Billy Martin still had a solid chance of catching Cook, but it was not to be: a broken rod and leaking oil stopped him cold early on the second circuit of the islands. In the final 20 miles one last challenger, Preston Henn, had a run at Cook but she won with 200 yards to spare.
By all rights, the winningest combination in a hyper-technical game like offshore powerboat racing should be a veteran driver and crew with the latest red-hot equipment, but such logic is too pat for this whimsical pursuit. Sometimes old hands win in new boats, and sometimes novices win in junk stuff. The third driver to finish at Cedar Point was a rookie, Al Weichelsbaum in the latest kind of Cigarette hull. The fourth to finish was Jerry Jacoby, another rookie, driving a fourth-hand Cigarette that has been to the wars too often. Two years ago, Tom Gentry won the world championship in Jacoby's hull. Last year, when Joe Ippolito, who came in sixth at Cedar Point, drove the same hull in the world championship it literally came apart. There is no figuring the luck of offshore racing, even when it is practiced inland. It is the sweet prospect of winning, or even finishing where so many others fail, that keeps the racers coming.