1965 Notre Dame
NOTRE DAME’s 1965 Gold Cup defeat was also disappointing to owner Shirley Mendelson McDonald. Her fondest wish had always been to duplicate her father Herb Mendelson’s triumph of 1937 with an earlier NOTRE DAME.
Mrs. McDonald tried for twelve years to win the Gold Cup but failed to do so, although she finished second twice: in 1965 with Manchester and in 1970 with Leif Borgersen.
MISS EXIDE, the former MISS WAHOO of 1956, another Jones hull, was clearly MISS BARDAHL’s equal in 1965. During qualification for the Gold Cup, MISS EXIDE eclipsed MAVERICK’s 1958 record of 119.956 for the 9-mile distance with a new standard of 120.312 on a 3-mile course. It is for this achievement that MISS EXIDE is probably best remembered. She is also known for pioneering the use of “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide) in Unlimited racing.
In Gold Cup Heat 1-A, the EXIDE roared to victory at an unprecedented 112.172 for the 15-mile distance, trouncing Chuck Thompson and the “Gray Ghost” TAHOE MISS, which did 109.800.
MISS EXIDE and MISS BARDAHL faced each other for the first time on Gold Cup day in Heat 3-B with EXIDE taking it and BARDAHL finishing second.
At the outset of the Final Heat, MISS BARDAHL and NOTRE DAME both had 1100 points, while MISS EXIDE trailed with 969. Although down on points, EXIDE was still fast enough to be considered formidable. But when Brow’s supercharger let go on the backstretch of lap-one, MISS EXIDE’s chances literally went up in smoke.
At the trophy presentation ceremony, third-place finisher Thompson collapsed. Only then was it revealed that Chuck had suffered a broken rib in the first heat of the day when TAHOE MISS took a bad bounce. Despite excruciating pain, Thompson did not tell his crew of the injury and went on to finish all four heats. The man had guts.
The 1965 Gold Cup was an oddity in that it marked the only time, between 1955 and 1981, that Bill Muncey did not have a “ride” on Gold Cup race day.
Since being fired off of NOTRE DAME in mid-season 1964, Muncey’s career had not gone well. A back ailment prevented him from accepting a full-time driving assignment in 1965. Although, he did try unsuccessfully to persuade the MISS THRIFTWAY people to “unretire” for one last try for the Gold Cup. (They had previously won the race four times between 1956 and 1962.)
Bill qualified the elephantine twin-Allison-powered SUCH CRUST IV for the 1965 Gold Cup as a favor to the owner, Jack Schafer, Sr., who was an old friend. But on race day, Muncey turned SUCH CRUST IV’s wheel over to Red Loomis, in order to honor an earlier commitment to provide commentary for a local television broadcast of the event.
But still, a Gold Cup race without Bill Muncey at the starting line? It seemed like heresy!