HPROP: Pacific Northwest preview

Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series heads to Pacific Northwest. Tri-Cities, Wash. (July 26-28) & Seattle, Wash. (August 2-4). (Tri-Cities, Wash.) - The Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series heads for the Pacific Northwest for the Budweiser ...

Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series heads to Pacific Northwest.
Tri-Cities, Wash. (July 26-28) & Seattle, Wash. (August 2-4).

(Tri-Cities, Wash.) - The Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series heads for the Pacific Northwest for the Budweiser Columbia Cup (July 26-28) at Tri-Cities, Wash. and the General Motors Cup at SEAFAIR (August 2-4) at Seattle, Wash. After three competitive races in Indiana and Michigan, the series now travels west to the State of Washington, the home state of most of the teams.

"Evansville, Madison and Detroit have all produced successful results," said Gary Garbrecht, Chairman of Hydro-Prop. "Besides having records in attendance at both Evansville and Madison, the Unlimited Hydroplane racing action was very competitive. Some teams have raised the bar and made the stronger teams jobs even more difficult. If the racing we have seen at these first three races is any indication of what we could witness in the Pacific Northwest, the fans are in for a terrific treat."

"The preliminary heats this season have been the most competitive we have seen in many years," continued Garbrecht. "There were six different heat winners (out of a total of eight heats) at both Madison and Detroit and five different heat winners (out of a total of six heats) at Evansville. In fact, this season's percentage of having different heat winners per race is at 77% compared to last year's percentage of 57%."

Practice and qualifying for the Budweiser Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities, Wash. will begin Friday, July 26 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, July 28. Practice and qualifying for the General Motors Cup at Seafair at Seattle, Wash. will begin Friday, August 2 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, August 4.

* Expected Entries
The Pacific Northwest swing should have a plethora of drivers competing, including the defending Tri-Cities winner, Terry Troxell and the defending Seattle winner, Nate Brown. Other challengers include Dave Villwock, Michael Hanson, Mark Tate, Mitch Evans, Steve David, Mike Weber, Jimmy King, Ken Muscatel and Greg Hopp.

* Washington State Locals
Seven of the Unlimited drivers live in the state of Washington including: Dave Villwock, Auburn; Mitch Evans, Chelan; Michael Hanson, Bonney Lake; Nate Brown, Preston; Ken Muscatel, Seattle; Greg Hopp, Everett; and Terry Troxell, Gig Harbor.

* O'Doul's National High Points Update
Dave Villwock and the Miss Budweiser head for the second half of the season as the current leader in the O'Doul's National High Points Championship. Villwock (with 466 points) seeks his sixth drivers' championship and 22nd World Title for Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser. Michael Hanson currently occupies second with 379 points followed by Terry Troxell with 376 points. Rounding out the top five are Nate Brown with 327 points and Mark Tate with 326 points.

* Terry Troxell to Defend at Tri-Cities
Terry Troxell heads back to Tri-Cities as its defending champion after he secured his first career Unlimited Hydroplane victory there last year. Troxell will defend his title while on an impressive roll with three consecutive second place finishes this season. Troxell also has won two preliminary heats this season.

* Nate Brown to Defend at Seattle
Last year at Seattle, Nate Brown captured his first career Unlimited Hydroplane victory. That win catapulted him towards an additional victory at the season-ending race at San Diego. Brown entered this season as a favorite to challenge for the championship and has produced significant results. In addition to being the top qualifier at all three races, Brown was victorious at Madison. Brown seeks a successful defense of his Seattle title and will attempt to be the top qualifier at every race this season.

* Mark Tate Impressive in Return to Unlimiteds
Mark Tate has made an impressive return to the Unlimited Hydroplane ranks this season. Tate, coming off a strong performance at the Gold Cup where he won two preliminary heats, will attempt to add his 13th career victory on the West Coast.

*       History of Tri-Cities, Wash.

o 2002 marks the 37th consecutive year of Unlimited Hydroplane racing at Tri-Cities.
o First race was held in 1966 and was called the Atomic Cup.
o It was renamed the Columbia Cup in 1976.
o 1966 Atomic Cup was won by Bill Brow driving the Miss Budweiser. In fact, this was team owner Bernie Little's first career victory with Miss Budweiser.
o The 1969 race was historic because it took place on the same day that man landed on the Moon.
o The first Tri-Cities victory by a turbine-powered boat was in 1984 by Chip Hanauer in the Atlas Van Lines.
o 1989 Tri-Cities race was won by Mitch Evans in Ed Cooper Sr. & Jr.'s Coopers Express. This is the only win for the Cooper's and is the last win by a non-turbine powered boat in the Unlimited ranks.
o Chip Hanauer has won Tri-Cities a record seven times.
o The legendary Bill Muncey won Tri-Cities five times.
o Dave Villwock leads active drivers with three Tri-Cities victories.
o Last year, Terry Troxell secured his first career victory at Tri-Cities and the 18th career win for team owner Fred Leland.
*       History of Seattle, Wash.

o SEAFAIR is celebrating 52 years of Unlimited Hydroplane racing on Lake Washington.
o In 1950, the Seattle based boat Slo-Mo-Shun IV won the APBA Gold Cup race in Detroit and earned the right to defend the title on home waters.
o First Seattle race was in 1951 and was won by Lou Fageol in the Slo-Mo-Shun V.
o Seattle has hosted 14 APBA Gold Cup races.
o Bill Muncey won Seattle a record nine times.
o Muncey also won Seattle a record four consecutive times (1977-1980)
o Chip Hanauer has seven career victories at Seattle.
o Dave Villwock has five wins at Seattle including three consecutive 1998-2000.
o Miss Budweiser has won Seattle 14 times including its first in 1969.
o Last year, Nate Brown secured his first career victory at Seattle and the 2nd for team owners, the Ellstrom family.

Headquartered in Lake Hamilton, Fla., HYDRO-PROP combines Unlimited Hydroplanes, the biggest, fastest racing boats in the world, with Formula One, the most versatile, fastest accelerating and fastest turning boats in the world. HYDRO-PROP events are held throughout North America and are the only forms of Professional Powerboat Racing televised on ESPN2. For more information on HYDRO-PROP, visit www.hydroprop.com


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Series Boat
Drivers Mitch Evans