HPROP: Thunder Ohio: Event preview

Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series continues on Ohio River at Madison, Ind. Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto Scheduled for July 5-7. (Madison, Ind.) - As the Unlimited Hydroplane drivers prepare for this weekend's...

Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series continues on Ohio River at Madison, Ind.
Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto Scheduled for July 5-7.

(Madison, Ind.) - As the Unlimited Hydroplane drivers prepare for this weekend's Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio in Evansville, Ind., they will also be focusing on next weekend's race in Madison. The Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto is scheduled for July 5-7 along the shores of the Ohio River. For the 52nd time, the Unlimited Hydroplanes will compete in front of some of the most knowledgeable Hydros fans in the country.

"For a number of drivers, it will be very difficult to concentrate on the Evansville race knowing that the Madison event is just around the corner," said Bart Garbrecht, CEO of Hydro-Prop. "I know Steve David will have a difficult time trying not to think about the Madison event and his defense of that title. Driving the hometown Miss Madison in front of the local residents must be a difficult task, but being the defending race champion will add more pressure. Last year's Madison race was one of the most exciting that this sport has witnessed. Hopefully we can duplicate that excitement this year at Evansville and Madison."

"There is nothing better than having back-to-back weekends of Unlimited racing on the Ohio River," continued Garbrecht. "The Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto typically attracts thousands of fans from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. The Ohio River is a terrific venue to hold these races and all Hydros fans will be treated to deck-to-deck racing."

In addition to the Unlimited Hydroplane race, this year's festivities at the Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto include a fireworks display, a parade, live bands, a basketball tournament, beauty pageant, 10K walk/run and an air show. Madison Regatta organizers also announced that vintage race boats, dating from the 1930's to the 1970's, will perform in the Bob Snelling Vintage Memorial Event.

Practice and qualifying for the Unlimited Hydroplanes will begin Friday, July 5 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, July 7. The Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto race will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 27 at 6:30 PM (EDT).

* Last Year at Madison
Steve David, driving the hometown U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto (Miss Madison), held off a challenge from a number of drivers and took the Madison title in front of thousands of Madison residents. Greg Hopp in the U-100 finished second and Jimmy King in the U-8 Llumar Window Film followed in third. David's Miss Madison win brought back memories of Jim McCormick's victory in the Miss Madison at the 1971 Madison Gold Cup.

* Miss Madison Seeks Repeat with New Crew
As Steve David prepares for his Madison Regatta defense, he is faced with the challenge of working with a brand new Miss Madison team. Numerous veteran crewmembers of the world's only community-owned hydroplane team have decided to step aside to allow for a new and younger crew that will manage the team for the next number of years. The former crew is currently training the new regime. Doug Shepherd has been named the new crew chief and will be responsible for preparing the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto for every race this season.

"We have assembled a great new team," said Bob Hughes, President of Miss Madison, Inc. "It has been quite an off-season for the Madison team with the arrival of new crew members and the work we have done on the boat. The team repaired both sponsons, rebuilt the cockpit and overhauled many other sections. It was recently repainted with the Oberto Sausage Company colors and it is ready for the start of the season."

*       Madison Expected Entries

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

* "Madison" Movie Update
The Premiere Marketing & Distribution Group announced that the movie "Madison" would be released later this year. The movie depicts the thrilling 1971 Madison Gold Cup won by Jim McCormick in the Miss Madison.

* Leland Contends with Two Entries
Longtime Unlimited Hydroplane owner Fred Leland will again compete this season with two boats as he seeks his second World Championship. Greg Hopp will drive the U-100 and Terry Troxell will pilot the U-99 for the 2002 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series. Hopp finished third in the 2001 championship while producing four podium finishes including a second place at Madison. Troxell won his first career Unlimited victory at Tri-Cities and finished sixth in the championship.

*       Madison Regatta Historical Facts

o Andy Marcy in My Darling won the first Madison Regatta in 1950
o Bill Muncey became the first three-time consecutive winner (1960-62)
o Little's Miss Budweiser first competed in 1964 but did not win until 1970
o Madison hosted the 1971 Gold Cup, won by the hometown Miss Madison, driven by Jim McCormick
o Steve David's 2001 Madison victory was the first win for the Miss Madison team at Madison since 1971
o The first turbine-powered Unlimited Hydroplane victory occurred in 1984 with Chip Hanauer in the Atlas Van Lines
o Bill Muncey and Chip Hanauer each have seven Madison Regatta victories
o The Miss Budweiser has won 13 Madison Regattas

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 Jim McCormick , Bob Hughes , Mitch Evans