1985 Thunder on the Ohio
Ohio River, Evansville IN, July 14, 1985

Chip Tops Thunder
By Fred Farley

In the words of Chip Hanauer, "There are a million ways to lose and only one way to win. For five long minutes (just prior to the Final Heat), I thought I had found another way to lose."

But then, Hanauer's Miller American came to life just in time before the one-minute gun and went on to grab all the marbles before 75,000 sun-drenched spectators at Evansville, Indiana's "Thunder On The Ohio 7" on July 14. The victory marked the first time in 1985 that the Fran Muncey/Jim Lucero turbine craft had finished three heats in one day.

Hanauer averaged 121.211 mph in the final 10-mile moment of truth around the 2-mile tri-oval course. Steve Reynolds and Miss 7-Eleven checked in second at 116.710 ahead of Scott Pierce in Executone, which did 111.457. Trailing way back were Andy Coker in American Speedy Miss Madison at 96.399 and Jerry Hopp on.-board Oh Boy! Oberto at 95.997. Todd Yarling blew a supercharger on lap three with the locally sponsored Risley’s Express and did not finish.

Considering the shrunken size of the fleet (eight boats), "Thunder On The Ohio" could very well have become "Blunder On The Ohio". But the Unlimited contingent put on a fine show, nonetheless, including one truly magnificent shootout in heat 1-A between the Miller, the 7-Eleven, and the Jim Kropfeld-chauffeured Miss Budweiser.

7-Eleven crossed the starting line first in lane three. Budweiser, in lane one, and Miller, in lane two, crossed together with

Oh Boy! Oberto trailing. Budweiser led out of the initial corner with 7-Eleven hidden in Kropfeld's roostertail. Budweiser spectacularly held off 7-Eleven for 2 3/4 laps until Reynolds finally grabbed the lead at the end of lap three. Budweiser faded on the fourth backstretch before coming to a halt in the upper turn. But by this time, Miller American, after a slow start, had picked up the gauntlet and was going; all out after 7-Eleven. Hanauer turned the two fastest laps of the day on his fourth and fifth times around with speeds of 129.194 and 130.956, but still couldn't catch the front-running Reynolds, who averaged 123.041 for the 10 miles to Hanauer's 122.185.

The four preliminary heats saw a different winner in each. Risley’s Express (95.025) took 1-B after Executone (86.167) and American Speedy Miss Madison (81.549) jumped the gun. Miller

(123.577) won 2-A by six seconds over 7-Eleven (121.089)with Miss Budweiser (111.786) and Executone (106.957) trailing. American Speedy Miss Madison (101.871) ran away from Oberto (97.819) and Risley's (96.642) to take 2-B.

Prior to the Final Heat, Bernie Little withdrew Miss Budweiser, which could have been the alternate, on account of damage to the tail section of the snake-bitten "Beer Wagon."

After the roostertails had subsided, Hanauer had the victory for the third time in four years at Evansville. Scott Pierce was still holding precariously onto the National High Point lead with five down and four races remaining on the 1985 tour. Pierce's Executone had 3,819 markers and second place Miss 7-Eleven had 3,500 as the fleet headed out west for the Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities, Washington, scheduled for July 28.

1985 Budweiser Thunder On The Ohio 7



Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3


Miller American





Miss 7-Eleven





Executone Telephones



3-225/ 694


American Speedy Miss Madison



4-169/ 794


Oh Boy! Oberto



5-127/ 652


Risley’s Express



DNF / 625


Miss Budweiser



- / 225


Boatracing Magazine




(Reprinted from the Unlimited NewsJournal, July 1985)

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