EVANSVILLE, Ind., June 25, 2003 -- Dave Villwock will be looking to bring home a seventh consecutive victory -- his eighth -- in Evansville, Ind., this weekend for the U-1 Miss Budweiser team when the 2003 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series ...
EVANSVILLE, Ind., June 25, 2003 -- Dave Villwock will be looking to bring home a seventh consecutive victory -- his eighth -- in Evansville, Ind., this weekend for the U-1 Miss Budweiser team when the 2003 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series kicks off with the Thunder on the Ohio River.
The team will be continuing the legacy started by Bernie Little and now under the direction of his son Joe Little. Bernie Little passed away on April 25, 2002. Joe Little has taken his time at the helm to prepare the team for the upcoming season and to follow-up the 22nd World Championship won by the Miss Budweiser team in 2002.
"For a couple of years now we've been working on the succession plan and how to keep the team going once dad died," said Joe Little. "Boat racing and winning was my dad's passion, and I'm glad he shared it with me because it's a special sport. Fortunately, we're heading into the 2003 season with a team that has been handpicked over the decades and identical to last year."
Driver and team manager Dave Villwock begins his seventh season with the Miss Budweiser team and has won every year in Evansville since he started driving for the Miss Budweiser team. He also won in Evansville in 1996 driving the PICO American Dream.
"How much luck can a guy have?" Villwock said. "I can't believe I'm looking to continue winning here in Evansville for the eighth consecutive year. Evansville is a great town and it has been one of the kindest venues to me since driving for the Miss Budweiser team. I have to admit that the odds are against me this year to win again and that's why the team is going to have to perform extra hard to get as many points as we can in each heat."
Joe Little, Up Front -- Many people on the Unlimited Hydroplane racing circuit know him, others have seen met him or seen him in passing, but with the 2003 season kicking off, everyone's going to get a chance to know him a little better... that's Joe Little, president of Hydroplanes, Inc., team owner of the famous U-1 Miss Budweiser.
Joe grew up in the shadows of his dad, Bernie Little, and has been training his whole life to succeed in business and win on the race course.
"I'm definitely a different person than my dad," said Joe Little. "I have to admit that I enjoyed being around him growing up. He was fun to watch and bigger than life. He also had an instinctual and driven work ethic. When I came back from my first year of college at the University of Georgia there was no sitting around, Dad put me to work and I've been working for the beer distributorship since then."
Little also is president of Bernie Little Distributors in Lakeland, Fla. The distributorship employs approximately 110 employees and is the distributor of Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch products in Polk County, Highlands County, Hardee County and Okeechobe County, Florida.
"My role with the Miss Budweiser team is much the same as it is in the day-to-day work I do," Little said. "That's to provide the vision and support to my teams whether they are racing or working. And, when you have teams as good as dad put together, it makes my life pretty easy."
Joe Little on Evansville -- "Coming to Evansville each year is like coming back to my childhood home," said Little. "For several years dad owned the River House and many people remember it as 'Bernie Little's River House' and I recall staying there for races, New Years and other times throughout the years, it was always a good time. I remember one incident as a young kid when The Miss Budweiser won here and I was elected to take the trophy from the race site to the hotel. I was using a luggage cart and I was so scared that it would fall off or someone would steal it."
Speed Channel -- Hydro fans can watch each race of the 2003 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series on the Speed Channel. The Evansville race will be initially broadcast on the Speed Channel on July 13 at 1:30 p.m. ET. For a complete television schedule visit www.hydroprop.com or www.speedtv.com for subscription and local broadcast information.
Statistically Speaking -- The Miss Budweiser team has a record in unlimited hydroplane racing that is unrivaled with 134 victories, 22 world championships and 14 APBA Gold Cups. The team has entered a record 354 races and finished in the top-three a total of 230 times in 40 years of competition. The crew of the Miss Budweiser has a combined 286 years of experience. Dave Villwock who has been racing unlimited hydroplanes since 1992, has 39 wins, six series championships and five APBA Gold Cups to his credit.