HPROP: Columbia Cup: Miss Budweiser race summary

Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser finishes sixth in Budweiser Columbia Cup race. TRI-CITIES, Wash.-- Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser finished a disappointing sixth today in the final heat for the 2002 Budweiser Columbia Cup. Driver Dave Villwock...

Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser finishes sixth in Budweiser Columbia Cup race.

TRI-CITIES, Wash.-- Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser finished a disappointing sixth today in the final heat for the 2002 Budweiser Columbia Cup. Driver Dave Villwock saved the Miss Budweiser from a sideways flight after catching a wave on the apex of a turn and landing on the inside of the course, resulting in a one-lap penalty. Ken Muscatel in the U-25 boat was not as fortunate as his boat became airborne and flipped, breaking the boat in half. Muscatel escaped injury.

The race started with a fight for lanes where Villwock managed to take the inside lane with Nate Brown in the U-16 boat next to him in lane two." Nate kept pushing me in toward the buoy's and then I got airborne sideways as I rounded the pin on lane one," said Villwock. "Fortunately, I was able to put it flat and still race to the checkered first but the penalty lead us to our sixth place finish. This wasn't our best weekend of racing in Tri-Cities but at least today we were able to put the boat back on the trailer in one piece."

"It was scary as I saw Nate Brown come over in the turn and then the Miss Budweiser and Dave we're airborne a good 15 to 20 feet," said Joe Little, son of Miss Budweiser owner Bernie Little."It's a scary thing for an owner, or anyone, to see the bottom of the boat as it's going sideways through the air. It's a testament to Dave's driving experience that he was able to bring the boat back to the water safely, and we're glad that Ken (Muscatel) is okay after his crash."

Villwock qualified second fastest this weekend with a speed of 158.895mph, behind the 162.666mph of the U-16 Elam Plus boat driven by Nate Brown. He won the first heat of the day before driving to a fourth place finish in the second heat and a fifth place finish in the third heat after being assessed a one-lap penalty for pushing out.

Bernie Little Continues Recovery-- Joe Little, son of Miss Budweiser owner Bernie Little has been serving as the owner's representative on-site while Bernie Little continues his recovery from a case of pneumonia suffered over the Fourth of July Holiday. Bernie Little listened to commentary this weekend from his son Joe during each of the race heats.

"Dad is feeling a lot better but not being here is driving him crazy. He really lives for the race season," said Joe Little."I grew up around Unlimited Hydroplane Racing but filling dad's shoes here on-site has given me a new perspective on the sport and I better understand now why Dad has done it for 40 years. Bernie has really put together an outstanding team from Dave Villwock to Mark Smith our crew chief and the rest of the Miss Budweiser team. They are really a first class operation."

"I know it was a challenging day for the team and I wish I could have been there to lend my support,' Bernie Little said." Hopefully, I'll be able to make San Diego, and possibly Seattle next weekend, but I don't want to over do it and have to see the doctors again."

Villwock Maintains Points Lead-- Villwock continues to unofficially lead the O'Doul's National High Points Championship with 554 points over Mike Hanson in the U-9 boat who has 502 points. The U-16 boat of Nate Brown is in third with 487 points followed by Mark Tate and the U-2 boat with 438 points and Terry Troxell in the U-99 boat rounds out the top five with 426 points.

Seattle Bound for Next Race-- The Miss Budweiser team will return to its base in Tukwila, Wash. to prepare for next weekend's annual General Motors Cup at Seafair in Seattle. Villwock is the three-time defending Seattle winner, with five career wins in his hometown ('94,' 96,' 98,' 99 and 2000). Little has 14 wins in Seattle (1969,' 70,' 76,' 81,' 83,' 84,' 87,' 88,' 91,' 93,' 95,' 98,' 99 and 2000).

Statistically Speaking-- Villwock, who has been racing Unlimited Hydroplanes since 1992, has 38 wins, five series championships and five APBA Gold Cups to his credit. Little is competing in his 40th consecutive year of Unlimited hydroplane competition. Since 1963, Little's Miss Budweiser team has claimed 133 Unlimited victories, 21 world championships and 14 APBA Gold Cups.

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