1985 Miller American Thunderboat Classic

Miss Budweiser Top Qualifier; Miller is Damaged, Withdrawn

Associated Press

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Defending national champion Miss Budweiser, driven by Jim Kropfeld, covered a 2½-mile lap at 125.611 miles an hour yesterday to top qualifying for the Miller American Thunderboat Classic.

When the unlimited hydroplane competition begins at noon today on Onondaga Lake, Kropfeld will be trying to steer the boat to its first points of the season. Because of mechanical problems, Miss Budweiser failed to qualify for last Sunday’s season opener at Miami.

Miller American, expected to be Miss Budweiser’s chief rival for the national title this year, failed to start for the final heat at Miami and ran into more problems yesterday.

A power wheel on the boat’s turbine engine exploded on the first lap during a morning run, causing extensive damage and the withdrawal of the hydroplane driven by Chip Hanauer.

Six other boats joined Miss Budweiser in surpassing the 105 mph qualifying minimum: Frank Kenney Toyota-Volvo, driven by Leif Borgersen, at 124.138; Miss 7-Eleven, Steve Reynolds, 122.200; Miss Executone, Scott Pierce, 121.376; American Speedy Printing, Andy Coker, 113.942; U-22, Todd Yarling, 109.689, and Oh Boy! Oberto, Jerry Hopp, 108.011.

Miss Executone won the Miami race but trails American Speedy Printing, formerly known as Miss Madison, in the national standings 900-800.

Following today’s race, the boats compete at Detroit on June 30, at Madison, Ind., on July 7 and at Evansville on July 14 before going to the West Coast.

(Reprinted from the Louisville Courier-Journal, June 16, 1985)