HPROP: Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series season review

(Lake Hamilton, Fla.) - The 2001 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented by Laughlin had some great moments but the most prolific aspect of the season was the parity that was witnessed in the sport for the first time in many years. The ...

(Lake Hamilton, Fla.) - The 2001 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented by Laughlin had some great moments but the most prolific aspect of the season was the parity that was witnessed in the sport for the first time in many years. The series produced five different winners in six races as well as some of the best deck-to-deck racing the sport has seen. Parity was also evident throughout the season in the preliminary heats where eight different drivers produced victories.

"The level of competition this year was truly amazing," said Gary Garbrecht President of HYDRO-PROP. "Our main goal in the off-season was to incorporate some rules that would level the playing field to bring more interest and fan support to the series. We knew heading into the season we would face many challenges, but I believe we met those challenges and brought new life to Unlimited Hydroplane racing. Fans all over the country witnessed the best boat racing in the world and everyone associated with the series should be proud to be a part of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented by Laughlin."

HYDRO-PROP would also like to thank all their dedicated sponsors including the title sponsor, Anheuser-Busch and the presenting sponsor, the Laughlin Visitors Bureau. In addition, HYDRO-PROP would also like to thank Alamo, Hot Boat Magazine, Racing Communications, Powerboat Racing Rescue, Thunderduck Inflatables, Polaris, Yamaha Outboards, Prevost by Entertainment Coaches of America, Motor Racing Outreach, Telmex, VP Fuels and Amsoil, who without their support, would not have been able to produce such a terrific season.

Other highlights of the 2001 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented by Laughlin included the return of three veteran Unlimited drivers, two first-time winners, a full-field at most events and a competitive championship battle.

* Veteran Unlimited Drivers Returned to Sport
Steve David, Scott Pierce and Mike Weber all made a return to the Unlimited Hydroplane Series this season. David drove for the City of Madison in the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto and thrilled the home crowd with his victory at Madison, Ind. Pierce, a 17-year veteran of Unlimited racing, drove for Jim Harvey in the U-2 and Mike Weber returned to drive alongside his brother Mark for USA Racing Partners.

* First-Time Victors
Terry Troxell and Nate Brown became first-time winners this season. Troxell, who began racing Unlimited's last year at Tri-Cities, drove the U-99 Miss Znetix II to victory this year at Tri-Cities. Brown, who spent the first part of the season helping finish a brand new boat, produced his first career victory at Seattle aboard the U-16 Miss Elam Plus. He followed up that victory by winning the San Diego Bayfair.

Mike and Lori Jones, team owners of the U-9 Jones Racing, had an even more triumphant first win as Michael Hanson won the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit.

* Full-Field for Unlimited's
The 2001 season saw a full complement of talented Unlimited drivers that competed for top honors. Even though a few teams did not have completed boats by the start of the season, the last three races had a full field of 12 boats roaring along the water, in fact, 13 boats were in the field at Seattle.

* Miss Budweiser Crowned Champion
Dave Villwock drove Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser to an unprecedented 21st World Championship. Villwock also earned his fifth career O'Doul's National High Points Driver's Championship. Villwock has won four consecutive driver's championships and five in the last six years.

* Details of 2002 Season Shaping Up
In addition to the traditional six races on the Unlimited schedule, there are three pending event sites that will hopefully be finalized in the off-season. HYDRO-PROP has been diligently working with organizers from Toronto, Canada, Honolulu, HI and Owensboro, Ky. in hopes of producing a nine-event schedule.

"Increasing the Unlimited schedule has always been a major goal," continued Garbrecht. "We would like to build off the momentum of a successful season in an attempt to take Unlimited Hydroplane racing to the next level. I am really looking forward to the next couple of years and watching this sport grow in popularity and prestige." <pre> * O'Doul's National High Point Championship Standings

2001 Final Driver Standings 2001 Final Boat Standings 1. U-1 Dave Villwock 896 points 1. U-1 Miss Budweiser 896 points 2. U-10 Mark Weber 676 points 2. U-10 Miss EMCOR 675 points 3. U-100 Greg Hopp 572 points 3. U-100 Miss Znetix 572 points 4. U-9 Michael Hanson 550 points 4. U-9 Jones Racing 550 points 5. U-6 Steve David 518 points 5. U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto 518 points 6. U-99 Terry Troxell 490 points 6. U-99 Miss Znetix II 490 points 7. U-16 Nate Brown 428 points 7. U-16 Miss Elam Plus 428 points 8. U-8 Jimmy King 322 points 8. U-8 LLumar Window Film 322 points 9. U-25 Ken Muscatel 308 points 9. U-25 Silver Dollar Casino 308 points 10. U-3 Mitch Evans 254 points 10. U-3 Vacationville.com 254 points 11. U-2 Scott Pierce 206 points 11. U-2 Trendwest 206 points 12. U-15 Mike Weber 170 points 12. U-15 Miss EMCOR II 171 points 13. U-20 Jerry Hopp 23 points 13. U-20 Golden Nugget Casino 23 points

2001 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Laughlin

Date            Venue                   Event                           Winning Team
June 30-July 1  Evansville, Ind.        Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio   Dave Villwock/Miss Budweiser
July 7-8        Madison, Ind.           Belterra Casino Madison Regatta Steve David/Oh Boy! Oberto
July 12-15      Detroit, Mich.          Chrysler-Jeep APBA Cup          Michael Hanson/Jones Racing
July 27-29      Tri-Cities, Wash.       Budweiser Columbia Cup          Terry Troxell/Miss Znetix II
August 3-5      Seattle, Wash.          General Motors Cup at Seafair   Nate Brown/Miss Elam Plus
Sept. 14-16     San Diego, Calif.       Budweiser Bill Muncey   Cup     Nate Brown/Miss Elam Plus


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Series Boat
Drivers Mitch Evans