1995 APBA Gold Cup
Detroit River, Detroit MI, June 4, 1995


DETROIT (June 3-4) -- The APBA Gold Cup remains like no other unlimited event. Not only the oldest, and the longest of all events on the schedule, it remains the most important in the minds of the competitors. Hanauer, team owner Bernie Little and the Bud crew had their game honed to perfection as they swept the boards -- fast qualifier, two preliminary heat wins on Saturday, and two more preliminary heat wins on Sunday before racing away with the 12.5-mile final. The latter feat was aided by a miscue on Tate's part during the pre-start maneuvering against the clock (the Gold Cup remains the only non-flag start of the Hooters Series). Attempting to position himself on the white-flag lap, Tate managed to get the Smokin' Joe's washed down and temporarily stalled.

So it was left to Fred Leland's two-boat team -- the PICO American Dream with Dave Villwock and Miss Wellness Plan (U-99.9) with Mark Evans -- to run a distant second and third to Hanauer and share the victory podium. Mike Hanson and the Madison (Ind.)-owned boat, first time out for the sponsoring Jasper Engines & Transmissions company, escaped without serious harm when his craft blew over on the wind-swept Detroit River backstretch in Sunday's first heat. The boat, however, suffered considerably and was never able to reach its full potential in six subsequent races.

The Gold Cup triumphs were the tenth for both driver (Hanauer) and owner (Little) and gave the Budweiser a big early lead in the Eagle Snacks Presents O'Doul's High Point standings for both drivers and teams. Sponsors of the event were gratified to announce a three-year deal, beginning with the '96 renewal, had been concluded with Chrysler Corp. as title sponsor of the Gold Cup race.

(Reprinted from the URC Electronic Thunderletter No. 29 September 28, 1995)

*  *  *

DETROIT, MI -- In the 33 years since Bernard Leroy Little decided that these Buds were for him, there have been 20- no, make that 21-- different unlimited hulls to wear the proud name of Miss Budweiser.

Don't look now, but the latest edition of this long line of remarkable drafts may be the best of 'em all.

Of course, even as Bernie and his merry band of men dressed in bright red did a vitory dance atop his U-1 in the Horace E. Dodge Memorial Pits, there was an academic argument a -bubbling as to whether Little's tenth APBA Gold Cup winner was, by purest definition, a "new" boat.

One thing is for sure about this sleek, red turbine-powered speedster that Lee (Chip) Hanauer so relentlessly and perfectly flung around the 2.5- mile Detroit River course June 3 and 4: it's got a powerful attraction to checkered flags.

The winningest team in unlimited history was cheered mightily by a Sunday throng generally estimated to be 400,000 as it sped, virually unchallenged, through a final, 12.5-mile heat to give not only the owner his tenth share of the venerable Gold Cup but the driver his record tenth as well.

And don't forget crew chief Ron Brown: he supervised a weekend full of repeated repairs, including a tricky, last- minute change of gear boxes before the championship heat, to put in his fifth claim to powerboating's oldest and most prestigious trophy. This, despite just recently getting back on his feet after a series of leg operations that had him "phoning" in the first Budweiser win of the season (at Phoenix) from a Seattle hospital bed.

For those who came in late to this incredible marriage of thunderboat tacticians, Little has 98 career victories as an owner, 69 more than the nearest man on the all-time list; Hanauer, at 55 lifetime wins, is but seven shy of the late, great Bill Muncey on the driver list; and Brown, with a total of 46, is beginning to close within shouting distance of the winningest crew chief, the still-active Jim Lucero.

After qualifying at the top of the ladder with the second fastest two-lap Gold Cup time speed (168.289mph) in history, Hanauer and the almost all-new Bud (only a sponson remains from the "Turbine III" craft that blew over on him in qualifing at last year's Texaco Cup at SEAFAIR) picked right up where they had left off at Phoenix.

Thereafter leading the qualifiers, they had stormed to three straight match-race-format victories to win the Gila River Casino Unlimited Cup. Here, they quickly won two, three-lap heats on Saturday, including one in which they doused the challenge of defending Gold Cup winner Mark Tate and the Camel-powered Smokin' Joe's.

Rough water in the never calm Detroit River sent the Bud flying--and bouncing back in slam-bang-fashion--at several points around the course. Subsequent investigation revealed some damage to the boat's bottom, necessitating on-the-spot refurbishment. That mission accomplished, the Budweiser and nine other gleaming unlimiteds greeted a gorgeously bright and sunny afternoon with their Sunday best.

At one time or another, Tate in the Smokin' Joe's (with a new Gold Cup, five-lap standard of 152.120 mph), Dave Villwock in the PICO American Dream (a hot Heat 1-A lap of 155.817 mph), and Mark Evens in Fred Leland's other underrated entry, The Wellness Plan (a second and three thirds in preliminary heats) showed flashes of being up to the challenge.

But when time came to write the history, the pen was in the steady hand of Hanauer, already destined for induction in the Motorsports Hall of Fame three nights beyond this event. Chip was a study in cool brilliance, eating up his foes in two more preliminary heats and then stowing away the hardware with what he called "five perfect laps" in the winner-take-all final. Villwock stayed with him for just over a lap, but admitted that Hanauer kept painting him into a veritable corner whenever there was racing to be done. He wound up, he said, "defending second place." Fellow Leland pilot Evans, cornering as well as anyone, got the Wellness Plan home for the show spot.

Tate, always figuring as Hanauer's principal opposition, miscalculated inside the one-minute gun (the Gold Cup is the last bastion of the clock start along the unlimited circuit) and found himself forced to let off the throttle as the boats maneuvered for position on the backstretch. This, he admitted with a tearful eye to reporters afterward, was done in too abrupt a fashion, causing him to lose power.

By the time he got the Smokin' Joe's back up onto a plane, the rest of the field was around the Roostertail turn and bearing down on the start. Only because Steve David suffered a broken prop with the T-Plus Engine Treatment did he finish fourth. The reliable, noisy old U-3, running as Miss D.O.C. here, completed his eight straight heat of the season in fifth place under Mitch Evans' direction.

Sunday's only dangerously untoward mishap happened in Heat 3-A, the first event of the afternoon, when Mike Hanson--about midway up the stretch--saw the right side of his Miss Jasper Engines & Trensmissions (the former Miss Madison) begin to lift. He attempted to bring the boat back down but it was too late. He tilted toward port, rose some 10 or 15 feet in the air, blew over backward and then bounced once or twice before being deposited bottom up. Hanson, who suffered only skinned knees in the fracas, then hugged his oxygen mask for dear life until the Unlimited Racing Commission rescue boat and divers hurried to the scene and removed him from a dislocated canopy via the escape hatch.

The other starters in this 87th Gold Cup suffered a variety of minor ills thoughout the week-long Thunderfest, which is said to draw a total crowd of more than a half-million spectators. Ken Muscatel's U-14 (formerly U-55) Miss Belle Tire was plagued by sponson and ballast woes and failed to finish two heats. But, aside from Hanson's flip and David's propeller loss in the final, every other boat completed every heat-- an astounding 91 percent heat completion rate never before approached in 92 seasons since this hoary old event was inaugurated on New York City's Hudson River in 1904.

Miss Budweiser and Hanauer emerged with the season's Eagle Snacks Presents O'Doul's High Points Standings lead of 3,280 to 2,729 for Smokin' Joe's, followed closely by PICO American Dream and Villwock with 2,596. All ten boats were expected to compete in the mid-June Kansas City Hydrofair and, then, in successive weeks, at Pontiac Thunder On the Ohio in Evansville and the Budweiser Indiana Governor's Cup at Madison.

APBA GOLD CUP RESULTS At Detroit, Michigan 
Heat 1-A
1. Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, 152.526 
2. Steve David, T-PLUS Engine Treatment, 138.135
3. Dave Villwock, PICO American Dream, 132.201
4. Jerry Hopp, Carpenter Communications Presents Miss APBA, 97.635
Ken Muscatel, Miss Belle Tire, DNF
FAST LAP-- Villwock, PICO American Dream (1st lap), 155.817. 
HEAT 1-B
1. Mark Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 148.026
2. Mark Evans, The Wellness Plan, 138.039
3. Mitch Evans, Miss D.O.C., 118.974
4. Mike Hanson, Miss Jasper Engines &Transmissions, 116.505
5. Scott Pierce, D.O.C./ Acuvue, 115.320
FAST LAP-- Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 153.331 (2nd lap)
HEAT 2-A
1. Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, 151.659
2. Mark Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 144.519
3. Steve David, T-PLUS Engine Treatment, 139.914
4. Mitch Evans, Miss D.O.C., 108.537
5. Ken Muscatel, Miss Belle Tire, 101.464
FAST-LAP - Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, 155.446 (1st-lap) 
HEAT 2-B
1. Dave Villwock, PICO American Dream, 139.848
2. Mike Hanson, Miss Jasper Engines &Transmissions, 132-621
3. Mark Evans, The Wellness Plan, 123.243
4. Scott Pierce, D.O.C./Acuvue, 105.129
5. Jerry Hopp, Carpenter Communications Presents Miss APBA, 102.954
FAST LAP-- Villwock, PICO American Dream, 147.425 (1st lap) 
Heat 3-A
1.Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, 149.451
2.Dave Villwock, PICO American Dream,139.890
3.Mitch Evans, Miss D.O.C. 120.820
4.Jerry Hopp, Miss APBA, 108.471
Mike Hanson, Miss Jasper Engines & transmissions, DSQ
FAST-LAP-- Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, 152.708 (1st lap)
HEAT 3-B
1.Mark Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 152.120
2.Steve David, T-PLUS Engine Treatment, 140.897
3. Mark Evans, The Wellness Plan, 135.960
4. Scott Pierce, D.O.C./ Acuvue, 118.555
Ken Muscatel, Miss Belle Tire, DNF
FAST-LAP- Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 156.959 (3rd lap)
HEAT 4-A 
1. Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser,147.530
2. Mark Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 144.065
3. Mitch Evans, Miss D.O.C., 117.935
4. Scott Pierce, D.O.C., Acuvue, 103.240
5. Jerry Hopp, Carpenter Communications Presents Miss APBA, 85.440
FAST LAP-- Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, 152.972 (1st lap) 
HEAT 4-B
1. Dave Villwock, PICO American Dream, 142.425
2.Steve David, T-PLUS Engine Treatment, 139.775
3. Mark Evans, The Wellness Plan, 138.590
4. Ken Muscatel, Miss Belle Tire,83.900
FAST LAP -- Villwock, PICO American Dream 147.888 (1st lap) 
CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, Seattle, Wash.,149.160
2. Dave Villwock, PICO American Dream, Seattle, Wash. 140.616
3. Mark Evans, The Wellness Plan, Seattle Wash. 138.083
4. Mark Tate, Smokin ' Joe's, Auburn, Wash. 134.136
5. Mitch Evans, Miss D.O.C., Evansville, Ind., 109.348
Steve David, T-PLUS Engine Treatment, DNF
FAST LAP- Hanauer, Miss Budweiser, 152.646 (2nd lap)
O'DOUL'S SEASON HIGH POINTS (Boat) 
1. Miss Budweiser, 3,280
2. Smokin' Joe's, 2,729
3. PICO American Dream, 2,596
4. T-PLUS Engine Treatment, 2,024
5. The Wellness Plan, 1,735
6. Miss D.O.C., 1,623
7. D.O.C./ Acuvue 647
8. Miss APBA, 592
9. Miss Jasper Engines & Transmissions, 486
10. Miss Belle Tire, 306
O'DOUL'S SEASON HIGH POINTS (Drivers
1. Chip Hanauer, Seattle, 3,280
2. Mark Tate, Wayne, Mich., 2,729
3. Dave Villwock, Sumner, Wash., 2,596
4. Steve David, Pompano Beach, Fla., 2,024
5. Mitch Evans, Lake Chelan, Wash. 1,623
6. Mark Evans, Wenatchee, Wash., 1,210
7. Scott Pierce, Seattle, Wash. 647
8. Jerry Hopp, Snohomish, Wash. 592
9. Tom Hindley, Spokane, Wash., 525
10. Mike Hanson, Madison, Ind., 486
11. Ken Muscatel, Seattle, Wash. 306

(Reprinted from the Electronic URC Hydroletter, Vol. 1, no. 13)


DETROIT -- Chip Hanauer and the Miss Budweiser, the Seattle-based tandem that seem intent on re-writing the entire unlimited hydroplane racing record book, today strode deeper into the APBA Gold Cup archives with a five- heat sweep of the sport's most prestigious event.

As a final-day throng generally estimated at 400,000 looked on in sun-drenched, slightly breezy weather along the Detroit River, Hanauer barely missed a beat as he handed Bud owner Bernie Little yet another victory in this classic. Both driver and boat owner, although not paired as a team until 1992, now have extended their individual Gold Cup win totals to an even ten apiece. Three of those -- including 1992 and 1993 -- have come in partnership.

Enroute to his second straight win of the young 1995 season and his 55th overall triumph in a driving career dating back to 1976, Hanauer easily won the six-boat, winner-take-all final heat with an average speed of 149.160 mph. His complete race average -- one lap shy of the regulation 52 1/2-mile distance becasue of a third-heat barrel roll by Mike Hanson's Miss Jasper Engines & Transmission -- was 149.653 for the 50 miles, easily breaking Mark Tate's year-old mark of 147.943 mph.

Hanson emerged uninjured from his mishap, which occurred while zooming up the backstretch at an estmated 180 mph. The bright green and yellow entry from Madison, IN, apparently got too much air under the right sponson, tilted over to its port side, and then cartwheeled end-over-end to land upside down, but afloat, in the water. The heat was stopped and declared official after four laps while driver Hanson slipped up out of the esape hatch in the bottom of his hull.

This was the first race that Jasper Engines & Transmissions, an Indiana engine remanufacturer, had sponsored the boat, the former Miss Madison from the Hoosier State. The hull did not sustain extensive damage and should be repaired in time for the unlimited hydros' next stop, June 16-18 in Kansas City, MO.

Tate, the defending Gold Cup champion, was never a factor in the final heat. He finished a well-beaten fourth place after temporarily losing power along the back straightawy as the field maneuvered inside the one-minute gun. This race is the only remaing event with a clock, not a flag, start.

MORE ON HEAT 4A: Mark Tate and the Smokin' Joe's, defending Gold Cup Champion, got into tight quarters along the Roostertail turn leading to the start and cracked his right sponson against the left sponson of Scott Pierce's D.O.C./Acuvue. The latter hooked sharply into the infield and made a delayed start as Hanauer and the Budweiser set off unbothered to record a 147.530 mph average for the five laps and 12 1/2 miles.

Pierce managed to finish fourth behind Mitch Evans in the Miss D.O.C. when Jerry Hopper, driving the Miss APBA, went dead in the water near the end of the heat. The referees, after studied consideration, decided that the Tate-Pierce bumping incident was a no-fault situation.

Hanauer is not only undefeated in this race, but for the entire 1995 unlimited hydroplane racing season. He won all three heats in the season opener at Phoenix, April 23.

All the laurels don't belong to Budweiser, though. Tate, in his Heat 3B victory today, averaged 152.120 mph for a 12 1/2-mile heat, eclipsing his own mark of 151.320 set when his boat was sponsored by Winston Eagle in 1993. That same year, Hanauer in the Budweiser averaged 152.318 for a 7 1/2-mile heat, a record he broke Saturday in Heat 1A with an average speed of 152.526 mph.

PIT PATTER - The precise finish of Heat 4A was somewhat obscured by the fact that the start-line buoy broke loose and began floating downstream during the fourth lap. It was recovered and returned to its position before reaching Lake Erie.

SATURDAY - Chip Hanauer, who this season is beginning to take aim on Bill Muncey's all-time record for most unlimited hydroplane racing victories, remained a picture of near-perfection in his bright red Miss Budweiser today on the Detroit River.

Shooting for career win number 55 and Gold Cup triumph number 10, Hanauer was airborne - momentarily - in both Heats 1A and 2A but came back down to blast away his competition in each race and move into Sunday's final three heats with a maximum 800 points.

Next is perennial challenger Mark Tate in the Smokin' Joe's - who doubles as defending champion of this race - with 700 points, followed by "Super Dave" Villwock and the PICO American Dream with 625. Villwock, who won three heats in last year's race here before failing to complete the final, was washed out momentarily in Heat 1A but recovered to finish third before breezing wire-to-wire in Heat 2B.

Tate cruised to an easy win in Heat 1B, but couldn't measure the Budweiser's top-end speed when they were matched in Heat 2A. In fact, Hanauer's two-heat average of 152.093 is on a pace to shatter Tate's year-old record Gold Cup race average of 147.943.

Steve David and the T-PLUS Engine Treatment find themselves tied for fourth place overall with Mark Evans in The Wellness Plan at 525.

Hanauer's fiery charger came unglued from the water line in each heat, once in the first turn and again in the second turn. But, each time he nursed the boat back onto a level plane. His crew had to accomplish some between-heats work, however, to repair some structural damage caused by the big bounce from the first heat.

Summary written by J Michael Kenyon

(Reprinted from UHRA.com)


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