HPROP: Thunder Ohio: Event report

Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser win at Evansville, Ind. Seven consecutive victories at Evansville for Villwock, heats produce multiple victors. (Evansville, Ind.) - Dave Villwock and the U-1 Miss Budweiser began their defense of the Unlimited...

Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser win at Evansville, Ind.

Seven consecutive victories at Evansville for Villwock, heats produce multiple victors.

(Evansville, Ind.) - Dave Villwock and the U-1 Miss Budweiser began their defense of the Unlimited Hydroplane World Championship with a victory today at the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio at Evansville, Ind., the first race of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series.

The win marked Villwock's seventh consecutive victory at Evansville and his 37th career win. Team owner Bernie Little also celebrated his 132nd career victory and 15th title at Evansville.

Villwock timed the start perfectly and took the lead at the first turn and led wire to wire for the victory. Terry Troxell in the U-99 WGAB Evansville and Michael Hanson in the U-9 WABX tried to close the gap on Villwock. But the day belonged to Villwock as he pulled away to win by a few roostertails.

"It is always beneficial to start every race season off with a win," said Villwock. "The first race is important to the whole team and tends to lift everyone's spirits heading into the rest of the season. The competition this year will be very tough and getting an early points lead is a must."

"I can't answer why I have been so successful at Evansville", continued Villwock. "The team spends a lot of time preparing the boat and equipment in the off-season and we are always ready for the challenges of the first race. The crowd at Evansville always energizes me and I always seem to feed of that excitement. Hopefully, we can take this momentum to Madison and Detroit and bring home some more victories.

Terry Troxell in the U-99 WGAB Evansville ended up finishing in second with Michael Hanson in the U-9 WABX in third. Rounding out the top five was Mark Tate in the U-2 Miss Trendwest in fourth and Steve David in the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto in fifth.

* Competition Strong in Preliminary Heats

The competition in the six preliminary heats at the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio was terrific as five different drivers produced heat victories. Michael Hanson, Nate Brown, Mike Weber and Mark Tate all secured one heat win while Dave Villwock won two heats.

* Record Crowds at Evansville and Blue Angels Thrill Fans

The Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio sold out of event buttons and produced record crowds during the weekend long festival. The crowds were also treated to high-flying action from the famous Blue Angels.

* Television Broadcasters Go Live with Unlimited Action

Trent Ling and Chip Hanauer, the television broadcasters for the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series on ESPN2, decided to broadcast today's final race live. Even though the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio will be broadcast tape-delayed on ESPN2 in mid July, Ling and Hanauer decided to add excitement and interest as they did the broadcast in a live format. The Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio race will be televised on ESPN2 on Sunday, July 14 at 7:00 PM (EDT).

* O'Doul's High Point World Championship Standings

With his victory today, Dave Villwock took the early lead in the O'Doul's National High Points Championship standings. Villwock leads the championship with 150 points over Michael Hanson with 122 points and Terry Troxell with 110 points. Mark Tate currently sits in fourth with 105 points and Steve David has 99 points.

* Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio Results:
1. U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock
2. U-99 WGAB Evansville, Terry Troxell
3. U-9 WABX, Michael Hanson
4. U-2 Miss Trendwest, Mark Tate
5. U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David
6. U-25 Security Race Products, Dr. Ken Muscatel
7. U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown

U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber
U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans
U-100 Miss U.S., Greg Hopp
U-8 LLumar Window Film, Jimmy King

* 52nd Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto

After today's race in Evansville, the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series heads down river to Madison, Ind. for the 52nd running of the Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto, July 5-7. Once again the banks of the Ohio River will be lined with fans as the Unlimiteds roar along at speeds of over 200 miles per hour.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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 and 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."

* 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 Miss U.S. 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" Movie Update

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

*       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

In addition to the Unlimited Hydroplane race, this year's Budweiser Madison Regatta presented by Cruisin' Auto festivities 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).

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