HPROP: Ohio River race summary

Mitch Evans thrills hometown crowd with thunderous win at Evansville, Ind. First piston powered victory in 14 years; parity in field produces six different heat victors (Evansville, Ind.) - Mitch Evans won today's Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio...

Mitch Evans thrills hometown crowd with thunderous win at Evansville, Ind.
First piston powered victory in 14 years; parity in field produces six different heat victors

(Evansville, Ind.) - Mitch Evans won today's Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio at Evansville, Indiana, the first race of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented by Boat Shopper® magazine.

Today's spectacular triumph for Evans and his piston powered U-3 Master Tire marked the first piston powered victory since both were victorious 14 years ago in 1989 at Tri-Cities, Washington. Evans, who currently drives the only piston powered Unlimited in the series, also was the second fastest qualifier and won a preliminary heat. Evans and the U-3 Master Tire's victory occurred in front of many loyal and boisterous hometown fans as the boat is based locally in Evansville.

Ed Cooper, Jr. and Sr., owners of the U-3 Master Tire, debuted their new piston powered Unlimited last year at Tri-Cities and immediately raised eyebrows with its tremendous power and speed. Evans was able to raise the piston powered lap speed record at both Seattle and San Diego last year and yesterday at Evansville.

"After finally finishing this new boat and racing it out west last season, I had high expectations coming into this year," said Evans. "But with lofty expectations and a fast boat comes the pressure to perform. The team set up the boat exactly the way I wanted which enabled me to handle the challenging river."

"The atmosphere here today was something that I will never forget, continued Evans. "To get another victory for a piston powered Unlimited is a tremendous accomplishment, but to do it in Evansville, where many people have helped us through the years is the best scenario possible. I don't know what was better to hear, the roar of this piston or the cheering of the crowd. I could literally hear the crowd going crazy even over the thunder of the boat."

"This win is for all those fans that have supported this team over the past years even though they knew we realistically did not have a chance against the more powerful turbines. Now the tables have turned and this team is ready to challenge for the championship. Maybe we can make it two for two in front of our loyal supporters at Madison."

Evans led the whole way around the two-mile course and was not challenged, as two of his competitors were unable to complete a lap in the final. Evansville's seven-time champion, Dave Villwock and the Miss Budweiser, broke a prop shaft before the race started and Mark Evans suffered a fuel system failure that led to engine damage. The battle for second was contested between Michael Hanson and Mike Weber with Hanson prevailing in the end. Weber rounded out the podium in third and Terry Troxell took fourth.

* Parity Once Again is Theme in Preliminary Heats
The competition in the six preliminary heats at the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio was terrific as six different drivers produced heat victories. The parity among the Unlimited's, which was evident all last season, continued at Evansville with today's results as Michael Hanson, Mitch Evans, Dave Villwock, Mark Evans, Mike Weber and Nate Brown all won heats.

* Mitch Evans Raises Piston Powered Record
In Saturday's qualifying at Evansville, Mitch Evans raised the piston powered 2-mile lap speed record to 152.422 mph. Evans had held the previous time of 145.612 mph, which he set last year at Seattle.

*       O'Doul's High Point World Championship Standings

With his victory today, Mitch Evans took the early lead in the O'Doul's High Points World Championship standings. Evans leads the championship with 134 points over Mike Weber with 127 points and Michael Hanson with 117 points. Dave Villwock currently sits in fourth with 110 points and Mark Evans has 82 points.

Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio Results:
1. U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans
2. U-9 WABX, Michael Hanson
3. U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber
4. U-2 Miss Trendwest, Terry Troxell
5. U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock
6. U-8 LLumar Window Film, Mark Evans

Did Not Make Final:
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David
U-100 Miss Raben Tire, Greg Hopp
U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown
U-25 Mister Home Loan, Dr. Ken Muscatel

The Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio race from Evansville, Ind. will be televised on SPEED Channel on Sunday, July 13 at 1:30 PM (EDT).

* 53rd Budweiser Madison Regatta supported by Belterra Casino Resort
After today's race in Evansville, the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented by Boat Shopper® magazine heads down river to Madison, Ind. for the 53rd running of the Budweiser Madison Regatta supported by Belterra Casino Resort, July 4-6.

* Last Year at Madison
After securing the fastest qualifying spot and winning two preliminary heats, Nate Brown and the U-16 Miss Elam Plus headed to the final looking for their first win of the season and the third in four Unlimited races. Brown trailed the early leader, Terry Troxell for three laps until he finally was able to pass him for the Madison title. Troxell finished second and Dave Villwock followed in third.

*       Madison Expected Entries

Reigning Unlimited champion Dave Villwock will be in Madison looking to gain important championship points. Challenging Villwock this year will be Terry Troxell, Mitch Evans, Steve David, Mark Evans, Michael Hanson, Mike Weber, Nate Brown and Ken Muscatel.


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Series Boat
Drivers Mitch Evans