qualify
X. U-70 Pat O’Grady's Lakeshore Terry Turner Did Not Qualify


— Unlimiteds Detroit