1966 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, July 3-4, 1966
Mira Slovak Pilots Tahoe Miss to Victory in Gold Cup Race
Detroit (AP)—Soft spoken Mira Slovak figured he let the crowd down Monday while winning the Gold Cup, the world series of powerboat racing.
Slovak, who set a sizzling pace as he won his first three heats in the tragedy-marked weekend, played it safe and drove at a snail's pace in the final event, piling up just enough points to win the cup.
"I knew the fans wanted to see a red-hot finish, but I felt I owed more to my racing team and to the boat owners," said the driver of the victorious Tahoe Miss.
"The cup meant more to me than five fast laps around the Detroit River course," the 37-year-old Czechoslovakian refugee said.
Slovak went into the final heat with 1,200 points as the result of three heat triumphs Sunday and Monday. Dixi Cola, driven by Fred Alter of Detroit, was next with 900 which pretty well left Slovak in the driver's seat.
The Los Angeles driver took the lead at the start of the final heat. He was then content to sit back and let the others battle it out while he settled for fifth place and 127 points which assured him the title with 1,327 points. Runner-up Dixi Cola had 1,200.
Slovak and ill-fated Chuck Thompson, veteran Detroit boat driver, appeared to be headed into a two-man showdown for the Gold Cup title Sunday when Thompson's unlimited hydro-plane flew apart during a heat as he and Slovak battled it out.
"Half the fun of winning the cup went out the window when Chuck was killed," Slovak told his victory news conference. "He was a great asset to racing.
Slovak said the drivers, who had seen death dip into their ranks in their last two races at Washington, D.C., June 19 and Sunday in the Gold Cup—were not jittery Monday.
"They are all pros," he said. "Naturally Chuck's death was in the back of all our minds, but so far as I know none of us eased up at all, became over-cautious or had any other bad reaction to Chuck's death."
(Reprinted from the Kelowna Daily Courier, July 5, 1966)
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