Thunder on the Ohio
- Also see: Sports in Evansville.
Thunder on the Ohio
|Sport||American Power Boat Association|
|Founded||1938 (reestablished in 1978)|
|Country||United States, Evansville, Indiana|
|Most recent champion(s)||N.A.|
Thunder was held each year on the Ohio River in downtown Evansville, Indiana, USA. Evansville had hosted Thunder on the Ohio consecutively since 1979 (although the race was originally founded in 1938). The winner of Thunder on the Ohio received the Four Freedoms Cup, which was named after the nearby Four Freedoms Monument which rests along the Ohio River. The race had frequently been broadcast on major television networks such as ESPN and SPEED.
Evansville had established itself as one of hydroplane racing’s most important venues with superb spectator viewing areas. Historically, most of the world speed records for 2-mile courses have been set on Evansville’s sporty tri-oval.
Having hosted its first Thunderboat classic in 1938, only two current race sites pre-date Evansville, Indiana. Madison, Indiana, conducted its first major event in 1929 and Detroit, Michigan, debuted in 1916.
Thunder on the Ohio had been an Unlimited hydroplane mainstay for 31 consecutive years. "Ideal Evansville" replaced Owensboro, Kentucky, on the unlimited calendar in 1979. Evansville was the world headquarters of Atlas Van Lines, Inc., which sponsored Bill Muncey's race team. Muncey played a major role in Evansville being awarded its first sanction.
Thunder on the Ohio was not new to Evansville in 1978. From 1938 through 1940 the 725 Cubic Inch Class boats, the forerunners of the modern unlimiteds, raced at Evansville for the Thunder on the Ohio title. From 1938 through 1940, the winning driver was presented the Seagram Cup instead of the current Four Freedoms Cup.
From 1979 through 2008, Thunder on the Ohio had been the primary event of the broader Evansville Freedom Festival. In 2009, Thunder on the Ohio broke away from the Evansville Freedom Festival, and moved towards the end of August as a stand alone event. The 2010 event was cancelled due to financial problems.
Dave Villwock won more Evansville races than anyone else, including seven with Miss Budweiser.
List of Thunder on the Ohio winners (1938- 1940)
|1938||Marion Cooper||Hermes III|
|1939||"Wild Bill" Cantrell||Why Worry|
|1940||Marion Cooper||Mercury Marine|
List of Thunder on the Ohio winners (1979- 2009)
|1979||Bill Muncey||Atlas Van Lines|
|1980||Dean Chenoweth||Miss Budweiser|
|1981||Bill Muncey||Atlas Van Lines|
|1982||Chip Hanauer||Atlas Van Lines|
|1983||Chip Hanauer||Atlas Van Lines|
|1984||Jim Kropfeld||Miss Budweiser|
|1985||Chip Hanauer||Miller American|
|1986||Jim Kropfeld||Miss Budweiser|
|1987||Jim Kropfeld||Miss Budweiser|
|1988||Chip Hanauer||Miss Circus Circus|
|1989||Larry Lauterbach||Winston Eagle|
|1990||Tom D'Eath||Miss Budweiser|
|1991||Scott Pierce||Miss Budweiser|
|1992||Chip Hanauer||Miss Budweiser|
|1993||Chip Hanauer||Miss Budweiser|
|1994||Chip Hanauer||Miss Budweiser|
|1995||Mark Tate||Smokin' Joe's|
|1996||Dave Vilwock||PICO American Dream|
|1997||Dave Villwock||Miss Budweiser|
|1998||Dave Villwock||Miss Budweiser|
|1999||Dave Villwock||Miss Budweiser|
|2000||Dave Villwock||Miss Budweiser|
|2001||Dave Villwock||Miss Budweiser|
|2002||Dave Villwock||Miss Budweiser|
|2003||Mitch Evans||Cooper Motorsports|
|2004||Dave Villwock||Miss Budweiser|
|2005||Steve David||Oh Boy! Oberto (Miss Madison)|
|2006||Dave Villwock||Ellstrom Elam Plus|
|2007||Dave Villwock||Ellstrom Elam Plus|
|2008||Jean Theoret||Miss Beacon Plumbing|
|2009||Jeff Bernard||Miss Formulaboats.com|
- Shaw, Dan (14 July 2010). "Thunder on the Ohio Silence". Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved 17 November 2013.