Chip rides high in Miss Pico!


FINAL HEAT AVG. SPEED 1. U-100 Miss Pico 152.591 2. U-1 Miss Budweiser 148.802 3. U-10 York 136.638 4. U-15 R.S. Eastin 134.754 5. U-2 Chrysler Jeep 128.195 6. U-14 DNS >>> fast lap, (Lap 5) 154.798 Miss Pico

Chip's win at 152.591 is a new Gold Cup Final Heat record!

Final Qualifying Results (7-10-99)

1. U-1 Miss Budweiser 164.847 2. U-10 York Int'l 157.728 3. U-100 Miss PICO 153.573 4. U-9 Carpenter Comm 149.902 5. U-2 Chrysler Jeep 149.470 6. U-20 Appian Jeronimo 147.739 7. U-8 LLumar Window Film 147.269 8. U-6 Miss Madison 143.900 9. U-15 R.S. Eastin Hotels 143.841 10. U-3 Master Tire 136.728 11. U-14 Toyota Ind. Equip 132.298

U-1 Miss Budweiser 7825 U-100 Miss Pico 7051 U-15 Hopp Racing 5567 U-10 York 4502 U-2 Harvey Motorsports 3741

Hanauer zooms to within one
win of Muncey's career mark!

by Eric Sharp Detroit Free Press DETROIT - Sitting in the cockpit of his unlimited hydroplane, feeling desperate and more than a little sorry for himself after a poor qualifying run, Miss Pico driver Chip Hanauer looked out and saw a 14-year-old boy in a wheelchair, waiting for an autograph. "I was feeling this enormous pressure that I had to win. Then I saw that kid and thought, `No, I don't have to. I'm doing fine. My problems are pretty small,' " Hanauer said. "I hadn't been able to buy a start all day, so I decided instead of worrying about it, I'd just say to hell with it and throw myself at the starting line." Good choice. Later, on a sparkling Detroit River yesterday, Hanauer had an 11th Gold Cup on his record string and his 61st unlimited hydroplane victory, one fewer than the record 62 set by the late Bill Muncey. In the process, he blew away Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock, who had trounced Hanauer in two qualifying heats and run at least 5 mph faster than the other 10 boats all weekend in qualifying. After four days of struggling with mechanical and weather problems, Hanauer, a worrywart whose crew calls him Chicken Little, leaped out of the blue-and-white jet-turbine boat and announced, "I did it all myself. I built the boat. I tuned the engine. I fixed the broken hull. I even drove the truck. These guys are a bunch of morons." Then Hanauer planted big kisses on the heads of the technicians, who in 24 hours overcame what seemed like an insurmountable speed deficit and guided him to victory. "This is like playing chess with blindfolds on at 200 mph. I'm sitting in the boat, but Kenny Dryden is the one driving it," Hanauer said of his crew chief. "I can hardly see anything, so he tells me where to go and positions me on the course." Hanauer pulled off a perfect start in the final, timing his approach to hit the starting line with slower boats on either side and Villwock trailing in Hanauer's roostertail. "If Dave had been able to start alongside, I wouldn't have been able to hold him off. But by being ahead, I could move from side to side and put a little wake here and there that gave him rough water and kept him from getting by. The last time I left here it was in a helicopter, and I was unconscious. This feels a lot better," Hanauer quipped, referring to his 1996 Gold Cup crash. Villwock, the defending Gold Cup champion, said, "I'm sure they saved that engine for the final. It sounded a little different than the other one. It was getting rough." Hanauer's underdog victory was popular with more than 250,000 spectators who saw him average 152.591 mph in the 12.5-mile final, winning by a quarter mile. He earned a third victory in five races since returning this spring from a three-year retirement. Villwock was second at 148.802 mph. Although other teams suspected the Miss Pico crew of sandbagging, Hanauer said the team's eleventh-hour revival came despite a comedy of errors. "I was here Thursday at 8 a.m. with my helmet in hand, ready to race, and there was no boat," he said. "I thought, `That's not a good sign.' Then the boat shows up and the sponson is broken (it hit a low overpass en route). Then we lost Friday when the course was closed all day because of high winds. Then on Saturday, the engine shuts down on the first lap, and I thought, `This just wasn't meant to be.' "We had to use the rest of the qualifying heats to get the boat dialed in. I complained that I needed to practice timed starts, but they were calling me in every lap to try a new engine. They told me I'd just have to wing it."