Mickey Remund was the crowd's favorite to win Sunday's Gold Cup before an estimated 55,000 people, but when it was all over Remund's Pay 'N Pak hydro was sitting dead in the water.
Driving to the winner's circle at about that time was Dean Chenoweth in the Miss Budweiser.
Chenoweth, who was running second for the first lap and a half of the final heat, took advantage of a Pay 'N Pak propeller failure to charge into the lead in the backstretch of the second lap. He held off a solid challenge by defending champion Bill Muncey in Atlas Van Lines to win his second Gold Cup. Chenoweth won his first Gold Cup in 1970 in San Diego.
"I knew that if we pushed hard, somebody would have to break," Chenoweth said after the race. "So I stuffed my foot into it and went as fast as I could."
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Chenoweth, who was having engine problems in the last heat, fell behind early as Pay 'N Pak charged to a record-breaking 119.691 miles-per-hour lap the first time around the 2 1/2-mile course. Chenoweth had a 111.111 m.p.h. for the same lab, put had a poor start and was about six seconds behind the leader when Remund broke down.
"I don't know what happened," Remund said after the race. "Everything from the gear box to the prop is destroyed. The damage is almost the same as we had in Detroit." Part of the prop flew off and gouged a hole in his boat.
With Remund out of the race and partially sinking, Chenoweth and Muncey, who were tied for second with 1,100 points going into the final heat, battled for the Gold Cup.
Chenoweth was unable to get much of a lead until the fourth lap when he opened up a small gap. But Muncey kept pushing until the fifth lap when he began to fade.
Thirteen boats competed in the 10 heats, making it one of the largest fields in the history of the Gold Cup.
Chenoweth and Remund made an all-out assault on the record book, rewriting every record for a 2 1/2-mile course.
Remund, who broke two qualifying records Thursday, set the pace in Heat 1-A with two records, neither of which was good enough to last the race. He ran a 114.796 m.p.h. lap, snapping Chenoweth's 1969 record of 111.663 m.p.h., and recorded a 110.905 m.p.h. heat, which erased Chenoweth's 103.906 m.p.h., also set in 1969.
Those marks lasted only as long as Heat 3-A when Chenoweth and Muncey battled for two laps before Chenoweth passed Muncey on the outside and went in for the win.
In 3-A, Chenoweth set the heat record at 110.905 m.p.h., and the Muncey-driven Atlas was clocked at 114.796 m.p.h. in the first lap, erasing Remund's other record.
But even those records weren't good enough to stand. Both fell in the final heat when the sport's three fastest boats - the Pay 'N Pak, Atlas and Budweiser - were in the same heat.
Remund left the field behind in the first lap, rewriting the record at 119.691 m.p.h., the fastest anyone's ever gone in any official race, and Chenoweth, who was pushed by Muncey, took up the pace and finished with a record 111.386 m.p.h. heat.
Chenoweth averaged 105.354 m.p.h. for the 60-mile race (four heats of 15 miles each), a record, eclipsing the 100.535 set by Notre Dame in 1970.