HPROP: San Diego: Event preview

Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Season ends at Budweiser Bill Muncey Cup; Miss Budweiser and Miss Elam Plus battle for championship. (San Diego, Calif.) - The Budweiser Bill Muncey Cup, the season finale of the 2002 Budweiser Unlimited ...

Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Season ends at Budweiser Bill Muncey Cup; Miss Budweiser and Miss Elam Plus battle for championship.

(San Diego, Calif.) - The Budweiser Bill Muncey Cup, the season finale of the 2002 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series, takes place on Mission Bay in San Diego, Calif. on September 20-22. Mission Bay, a spectacular boat racing venue, will host the Unlimited's for the 37th time as the Unlimited Hydroplane World Championship is on the line.

"San Diego and Mission Bay have a long relationship with Unlimited Hydroplane racing," said Gary Garbrecht, Chairman of Hydro-Prop. "The venue is ideal for boat racing and has held some of the greatest Unlimited races in the history of the sport. San Diego also has been the host of many terrific championships battles as the event typically occurs at the end of the Unlimited season. This year will be no different with three talented teams and drivers capable of becoming the champion."

"The 2002 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series has been extremely competitive and that trend should continue at San Diego," continued Garbrecht. "This year nine different Unlimited drivers have won preliminary heats. In addition, so far this season the percentage of different heat winners is 74% compared to 62% in 2001, 64% in 2000 and 57% in 1999."

"Unlimited Qualifying also has been more competitive with the total average qualifying speed per race increasing 1.46 miles per hour. In fact, the Tri-Cities and Seattle qualifying averages from this year were 4.8 mph and 3.1 mph respectively faster than those from 2001. All the Unlimited teams have raised the competitive bar, thus producing exciting racing action all season long."

* Villwock, Brown and Hanson Battle for the Championship Heading into the season finale at San Diego, there are only three Unlimited drivers who have a mathematical chance of securing the O'Doul's National High Points Championship. Dave Villwock (with 722 points) currently has a 92-point lead over his closest pursuer Nate Brown (630 points). Michael Hanson holds the third position in the championship with 572 points and would have to produce a perfect weekend to catch Villwock or Brown. Villwock seeks his sixth drivers championship and 22nd for Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser while Brown and Hanson are both in search of their first championship. Rounding out the top five are Mark Tate with 544 points and Terry Troxell with 482 points.

* Expected Entries The Budweiser Bill Muncey Cup will have another full field of Unlimited drivers as they all aim for some bragging rights heading into the racing off-season. Scheduled to compete include the defending San Diego winner, Nate Brown, who is attempting to wrestle the World Championship from Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser. Other challengers include Villwock, Michael Hanson, Mark Tate, Mitch Evans, Steve David, Mike Weber, Jimmy King, Ken Muscatel, Terry Troxell and Greg Hopp.

* Past San Diego Winners Present in Field Dave Villwock, Nate Brown, Michael Hanson and Mark Tate have all secured the San Diego trophy during their Unlimited careers. Villwock has won a record five times at San Diego, while Hanson, Brown and Tate have each won once. "San Diego is always an important race for myself and the Miss Budweiser team since it typically is the last race of the season," said Villwock. "But it is also very important to every other team because no one likes to lose heading into the off-season. The entire field will be letting it all hang out. San Diego is always an exciting venue for the drivers and the fans and this year should not disappoint."

* Nate Brown to Defend at San Diego Last year at San Diego, Nate Brown captured both his second consecutive and second career Unlimited Hydroplane victory. Dave Villwock took runner-up honors thus clinching the 2001 championship. Michael Hanson followed in third while Mike Weber finished fourth and Jimmy King finished fifth.

This year, Brown will attempt to join a select number of Unlimited drivers who have won consecutive races at San Diego. George Henley was the first to win back-to-back races in 1974 and 1975. Chip Hanauer (1982-1983), Jim Kropfeld (1984-1985), Mark Evans (1996-1997) and Dave Villwock (1998, 1999, 2000) also own consecutive victories at San Diego.

* Mitch Evans Looks to Raise Piston-Powered Record Mitch Evans, who drives the only piston-powered Unlimited Hydroplane in the series, will attempt to raise his lap-speed record at San Diego. Evans currently holds the fastest lap ever recorded by a piston-powered boat on both a 2-mile and a 2.5-mile track. Evans set the 2.5-mile record in 1998 with a speed of 148.410 mph and set the 2-mile record with a speed of 145.612 mph this year at Seattle. With the Coopers' brand new U-3 hull, Evans has a realistic chance to break the record as well as passing the 150 mph barrier.

*History of San Diego, Calif.
o 2002 marks the 37th year of Unlimited Hydroplane racing at Mission Bay in San Diego.

o First race was held in 1964 and was called the San Diego Cup. Jim Herrington's Mariner Too, driven by Warner Gardner, took the win.

o The event is San Diego's largest annual sports competition and attracts more than 150,000 people during the three-day event.

o In 2001, the event raised more than $150,000 for various civic groups and charities.

o More than 1,000 community volunteers donate time and effort each year to stage the races.

o Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser won its first San Diego race in 1966 with Bill Brow. Miss Budweiser has won San Diego a record 13 times.

o San Diego has hosted four APBA Gold Cups (1969, 1970, 1987, 1989) with Miss Budweiser winning three out of four. Miss Budweiser took the Gold Cups with three different drivers, Bill Sterett, Dean Chenoweth and Tom D'Eath. Chip Hanauer took the other victory aboard Miller American in 1987.

o The legendary Bill Muncey, a San Diego native, won San Diego two times.

o Chip Hanauer, who ranks second behind Bill Muncey on the all-time career victories list and who is the current Executive Director of the San Diego Thunderboat Regatta, won at San Diego four times including one APBA Gold Cup victory.

o Dave Villwock has the most career victories at San Diego with five wins which includes his first career Unlimited victory in 1992 aboard Coors Dry.

o Michael Hanson's first career Unlimited victory also was at San Diego in 1993 aboard Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. The win marked the first time in Unlimited history that a race was won by the trailer boat.

o Last year at San Diego, Nate Brown won his second consecutive race of the season aboard Miss Elam Plus.

Practice and qualifying for the Budweiser Bill Muncey Cup will begin on Friday, September 20 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, September 22. The Budweiser Bill Muncey Cup will be televised on ESPN2 on Sunday, October 13 at 5:30 PM (EDT).

In addition to the Unlimited Hydroplane race, this year's San Diego Thunderboat Regatta will include the Laughlin Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour presented by Bud Light, Unlimited Lights, NJBA Drag Boats, Cracker Boxes, Super Stocks, Stock Hydros and SST 45's.

-hydro prop-

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Series Boat
Drivers Mitch Evans