1979 APBA Gold Cup

Muncey Sets Record in Hydro Qualifying

MADISON, Ind. — Bill Muncey broke a day-old course record yesterday during qualifications for today’s Gold Cup unlimited-hydroplane race on the Ohio River.

Muncey, seeking his eighth Gold Cup victory and third in a row, steered the Atlas Van Lines to a two-lap average speed of 121.212 miles an hour around the 2½-mile course.

The mark bettered Dean Chenoweth’s record run of 118.110 m.p.h., set during Friday’s qualifications, and bumped Chenoweth down to the No. 2 position on the qualifying ladder.

Muncey also got the better of yesterday’s draw for heat positions. The Atlas will race in Heat 1B with Miss Madison, Miss Kentuckiana Paving and the U-3. Joining the Chenoweth-driven Miss Budweiser in Heat 1A will be Circus Circus, Squire Shop, Dr. Toyota and Detroit Radiographics, the latter if it qualifies this morning.

"Sure, I was trying to do it," Muncey said of his record run. "I was pretty positive we could do it."

Muncey, 50, has won 53 races in a unlimited-class career spanning nearing 30 years. No other driver ever has won more than 20.

"I’m sure Chenoweth was running faster than we were in the straightaways, but time is made in the corners," Muncey said. "This boat is one of the best at cornering in the history of the sport."

Can he go faster?

"I don’t know, but it would be fun to consider," Muncey said. "At this point there’s no reason to try. It wouldn’t make any sense."

Chenoweth was not too disappointed his record was broken. In fact, he said on Friday he was surprised his boat did that well. The new hydroplane has not yet been in competition.

But Chenoweth also pointed out he probably could have gone faster.

"The difference between 118 and 121 miles an hour over two and a half miles is only about a second and a half," Chenoweth said.

"Muncey was trying for the record, but I wasn’t. If I had been trying to go faster, I’m sure I could’ve picked up another second and a half."

Steve Reynolds, driving the hastily repaired Circus Circus, yesterday became the seventh driver to complete the minimum qualifying requirement of two laps at 100 m.p.h. His boat was damaged during last weekend’s regatta in Detroit.

Brian Keogh’s Detroit Radiographics failed to qualify but might make another attempt this morning with Ron Snyder of Piqua, Ohio, at the wheel.

The Candyman, powered by two auto engines and driven by Terry Turner, was withdrawn after the boat’s crew chief, Leon (Bubba) Wilton, slipped off the craft while working on it and broke his leg.

Wilton, who built the craft’s engines, was treated at a Madison hospital, then flown to Los Angeles for surgery. Carroll Kern, Candyman owner, decided to withdraw since Wilton was his only available engine man.

Three preliminary heats, with two sections apiece, are scheduled today, with the top five boats (based on points earned for order of finish) advancing to the final.

The qualifiers:

Atlas [Van Lines], Muncey, 121.212 m.p.h. (course record)

[Miss] Budweiser, Chenoweth, 118.110

U-3 (Tri-City Tile & Masonry), Jack Schafer, 110.645

[The] Squire [Shop], Chip Hanauer. 107.272

[Miss] Circus Circus, Reynolds, 106.456

[Miss] Kentuckiana [Paving] (formerly My Gypsy), Jon Peddie, 101.180

[Miss] Madison, Milner Irvin, 105.758

[Dr.] Toyota, Bob Maschmedt, 100.391.


(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, July 8, 1979)