1984 Stroh's Thunderfest

Detroit Hydroplane Race Won by Miss Budweiser

Detroit (AP) — Miss Budweiser, driven by Jim Kropfeld, scored an easy victory Monday in the $100,000 Stroh’s Thunderfest Unlimited hydroplane race on the rough waters of the Detroit River.

Miss Budweiser averaged 120.173 miles an hour in scoring her third victory in five races on the unlimited circuit this year.

Powered by the conventional Rolls Royce Griffon engine, Miss Budweiser quieted all the noise about the turbine powered boats that had posted the best times during qualifying runs and elimination heats.

Both Atlas Van Lines and Miss Tosti Asti, which had surpassed the 130-mph mark, failed in the final because of engine problems.

Squire Shop, driven by Mickey Remund. was second with an average speed of 116.366 mph. Executone Telephone, with George Johnson behind the wheel, finished third with an average speed of 106.932 mph on the 2½-mile course.

The race had been scheduled for Sunday, but was postponed because high winds made the cantankerous Detroit River unfit for competition after one heat.

“It was almost as rough out there today," Kropfeld said, cradling the large silver cup. “But I’ve got to give 95 percent of the credit to the crew. I tore a hole in the bottom yesterday and another one earlier this morning (in an elimination heat). And they worked until about five minutes before the finals to get it ready.”

Kropfeld took the lead at the start of the race and never was headed to win the $24,000 first prize.

"It makes you feel real proud to win here, because this is where power boat racing began,” Kropfeld said of the 68-year history of racing on the Detroit River. "This is where all the great ones ran. I can’t really explain it, but it feels good.”

Two-time defending champion Atlas Van Lines, driven by Chip Hanauer, captured the first of three heats Monday, averaging 130.269 mph. But Atlas lost a gear box belt in the second heat, while gaining on Miss Budweiser, which cruised to her second heat victory in as many days, averaging 115.349 mph. In very rough waters Sunday, she won with an average speed of 106.965 mph.

Squire Shop took first in the final heat when leader Tosti Asti was penalized a lap after hitting a buoy. Tosti Asti, driven by Steve Reynolds, finished second.

Despite sustaining $35,000 damage in Sunday’s heat, Miss Renault, driven by Milner Irvin, entered her second heat and finished third to qualify for the final. Engine problems forced her out of the finals.

Tosti Asti, which posted the highest qualifying time at 133.988 mph on Friday, got into the final when Atlas dropped out before the start of the race.

(Reprinted from the Associated Press)