Tony Steinhardt (top, center) celebrates with Shane and team president Charlie Grooms. Steinhardt was a crew member on the ’71 boat and a Miss Madison board member since 1966. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Tony Steinhardt (top, center) celebrates with Shane and team president Charlie Grooms. Steinhardt was a crew member on the ’71 boat and a Miss Madison board member since 1966. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
They may not make a movie out of this win, but that doesn’t mean that Sunday’s victory in the APBA Gold Cup will be any less sweet for the Miss Madison Racing Team and its adoring fans.

Forty-eight years after Jim McCormick made history by steering the community-owned Miss Madison to a win in the prestigious Gold Cup on its home waters, another driver named Jim repeated the feat with a victory Sunday aboard the newest Miss Madison, which is sponsored by HomeStreet Bank out of Seattle.

Jimmy Shane, who already has three Gold Cups to his credit in the past five years for the Miss Madison team, added another to the trophy case by running past his opponents and dominating every heat of racing. It was hardly the upset that McCormick’s win represented in 1971, but it was no less special to those that were on hand to watch.

“This is a great day for all of us. My dream has always been that we would get the Gold Cup back and repeat 1971,” said Tony Steinhardt, who played a pivotal role on that 1971 crew and has served on the team’s board of directors since 1966. “The emotions with this team always kicks in. A lot of people realize we started this team in 1961, but nobody knows what we’ve been through.”

The Miss Madison Team had two other chances to win the Gold Cup on its home course prior to Sunday but the team was nowhere near in contention in either 1979 or 1980.

But this year was going to be different and everybody knew it. Shane and the HomeStreet crew have won eight of the last 10 National High Points championships and dominated the season opener on Guntersville Lake in Alabama a week earlier.

Ever since the Madison Regatta secured the rights to the Gold Cup in April, the team has circled the race on its calendar, determined to repeat history.

“I don’t think anybody here is in it for themselves. It’s about the city, it’s about the state and it’s of course for our sponsors,” Steinhardt said. “But our heart is right here. That’s the important thing.”

That feeling of community permeated the riverfront. Each time Shane flew by on the race course, the home crowd roared its approval. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, who was named an honorary crewmember just before the final, hooted and hollered from the pits like the fan he has become as Shane crossed the finish line to claim the win.

And then there was Shane. Although a native of Maryland who now calls the Seattle area home, Shane has embraced Madison and the fans have hugged him back. For two weeks, Shane talked about what it would mean to bring the Gold Cup back home to the fans in Madison and he was emotional on Sunday as he described the win.

“It means everything. This is the town. This town is boat racing,” said Shane, who later recreated McCormick’s post-race victory ride down Vaughn Drive with his sons Colton and Hudson by his side just as McCormick made the same drive with son Mike in 1971. “I have the best fan base in the world and I can’t thank them enough.”

One of Shane’s first stops after getting out of the boat was to embrace retired team president Bob Hughes. The heart of the team for four decades, the ailing Hughes watched the race from a golf cart in the pits and smiled as the boat he has supported for much of his adult life brought home the biggest prize in the sport.

“Bob has meant the world to this team. He joined us in 1970 and we would never have gotten to this point without him,” current team president Charlie Grooms said. “It’s cool that he has gotten a chance to see another Gold Cup.”

The Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison team now turns its sights toward finishing off the season and winning its ninth national championship, but they’ll never forget winning the Gold Cup on their home course and repeating the feat they had heard so much about. Like McCormick, Steinhardt, crew chief Dave Stewart and the rest of the crew, this year’s team is now a part of history.

“I’m just ecstatic that they’re able to experience this. Forty-eight years later and their grandchildren get to experience what they got to experience in ’71,” Shane said of the fans. “It’s just an honor to be a part of it.”