1983 Indiana Governor's Cup

This Bud's for You

by Steve Garey

Rarely does anyone see Bernie Little smoking at a boat race these days. The once chain-smoking owner of Miss Budweiser gave up the habit a few years back, both for health reasons and to set a good example in the pits. But, when his boat-racing venture isn't quite up to his high standards, Bernie usually finds refuge in a pack of cigarettes. The flamboyant Mr. Little wanted to win the 1983 Indiana Governor's Cup more than anything. This year's Madison Regatta was designated the Dean Chenoweth Memorial Race, and Bernie's boat just HAD to win this one! After a few anxious moments in the final heat that had Bernie puffing away like a high strung locomotive, driver Jim Kropfeld brought Miss Budweiser home a winner. At last Bernie could throw down his smokes and smile.

The Fourth of July weekend in Madison is always hot, and the Unlimiteds pulled into town to a 95 degree welcome. Chip Hanauer, fresh from victory at Detroit a week earlier, drove the Atlas Van Lines to a record 131.004 mph lap an the 2½ mile Ohio River course to lead the eleven boat field into Sunday's race. For the second year in a row, the Madison race utilized the "Hughes Plan" format which pits the odd numbered qualifiers against each other in the first heat and the even numbered qualifiers in the second section. Most participants shrug at the format but this year, it worked beautifully.

Heat 1-A brought out Atlas Van Lines, The Squire Shop, Miss Renault, Bob Taylor Special, Miss Pure D'lite and Miss Tosti Asti, but only after a five hour delay due to a wind-swept race course. The first heat, scheduled for 12:30, finally went off at 5:40 P.M. Die-hard fans who stayed around were treated to a fine show. In a flying start, Miss Renault, Atlas, Squire and Taylor Special poured over the line in a pack. Hanauer exited the first turn with the lead. Just behind, Squire driver, Earle Hall, and Jack Schafer, Jr. in the Taylor Special proceeded to stage a thrilling 5 lap duel for second. The Renault, with Milner Irvin driving, got squirrely at the start and had to back off, settling into fourth place. Todd Yarling trailed in Miss Tosti Asti and Bobbie Howard started late and slow in Miss Pure D'lite. Hanauer took the heat by ¼ lap at a speed of 107.168 with Hall holding off the determined Schafer for second. All six boats finished.

Miss Budweiser and the U-5 Risley Express had a battle for the lead into the first corner of Heat 1-B. Everyone else was late. Miss Rich Plan got off to a poor start after tangling with Fred Leland in American Speedy Printing Centers in the shape-up turn before the start. Leland's boat forced a collision between Miss Budweiser and Rich Plan, but both were able to continue. Snyder poured on the coals and got past Executone early, then sped after the leaders. Speedy Printing conked out on lap 2 after a late start. Jim Kropfeld had Miss Budweiser in the lead all the way to the finish and clocked in at 105.189. Snyder got past Terry Turner's U-5 on lap two and finished second.

Heat 2-A was made up of the first, third, and fifth place finishers from Heat 1. Budweiser got the inside from Atlas at the start and pulled away. Chip Hanauer tried to keep pace but, by lap three, he was 6 seconds behind. Kropfeld stayed on it and won by half a straightaway in 115.592. The Taylor Special, last Year's Miss Prodelco, held third all the way. Risley Express ran fourth and Tosti Asti trailed slowly.

Heat 2-B was the crowd-pleaser of the day as the hometown Miss Rich Plan and The Squire Shop battled for three solid laps for the lead. Ron Snyder pushed the rookie Earle Hail and drove past him on the fourth lap. The locals and the Rich Plan Food Service patrons screamed their approval. Then came the announcement that the Squire had jumped the gun. Rich Plan continued on to win the heat in 107.271. Miss Renault held third throughout, but moved up to second with the one lap penalty to the Squire. Executone stalled in lap 1 and restarted on lap 5, too late to catch the creeping Pure D'Lite for fourth place. Hall in the Squire did an extra lap and finished third.

Prior to the start of the Final Heat Bernie Little stood on the finger pier beside his gold, red and white, Griffon-powered hydro puffing away and occasionally pacing like a caged tiger. The other entrants were lowered into the water and the five-minute gun sounded. Tension flew like sparks around the Kropfeld buried his foot through the accelerator pedal and led a screaming start - all six over the line with roostertails at full height. Budweiser led Atlas Van Lines out of the turn and pulled away. Taylor Special was being driven beautifully by Schafer in third spot. Squire Shop, Rich Plan and Miss Renault followed. All six boats were running extremely well. On lap two Jim Kropfeld turned 128.202 miles an hour - fastest lap of the day and a new course record. On lap three Earle Hall was penalized for cutting off the Rich Plan in turn three. On lap four, Milner Irvin got past the Rich Plan and the brand new Miss Renault got a fourth place finish behind Bud, Atlas and Taylor Special. Snyder took fifth in the Rich Plan and the penalized Hall took sixth. Kropfeld averaged 121.523 for the heat, which was also a new record.

Bernie Little, who paced back and forth throughout the heat, put away the cigarettes. His boat had captured the race which was dedicated to his longtime friend and former driver. Truly, this Bud's for you, Dean Chenoweth.

1983 Dean Chenoweth Memorial Race Summary
  Heat 1 Heat 2 Final
Miss Budweiser B-1-400 A-1-400 1-400/1200
Atlas Van Lines A-1-400 A-2-300 2-300/1000
Bob Taylor Special A-3-225 A-3-225 3-225/ 675
Miss Renault A-4-169 B-2-300 4-169/ 638
Rich Plan B-2-300 B-1-400 5-127/ 827
The Squire Shop A-2-300 B-3-225 6- 95/ 620
Risley's Express B-3-225 A-4-169 -394
Executone B-4-169 B-5-127 -296
Pure D'Lite A-6- 95 B-4-169 -264
Miss Tosti Asti A-5-127 A-5-127 -254
American Speedy Printing Centers B-DNF   0


(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, July 1983)