HPROP: Northwest swing preview

Parity continues for Unlimited Hydroplanes as series heads for Northwest Swing. Tri-Cities, Wash. (July 25-27) & Seattle, Wash. (August 1-3) (Tri-Cities, Wash.) - The Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Boat Shopper® magazine ...

Parity continues for Unlimited Hydroplanes as series heads for Northwest Swing.
Tri-Cities, Wash. (July 25-27) & Seattle, Wash. (August 1-3)

(Tri-Cities, Wash.) - The Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Boat Shopper® magazine heads for the Pacific Northwest for the Budweiser Columbia Cup (July 25-27) at Tri-Cities, Washington and the General Motors Cup at Seafair (August 1-3) at Seattle, Washington. With two highly competitive Unlimited races recently contested on the Ohio River, the Hydros look to the challenging waters in the state of Washington.

"Tri-Cities and Seattle have consistently produced some of the most exciting Unlimited races in the history of the sport," said Bart Garbrecht, CEO of Hydro-Prop. "But this year they will have a hard act to follow after two spectacular events in Indiana. A number of teams have stepped up their competitive level and are legitimate threats to the championship. Many teams have either built, rebuilt or purchased new hulls over the past few years and have dialed them in to their optimum performance levels."

"The preliminary heats this year have continued the trend that became evident last year with numerous different heat victors," continued Garbrecht. "In 14 preliminary heats this year, there have been 11 different winners for a percentage of 79%. This is an increase of 22% from the 2001 season where the percentage was just 57%."

"Another indication of the increased performance level among all Unlimiteds this season is the increased speeds from qualifying," continued Garbrecht. "At Evansville, the average qualifying speed for all the Unlimiteds was over five miles per hour faster than last year. And at Madison, the average was more than two and a half mph faster. The parity and competition continues to increase within the series and the fans at Tri-Cities and Seattle should expect action packed deck-to-deck racing."

Practice and qualifying for the Budweiser Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities, Wash. will begin Friday, July 25 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, July 27. Practice and qualifying for Seafair's General Motors Cup at Seattle, Wash., will begin Friday, August 1 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, August 3.

* Expected Entries for West Coast

The Pacific Northwest swing will attract a number of talented professional Unlimited drivers including the defending Tri-Cities winner, Nate Brown, and the defending Seattle and championship victor, Dave Villwock. Other challengers include Terry Troxell, Mitch Evans, Steve David, Mark Evans, Michael Hanson, Mike Weber, Dr. Ken Muscatel, Jerry Hopp and Jerry Hale.

* Scott Pierce Returns to Hydros in Television Booth

Due to a prior broadcasting commitment with the Champ Car Series, SPEED Channel's Hydros announcer, Chris McClure, will be unable to announce the Budweiser Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities, Wash. Therefore, Hydro-Prop has enlisted the services of the 1991 Unlimited Hydroplane World Champion, Scott Pierce. Pierce, the owner of seven career Unlimited victories, will bring his 18 years of racing experience to the television booth to team with Steve Montgomery on SPEED Channel. Pierce had retired from the sport in 1997 but made a comeback in 2001 to drive for Jim Harvey for the season.

* Washington State Locals

Eight of the Unlimited drivers live in the state of Washington including: Dave Villwock, Auburn; Terry Troxell, Gig Harbor; Mitch Evans, Chelan; Michael Hanson, Bonney Lake; Mark Evans, Redmond; Nate Brown, Preston; Dr. Ken Muscatel, Seattle and Jerry Hopp, Snohomish.

* Weber Poised for Victory

Mike Weber has captured a large portion of the spotlight this season and is ready to dethrone the Miss Budweiser for top honors. Weber, who drives the U-10 Miss EMCOR, currently sits in second place in the championship on the strength of a third place finish at Evansville and three preliminary heat wins. Weber's Madison race turned literally upside down when in the final he soared end-over-end thus eliminating his chances for victory. Weber heads to the West Coast in search of his first career victory.

* Podium Finishes Continue for Hanson

Michael Hanson is currently working on three consecutive podium finishes including his victory at last year's season finale at San Diego. This year, Hanson has finished second at Evansville and third at Madison and currently is in third place in the championship.

* O'Doul's Points High Points World Championship Update

Dave Villwock and the Miss Budweiser head to the West Coast as the current leader in the O'Doul's High Points World Championship. Villwock (280 points) seeks his seventh drivers' championship but has numerous close pursuers including Mike Weber (241 points), Michael Hanson (236 points), Mark Evans (213 points) and Mitch Evans (179 points).

* Detroit's APBA Gold Cup Race Set for August 22-24

Hydro-Prop applauds the Detroit River Regatta Association led by Tom D'Eath and the Chrysler-Jeep® Superstores for putting together a plan to save the APBA Gold Cup race on the Detroit River. D'Eath and the Detroit Mayor, the Honorable Kwame Kilpatrick, made the announcement that the Chrysler-Jeep® Superstores APBA Gold Cup race will be held Friday, August 22 - Sunday, August 24.

Headquartered in Lake Hamilton, Fla., HYDRO-PROP owns and operates the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Boat Shopper® magazine. Unlimited Hydroplanes are the most dramatic, exciting, and spectacular racing vehicles in the world. They are the largest and fastest racing boats reaching top speeds of 220 miles per hour and can cover the length of a football field in less than one second. HYDRO-PROP events are held throughout North America and are televised during prime time on SPEED Channel. SPEED Channel is the fastest growing sports network in America and is recognized as America's motorsports leader. For more information on HYDRO-PROP, visit www.hydroprop.com.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Boat
Drivers Mitch Evans