TRI-CITIES, Wash., July 27, 2003 -- NASCAR style bumping at the beginning of the race for the Budweiser Columbia Cup set the stage for the five lap final where the Miss Budweiser driven by Dave Villwock was able to hang on for a fourth place...
TRI-CITIES, Wash., July 27, 2003 -- NASCAR style bumping at the beginning of the race for the Budweiser Columbia Cup set the stage for the five lap final where the Miss Budweiser driven by Dave Villwock was able to hang on for a fourth place finish but not before suffering damage to both the right and left sponsons.
"All I wanted to do this weekend was not get run over and run a safe final heat to protect our national points lead," said Villwock. "As we were scoring up for the start the U-10 was in lane one, I was in lane two and the U-2 was in lane three. Things were going fine until the U-16 boat cut across the course and then bumped the Miss Budweiser damaging the sponson and mixing a little orange paint in along with the red. The second incident happened on lap three where the U-16 hit us on the other side, but in that case I'm not sure if it was Nate's (Brown) or the water getting up high.
In the end, the win went to Mark Evans and the U-8 Miss Llumar Window Film. Nate Brown in the U-16 finished second, Mitch Evans in the U-3 Master Tire finished third and the Miss Budweiser team placed fourth.
"I'm obviously disappointed. I wanted a victory here today in Tri-Cities," said Joe Little, president of Hydroplanes, Inc., owner of the Miss Budweiser. "However, the outstanding performance of the Miss Budweiser crew and Dave allowed us to take two second and a third place finish in the preliminary heats. That consistent performance is what we need to do to maintain a chance at another national championship."
Dave Villwock qualified the Miss Budweiser second this weekend with a speed of 158.864 mph behind the piston powered U-3 Master Tire boat's 160.915 mph lap time by Mitch Evans. Villwock went on to place second behind Evans in the first and second heats of the weekend. In the third heat of the day Villwock and the Miss Budweiser held off the U-3 boat to finish third; good enough to make the final.
"Racing has emotions, it has drama, but most of all, it has to be safe," said Little. "The final heat caused me some anxiety. The safety of my crew and driver, and all the other teams in this series is my biggest concern."
O'Doul's High-Points Championship -- Villwock continues to unofficially lead the O'Doul's National High Points Championship with 388 points. Mark Evans and the U-8 Miss Llumar Window Film team is in second place with 359 points followed by the Mike Weber in the
U-10 boat. Mitch Evans in the U-3 is in fourth place with 309 points and Mike Hanson in the U-9 rounds out the top five.
Next Race... GM Cup at Seafair: -- The Miss Budweiser team will return to its base in Tukwila, Wash. to repair the T-6 Miss Budweiser and prepare for next weekend's annual General Motors Cup at Seafair in Seattle, Round 4 of the 2003 Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Boat Shopper Magazine. Villwock is the four-time defending Seattle winner, with six career wins in his hometown ('94, '96, '98, '99, 2000, 2002). The Miss Budweiser Team has 15 wins in Seattle (1969, '70, '76, '81, '83, '84, '87, '88, '91, '93, '95, '98, '99, 2000, 2002).
Speed Channel --Hydro fans who missed this weekend's race for the Columbia Cup can catch all the action on the Speed Channel Speed Channel on August 17 at 2 p.m. ET. For a complete television schedule visit www.hydroprop.com or www.speedtv.com for subscription and local broadcast information.
Statistically Speaking -- The Miss Budweiser team has a record in unlimited hydroplane racing that is unrivaled with 135 victories, 22 world championships and 14 APBA Gold Cups. The team has entered a record 356 races and finished in the top-three a total of 231 times in 40 years of competition. The crew of the Miss Budweiser has a combined 286 years of experience. Dave Villwock who has been racing unlimited hydroplanes since 1992, has 40 wins, six series championships and five APBA Gold Cups to his credit.