1987 Seafair Budweiser Cup

'Miller' Might Miss Seafair Hydro Race

By John Peoples

Alterations under way on the Miller American unlimited hydroplane could keep the boat out of Sunday's Seafair regatta on Lake Washington, a spokesman for the Chip Hanauer-driven boat said today.

However, there still is a good chance the work under way in the Miller's Seattle shop will be completed in time for Sunday's race.

Bill Webber, Miller American spokesman, said owner Fran Muncey and her crew decided to make the changes needed to improve the boat's speed before the Sept. 20 Gold Cup regatta in San Diego.

"It would be a heck of price to pay," said Webber, "but the boat has not been competitive."

Hanauer has won the past five Gold Cup titles. Another victory would tie the legendary Gar Wood's record for most consecutive Gold Cup victories.

The Miller, which won five races a year ago, has not entered victory lane this season as Jim Kropfeld has enjoyed a spectacularly successful campaign in the Miss Budweiser.

Kropfeld quickly drove his boat to the front of the pack in the Stan Sayres pits this morning, qualifying the turbine-powered craft at 125.650 miles an hour.

The U-22, Pietro's Pizza, driven by Todd Yarling, also qualified this morning. Its fastest lap over the two-mile course was 113.924 mph.

Eleven boats were in the pit area as qualifying got under way.

The course qualifying record, set last year by Hanauer in the Miller American, is 140.515 mph.

Other boats in the pits as qualifying began: U-8, Mr. Pringle's; U-7, Jackpot Foods; U-2, Oh Boy! Oberto; U-6, Holset Miss Madison; U-80, Sea Galley's Miss Crablegs; U-100, Miss Rock KISW; U-15, Pepsi America's Choice; and U-9, Boatracing Magazine.

The Fred Leland Racing team, which races Miss Rock, had planned to enter another boat in the regatta. However, U-77 Seaco Petroleum caught fire during an engine test, and crewmen said it is unlikely repairs can be completed in time for Sunday's race.

Tomorrow's qualifying sessions will be from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m.

(Reprinted from The Seattle Times, July 30, 1987)