1987 Budweiser Indiana Governor's Cup

Hydro Race May Be For 2nd Place

MADISON, Ind. -- Jim Kropfeld's new, seemingly unbeatable Miss Budweiser heads a field of 11 hydroplanes expected to compete this weekend for the Indiana Governor's Cup.

For the 10 others, however, the two days of qualifying and seven heats of racing Sunday may just be to see who finishes second to the defending national champion, the winner of both races so far this season on the unlimited circuit.

"This boat, I can just go out there and run all day and it's comfortable," says Kropfeld, 46, who won three races last year and raised his career total to 17 with victories in a new turbine-powered craft last month at Miami and last week at Evansville.

"It's awesome. I can't imagine a boat that has the speed and turning ability that this boat has," the Cincinnati driver said.

Going into the the annual Madison Regatta, the third of nine races on the 1987 schedule, Miss Budweiser has accumulated 2,300 points. Risley's Express, driven by Todd Yarling of nearby Hanover, Ind., is second at a distant 1,619 points. America's Choice, piloted by Mitch Evans, stands third with 1,432 points.

The hometown Holset Miss Madison, driven by Ron Snyder, is fourth, followed by Steve Reynolds in the Cellular One and two-time Madison winner Chip Hanauer in the Miller American.

Hanauer, the defending champion on the 2½-mile Ohio River course at Madison, set a qualifying record of 140.1 mph two years ago and a race record of 122.523 mph in 1984.

Hanauer is the only active driver with more career victories (23) than Kropfeld.

Besides Miss Budweiser, three other boats are powered by the relatively new turbine engines: Miller American, Cellular One and Scott Pierce's Mr. Pringle's.

"We are going to have a very interesting and very exciting field, and we're going to give race fans one of the best shows they've ever witnessed," said Madison race chairman Dan Carter.

"We'll be using the format we used for the first time last year, and that will mean more starts and finishes."

The traditional format of four preliminary heats was expanded to six heats a year ago, with each boat racing in three of them according to a draw for heat assignments.

Each preliminary heat consists of three laps. The top five boats, based on points earned in the preliminaries, will advance to the final five-lap heat for shares of the $125,000 purse.

Madison officials are seeking approval from the Unlimited Racing Commission to add a sixth boat to the final heat.

"We want the six-boat finals, even if it means having the sixth boat as a 'trailer,' " said Carter.

(Reprinted from the Seattle Times, July 2, 1987)