HPROP: Dave Villwock Madison Regatta preview

MADISON, Ind., June 29, 2003 -- It's been three years since the Miss Budweiser Team has taken home a victory from Madison but this weekend when Round 2 of the 2003 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series takes to the Ohio River in the Budweiser ...

MADISON, Ind., June 29, 2003 -- It's been three years since the Miss Budweiser Team has taken home a victory from Madison but this weekend when Round 2 of the 2003 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series takes to the Ohio River in the Budweiser Madison Regatta Supported by Belterra Casino Resort, the team will be putting every effort forward to take home first place and the maximum points possible toward the championship.

Last weekend in Evansville, the Miss Budweiser broke a propeller shaft at the start of the final heat, forcing it to the sidelines for the rest of the race, resulting in a fifth place finish and zero points for the heat. Prior to that, the Miss Budweiser piloted by Dave Villwock had placed first in the second heat and second in heats one and three.

"I was disappointed last weekend, because I much rather have Dave Villwock in the cockpit leading the pack than standing on the boat as it's being towed in," said Joe Little, president of Hydroplanes Inc., owner of the Miss Budweiser. "However, we were very fortunate last weekend that the propeller shaft broke when it did, otherwise it could have been catastrophic for Dave and the boat; and safety is more important than winning any day."

It was the first equipment failure for the Miss Budweiser team in more than seven years.

"It's just one of those things you can't anticipate," said Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock who also is the team manager. "It's nobody's fault, but we took that experience and we've poured over every propeller and shaft we have and we've gone through both boats with a fine tooth comb. We're more than ready for this weekend, and the Miss Budweiser Team is going to deliver Joe Little his first owner's victory."

The Miss Budweiser team has won in Madison a total of 13 times with the first win coming in 1970 and the most recent win in 2000. Dave Villwock has 39 career victories with only three of those coming from Madison (1997, 1998, 2000).

"I've always struggled in Madison, I'm not sure why," Villwock said. "Last weekend in Evansville I had the odds against me since I've won there so many times (7), so this weekend, I've definitely got the odds in my favor. I'm due in Madison and I think it's time the Miss Budweiser went out and delivered a win for the fans here."

Joe Little, Up Front -- Joe Little won his first official race heat in the owner role last weekend in Evansville when Dave Villwock placed first in the second heat with the fastest lap of 150.536 mph. In Madison, he'll be looking for his first official race win in the owner's role.

"It's been three years since the Miss Budweiser team has had a win here in Madison," Little said. "I was disappointed last weekend, but with all the past success in Evansville it wasn't a devastating loss. However, the team hasn't had the same recent success in Madison and that makes this weekend more important than ever to me and to the team."

Last weekend the Miss Budweiser suffered its first mechanical failure in more than seven years when the propeller shaft broke at the beginning of the final heat.

"Dave and I chatted on the dock once they towed in the Miss Budweiser and we both were relieved that the part broke when it did," Little said. "I think we both kind of looked up and couldn't help but think that dad (Bernie Little) was still looking out for his driver and boat."

"Evansville put on a nice memorial service and it was a somewhat emotional first race for me. Most of the time I kept busy enough to not think about missing dad and the new responsibility I have, but I have to thank everyone who has stopped by and expressed their sympathies and support. I can definitely see why dad did this for 40 years."

Speed Channel -- For those Hydro fans who can't attend the race, the Budweiser Madison Regatta will be broadcast on the Speed Channel on July 20 at 2 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.

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