Hydro Racing

Aug. 1, 1977: 60,000 see Muncey win 6th Gold Cup

Hydroplane driver Bill Muncey won a record sixth Gold Cup Sunday before an estimated 60,000 spectators sweltering in 102-degree weather.

Muncey, driving Atlas Van Lines to a fifth victory in seven races this year, drove a near flawless race to win the top prize in unlimited hydroplane racing.

Tri-City Water Follies and law enforcement officials said the crowd lining both Benton and Franklin county sides of the Columbia River was the largest in the 12 years the unlimiteds have been racing here.

Muncey, 48, surpassed Gar Wood's five straight Gold Cup triumphs (1917-1921). Already the all-time winningest unlimited driver, Muncey has 43 career victories.

Angling in from the outside lane, Muncey was off to a flying start in the championship heat and Atlas grabbed the lead before the first turn and went on to score a convincing 30-second victory over second-place Miss Budweiser, driven by Mickey Remund.

Third went to The Squire, Barney Armstrong's Machine was fourth and KYYX and Natural Light did not finish.

The Jim Lucero designed-Atlas Van Lines turned in an impressive performance setting two records and winning all four races it was in Sunday.

The shiny blue hydro also set a Gold Cup and course heat record of 114.771 m.p.h. and a Gold Cup 2 1/2 mile lap record of 124.30-m.p.h.

Muncey said what paid off was the maneuver to have perfect timing to get a flying start in the final heat.

"I had set it up with the crew three heats earlier. It requires perfect timing and when I tried it in San Diego last year, I jumped the gun and the extra lap I had to go cost me $10,000."

Earlier in the day the Miss Budweiser won over the Pay 'N Pak in the best race of the day in Heat 2C. The lead changed hands several times before the Pak bounced violently and damaged the boat and the Pak was through for the day but expects to race at Seattle Seafair next Sunday.

Miss Budweiser, which sank Friday, was repaired in Seattle in less than 48 hours and returned to the Columbia River course at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.