1995 Texaco Cup at Seafair
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 6, 1995

SEATTLE (Aug. 6) -- After another heated, see-saw battle between the Miss Budweiser and Smokin' Joe's for qualifying honors -- with defending Seattle champion Villwock cutting some fast laps, too, in the PICO -- Hanauer emerged on top of the time trial ladder. He also powered through to a pair of heat wins before catching Tate and the Smokin' Joe's in Heat 3-A. That duel went to the latter, but the elements were fast catching up with everyone.

Race day for the Texaco Cup at SEAFAIR came up damp and drizzly, with the weather worsening at a rapid rate. By mid-afternoon, conditions were miserable, with visibility so bad that the race was delayed for an hour. Heaped upon this was an inadvertent flare which went off in Heat 2-B, when Ken Dryden's Miss E-Lam Plus tangled with Jerry Hopp's Miss Cascade Homes and both boats went dead in the water. A turn judge thought he saw fire aboard Dryden's craft and set off a red flare.

Officials tried to override the flare, knowing there was not cause for same, and the heat was, indeed, completed with Hanauer receiving the trophy. But cooler heads at last prevailed and it was decided that the heat must be re-run, largely due to an unfair advantage gained by Mike Hanson in the DeWalt Tools (formerly the Miss Jasper) over Mark Evans' Miss KISW Rock. It was re-run, with an angry Hanauer protesting -- but still winning. Evans, this time, finished ahead of the DeWALT.

Bad weather scrubbed out the provisional heat, but the final came off shortly before 5 p.m. with Hanauer, Little and the Miss Budweiser receipting for the team's long-sought 100th victory. The win was all the more important when Tate ran out of room and temporarily stalled the Smokin' Joe's, finally re-starting to finish fifth. This left the two boats 156 points apart heading for San Diego, now with the Bud back on top in pursuit of an unprecedented fifth straight high points title. And, again, Nate Brown pushed the Pizza Time 'N Exide to second place, followed by the hard-running Evans in the Miss KISW Rock.

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

*  *  *

Dank, Drizzly, Dark and Dangerous Texaco Cup

A remarkable series of events combined to make the Texaco Cup at Seafair, the 8th stop on the 1995 Hooters Unlimited Hydroplane Series, yet another memorable Seattle race -- even if not for all the proper reasons.

Not a whole lot of spectators made it from start to finish, giving up in the face of unrelenting rain. Few of the participants maintained their tempers throughout the day.

Even portions of the Key Bank Air Show had to be called off because of the low ceiling which existed in mid-afternoon. The Stanley Sayres Pits, and the configuration of same as ordered by Seafair officials, proved more crowded and unworkable than ever before.

But time will temper most of these memories. The 1995 Texaco Cup, which in the end saw Mark Tate's Smokin' Joe's out of contention but still in control of the Eagle Snacks Presents O'Doul's High Point standings (by 156 points), may be viewed in different ways.

Primarily, remember it as the event which produced the 100th career victory of Miss Budweiser owner Bernie Little. This achievement is signal in motorsports, accomplished over a 33-year span in which he has only been associated with a single primary sponsor, Anheuser-Busch, Inc., of St. Louis.

Secondarily, remember it as yet another tribute to the driving skills of Chip Hanauer, who won three heats, including the winner-take-all, five-lap final, and placed second in another, despite dealing with a great deal of public and private anger.

Much of the latter stemmed from an incident in the original running of Heat 2B. A course judge inadvertently sent off a red flare when the Miss E-Lam Plus, driven by Ken Dryden, and Miss Cascade Homes (Jerry Hopp) made contact entering the first turn of the first lap.

If it is possible to make a case for the boats maintaining their lanes THROUGHOUT the first turn, this is the film to watch. Although the three outside boats had a "legal overlap" (i.e., 150 feet ahead) and thus could legally move over, the resulting squeeze on the three inside boats resulted in the incident. Blinded by KMPS/Chaplins Bellevue VW's roostertail as Scott Pierce accelerated from lane 2, Dryden -- in lane 3 -- swerved in a search for daylight.

Hopp, trying to maintain the inside lane, was then clipped by the E-Lam, spinning out. The latter boat suffered irreversible damage to a vertical stabilizer, was disqualified from the heat, Dryden was fined $500 and the boat was through for the day. As the fire went out in Hopp's Cascade Homes, the course judge -- a 20-year veteran of limited racing, he told Commissioner Bill Doner in an apology the next day -- instinctively fired off the flare.

In unlimited racing, a red flare means stop (it was always used in the past when a driver was in the water; with safety canopies, this seldom happens these days). Chief referee Mike Noonan, in the helicopter above, attempted to "call off" the flare and red flags, knowing that the bumping and spinning had left noone in jeopardy. But word was relayed via URC officials to the teams' communications chiefs and the two lead boats, Miss Budweiser and KISW Miss Rock, momentarily slowed. They quickly got the word to "go" again, but by then Mike Hanson had moved into second in the DeWALT Tools entry. They finished that way, Bud-DeWALT-Miss Rock . . . but the KISW pilot, Mark Evans, wasn't having any of it.

After a long huddle, Commissioner Doner, ref Noonan and other officials made the correct, albeit delayed, call: the heat would be re-run. Hanauer became as angry as anyone can recall seeing him in public, owner Little was initially adamant -- "we took the checkered flag...what's done is done." But even as Hanauer and Doner stood jowl-to-jowl in a bleary, steady, near-downpour, the Bud crew went about its business -- hoisting their boat back into the water for a re-run -- which Chip promptly won. Evans finished second this time, with Hanson's DeWALT third, a placing which ultimately dropped him to trailer boat status in the final. A single point elevated Steve David's T-PLUS Engine Treatment ahead of the DeWALT, the consequence of a courageous ride by David in Heat 3B even as his wing flew off on the final lap.

The resulting series of delays caused consternation, especially for KIRO-TV producers, who were in the midst of what would become a 7 1/2 hour live, local telecast (which attracted its customary, gigantic, nearly 50 percent share of the available audience). They pressured Seafair officials to get the show going, even as heavy fog and mist descended on the Ted Jones Race Course and URC officials scurried around in search of dry radios.

Doner, no stranger to such time exigencies back in the days when he promoted hundreds of major drag races up and down the West Coast, took over. As the fog began to lift, he put the boats on the water for Heat 3B (after a lengthy delay following Heat 3A), dropped the provisional heat from the schedule, ran off the Competition Cams Unlimited Light final (which included another, rather bizarre, boat-banging incident), and then sent the unlimiteds out for a rousing final by 5:15 p.m.

By this time, barely anyone remained on the shore of Lake Washington. Seafair officials later decreed that the crowd was "half" of the previous year's attendance, which was announced at 250,000.

After a spirited run to, and through, the first turn, with first Dave Villwock in the PICO and then Hanauer in the Bud taking the lead, Mark Tate in the Smokin' Joe's -- squeezed between those two from the flag drop -- finally surrendered when his boat spun out in the second turn. He restarted and finished fifth. Villwock, after giving chase, had to give up when his turbine engine ripped loose of its motor mounts (as it had done in the first heat at Madison, Indiana, five weeks' previous).

Plucky Nate Brown, in Bill Wurster's renamed U-8 (Pizza Time 'N Exide), thus got up for his second runnerup finish in two weeks, with Evans' KISW Miss Rock finishing third, also a repeat of the previous race result in Tri-Cities.

A finally happy Hanauer emerged to great cheers on the Budweiser dock, receipting for his fourth win in six starts this season and the 57th of his illustrious career -- bringing him ever closer to the late Bill Muncey's alltime high of 62 wins. Little, shaking his head over the travail which had preceded, nevertheless was a happy camper, too.

Everyone else connected with this long, long day in the rain took a deep breath and made for dry ground.

Perhaps appropriately, the Hooters Unlimited Hydroplane Series will take a six-week breather before resuming in (hopefully, sunny) San Diego Sept. 15-16-17.

(Reprinted from the URC Electronic Hydroletter, No. 22 August 10, 1995)

A gray fog descended on Lake Washington amid unremitting rain today. Normally, that wouldn't be news. But the resulting weather delays made Bernie Little wait an anxious extra hour or so to take another step into unlimited hydroplane history. His Miss Budweiser driver Chip Hanauer, despite some earlier complaints with the officials, recharged his batteries in time to win the Texaco Cup at SEAFAIR and present Little with a remarkable total of 100 career victories.

Hanauer, in recording his own 57th career win, was aided in the late afternoon final by the fact that his principal rival, Mark Tate in the Smokin' Joe's, ran out of race course in the second turn and was temporarily washed down. He restarted, but could come no closer than fifth.

Nate Brown's Pizza Time 'N Exide copped its second runner-up finish in as many weeks, out-pulling Mark Evans and the KISW Miss Rock. Steve David in the T-PLUS Engine Treatment was fourth, while Dave Villwock's PICO contended early before losing power and failing to finish.

Smokin' Joe's owner Steve Woomer, despite failing to win his hometown race for an 11th time, didn't come away empty handed. He receipted for the Key Bank Northwest Hydroplane Series trophy, emblematic of aggregate point supremacy in last week's Budweiser Columbia Cup and this event. Fred Leland, owner of the PICO, took the second-place trophy and the Budweiser camp was in for third in that one.

Despite the steady rain, the Texaco Cup went smoothly until Heat 2B. In that one, Ken Dryden's Miss E-Lam Plus clipped Jerry Hopp's Miss Cascade Homes, disabling the former and spinning out the latter. That wasn't so bad, but a course judge inadvertently set off a red flare. Technically, that calls for immediate abandonment of the heat.

The referees, at first, tried to override the flare. They called off the red flags and flares and Miss Budweiser drove to an easy win. Upon reflection, and the urging of Mark Evans (who said the temporary stoppage affected his Miss Rock's chances of catching the Bud), the refs decided to run the heat over.

This sent Bud driver Hanauer into a rage and he was nose to nose with Unlimited Racing Commission boss Bill Doner for a few hectic minutes, with live local television recording the action. Then Hanauer went back into the boat, re-ran the heat -- and won it again.

Smokin' Joe's, after this delay, came out and lived up to its name in Heat 3A, outrunning the Budweiser to the checkered flag. But the Bud camp, eager for owner Little to get that magic 100th win, was up to the job in the final.

Heat 1A (11:30):

Speed  Lane Boat                        Driver       Place/Pts Speed

162.543  1  U-1    Miss Budweiser       Chip Hanauer  1/400    141.987 *
151.054  2  U-8    Pizza Time and Exide Nate Brown    2/300    133.749
148.733  3  U-99.9 Miss Rock/KISW       Mark Evans    3/225    129.639
132.885  5  U-14   C & A/Epson Printers Ken Muscatel  4/169    114.936
137.486  4  U-3    Mill Bay/Lake Chelan Mitch Evans   5/127    109.599
132.214  6  U-7    Miss Cascade Homes   Mike Jones +  6/95     109.131
130.919  T  U-19   Appian Renegade      Tom Hindley   DNS/0 **

*  - Fast Lap:  U-1 (1st), 144.375
** - Had engine trouble coming out of the pits and shut down in the first turn 
+  - Note that this is Jones' first racing experience of the year, though
     Hopp takes over for the rest of the day. 

Heat 1B (12:00)

Speed  Lane Boat                        Driver       Place/Pts Speed

162.067  2  U-10   Smokin' Joe's        Mark Tate     1/400    141.429 *
157.981  3  U-100  PICO                 Dave Villwock 2/300    136.065 **
152.724  1  U-2    Miss T-PLUS          Steve David   3/225    130.662 +
149.906  4  U-6    DeWALT Tools         Mike Hanson   4/169    125.220 
139.863  6  U-16   Miss E-LAM Plus      Ken Dryden    5/127    124.068 ++
144.974  5  U-50   Chaplin's Bell. VW   Scott Pierce  6/95     116.046 ^

*  - Fastest lap: U-10 (1st), 143.110
** - Tried to cut to inside on lap 2 to no avail
+  - Had trouble negotiating first turn at speed, briefly challenged
     U-100 on lap 2 front straightway
++ - Wild ride throughout the race;  went wide on first turn but still
     passed the U-50 by the end of lap 1, then set his sights on U-6,
     and almost passed him by 3rd turn lap 3, but U-6 had better 
     acceleration to the finish line
^  - Wild ride into the first turn 

Heat 2A (1:00)

Lane  Boat                        Driver          Place/Pts  Speed

  4   U-8    Pizza Time & Exide   Nate Brown      1/400/700  139.962 *
  5   U-100  PICO                 Dave Villwock   2/300/600  137.787 &  
  6   U-10   Smokin' Joe's        Mark Tate       3/225/625  135.150
  2   U-14   C & A Epson Printers Ken Muscatel    4/169/338  113.031
  1   U-3    Mill Bay/Lake Chelan Mitch Evans     5/127/254  100.881  
  3   U-2    Miss T-PLUS          Steve David     6/95/320   97.359  **
  T   U-19   Appian Renegade      Tom Hindley     7/0/0      80.934  +

*  - Crew tells him to "have fun" leaving the pits;  proceeds to take
     the lead on the backstetch and never relinquishes.  Nate is so happy
     he returns to the Bud pits instead of his own.
&  - Fast Lap:  U-100 (#3), 141.207
** - Ran in second on the inside most of the heat before failing to
     hold his lane in turn 4 lap 3 and limping home to the finish.
+  - Fire was visible in the tail pipe for most of the warmup laps and
     the engine generally sounded bad.  Hindley is fined $500 for not
     holding the inside lane while he was being lapped. 

Heat 2B (1:30) -- First Running

Lane  Boat                        Driver          Place/Pts  Speed

  6   U-1    Miss Budweiser       Chip Hanauer   1           138.450
  4   U-6    Miss DeWALT Tools    Mike Hanson    2           133.110
  5   U-99.9 Miss Rock/KISW       Mark Evans     3           122.124
  2   U-50   Chaplin's Bell. VW   Scott Pierce   4           118.494
  1   U-7    Miss Cascade Homes   Jerry Hopp     DNF        
  3   U-16   Miss E-LAM Plus      Ken Dryden     DSQ/0/127

*  - Hanauer protests continuing the race after a flare.  Fast Lap (#2),
** - Mark Evans files a formal protest for continuing the race after
     the flares.  U-99 dies in first turn lap 3 but restarts in time
     to stay ahead of U-50.  Evans believes he would have defeated the U-6. 
++ - E-LAM makes an illegal lane change after the U-50, with legal overlap,
     eliminates his lane.  Dryden either cuts off or collides with Hopp in 
     the U-7; inadvertant red flares and flags go up from the first turn
     patrol boat as the U-7 ends up facing backward on the infield, and the 
     U-16 with wing damage sits on the infield.  U-16 attempts to restart but 
     is told not to.  Hopp is fine. Dryden is fined $500 (level 5).

Heat 2B (2:30)

Lane  Boat                        Driver          Place/Pts  Speed

  5   U-1    Miss Budweiser       Chip Hanauer   1/400/800   142.833 *
  4   U-99.9 Miss Rock/KISW       Mark Evans     2/300/525   137.838
  3   U-6    Miss DeWALT Tools    Mike Hanson    3/225/394   129.528
  1   U-7    Miss Cascade Homes   Jerry Hopp     4/169/264   112.146
  2   U-50   Chaplin's Bell. VW   Scott Pierce   5/127/222   101.517 ** 
  -   U-16   Miss E-LAM Plus      Ken Dryden     WD/0/127 

*  - Takes lead for good off first turn, fast lap:  U-1 (2nd), 145.021
** - Dies in third run lap 2 and restarts

Heat 3A (3:30)

Lane  Boat                        Driver          Place/Pts  Speed

  1   U-10   Smokin' Joe's        Mark Tate       1/400/1025 142.662
  2   U-1    Miss Budweiser       Chip Hanauer    2/300/1100 138.438 *
  4   U-99.9 Miss Rock/KISW       Mark Evans      3/225/750  131.160
  3   U-8    Pizza Time and Exide Nate Brown      4/169/869  119.844 **
  5   U-14   C & A Epson Printers Ken Muscatel    5/127/465  110.538
  6   U-19   Appian Renegade      Tom Hindley     6/95/95    NA      +

*  - Hanauer falls behind at the start and is actually behind the U-99.9
     at the end of lap 1 before posting the fast lap:  U-1 (2nd), 144.644
** - Brown has severe visibility problems in the driving rain and "just
     follows the roostertails".
+  - One lap penalty for hitting a buoy    

Heat 3B (4:30)

Lane  Boat                        Driver          Place/Pts  Speed

  1   U-100  PICO                 Dave Villwock   1/400/1000 132.745 *
  3   U-2    Miss T-PLUS          Steve David     2/300/620  130.791 **
  2   U-6    Miss DeWALT Tools    Mike Hanson     3/225/619  124.458
  6   U-50   Chaplin's Bell. VW   Scott Pierce    4/169/391  121.675
  4   U-7    Cascade Homes        Jerry Hopp      5/127/391  107.336 +
  5   U-3    Mill Bay/Lake Chelan Mitch Evans     6/95/349   106.982 +

*  - Fast lap:  U-100 (1st):  133.680
** - Had the early lead but PICO passed on the inside by the end of lap 1,
     and the boat lost its wing shortly thereafter.
+  - Another classic battle, with the turbine winning this time.


Final Heat (5:15)

Lane  Boat                        Driver          Place/Pts  Speed

  1   U-1    Miss Budweiser       Chip Hanauer    1/400/1500 138.047 *
  4   U-8    Pizza Time and Exide Nate Brown      2/300/1169 129.450
  5   U-99.9 Miss Rock/KISW       Mark Evans      3/225/975  128.182 ++
  6   U-2    Miss T-PLUS          Steve David     4/169/739  127.415
  2   U-10   Smokin' Joe's        Mark Tate       5/127/1152 120.724 **
  T   U-6    DeWALT Tools         Mike Hanson     6/95/714   115.204
  3   U-100  PICO                 Dave Villwock   DNF/0/1000       +

*  - Done in style.  Hanauer wasn't first into the first turn, but he was the 
     first out and ran away from there for owner Little's 100th victory.
     Fast lap:  U-1 (2nd), 143.455
** - Tate said he was just plain slow.  The U-100 had legal overlap and
     shut the door on him in turn 3 of lap 1, causing the engine to die.
     "That's racing," Tate told KIRO-TV.  Owner Woomer files a protest
     that goes nowhere over the boat getting pinched in turn 1 of lap 1
     which was readily visible on TV coverage. 
+  - Stayed on the outside of Hanauer within a roostertail until going
     dead completing lap 3.
++ - Evans tried to come up on the U-8, but a solid last turn by Brown
     forced him wide enough (almost into the dead U-100) so that the Rock
     got its third third-place finish for the sponsor.    

Summary written by J Michael Kenyon

(Reprinted from UHRA.com)

This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010.
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