HPROP: Thunder Ohio: Miss Budweiser preview

Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser and Dave Villwock ready for Evansville. Team Owner Bernie Little begins his 40th Consecutive Year of Unlimited Hydroplane Competition. ST.LOUIS, Mo., June 24, 2002-- Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser Unlimited ...

Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser and Dave Villwock ready for Evansville.
Team Owner Bernie Little begins his 40th Consecutive Year of Unlimited Hydroplane Competition.

ST.LOUIS, Mo., June 24, 2002-- Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane team and champion driver Dave Villwock get ready to kick off their sixth season together when the boats wind up on the Ohio River in Evansville, Ind., June 29-30, once again competing in the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series. With 27 victories, Villwock is the winningest driver in Miss Budweiser history.

"It's hard to improve upon a good thing, but we continually try," said Dave Villwock, who won his 36th career victory in 2001 and his fifth career championship."We have a great boat, a great team and years of racing experience to draw upon. I think 2002 is going to be a great year for Miss Budweiser."

Bernie Little celebrates his 40th consecutive season in Unlimited Hydroplane Competition this season, looking to improve upon his already untouchable record with 131 race victories, 21 World Championships and 13 APBA Gold Cups.

"It's hard to believe that I'm entering my 40th season," said Little."Every race is like the first time. Each weekend brings out a flurry of emotions from anticipation to excitement. I'm hoping, and pretty confident, that Dave Villwock and the Miss Budweiser team can get the job done this year; that's why we're entering our sixth season together. I'd like to have 22 World Championships and 14 APBA Gold Cups on my record by the end of the season."

Dreaming of a Gold Cup

Little and Villwock look to bring the APBA Gold Cup back to the Miss Budweiser team this year, having last won the Gold Cup in 2000. Last year in Detroit, Mich., Driver Villwock caught a rough patch of water as he was racing to the starting line and spun the Miss Budweiser, stalling the engine. He re-started the engine and went on to finish fifth.

"Not winning the Gold Cup last year was a huge disappointment," said Little. "It's the biggest race of the year and I am looking forward to going to Detroit in July, I'm sure we can get bring home the win this year."

Villwock echoed the sentiment of Little,"The Detroit River is very tough...you have to beat it as well as the other boats if you expect to win. Unfortunately, last year was one of those unfortunate incidents where the water got the best of me. When you race on the water, the track conditions are always changing and you just have to do the best you can at the time. I look forward to Detroit in July, so I can bring back the APBA Gold Cup to the Miss Budweiser team and rectify last year's fluke."

The 2002 Series will consist of six traditional events which fans can enjoy either in person or by watching ESPN2-- check local listings for dates and time.

"Our season starts later than most, but once it starts, it rocks," said Villwock. "We have three races in a row and five in the first six weeks. That puts a lot of pressure on the driver and especially on the team. Any mistake or problem is magnified because there is very little time to recover."

-blmbr-

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