HPROP: Tri-Cities preview

(Tri-Cities, WA) - The Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series heads for the Northwest for the Budweiser Columbia Cup with Wings this weekend (July 28-30) at Tri-Cities, WA and the General Motors Cup at Seafair next weekend (Aug. 4-6) at Seattle,...

(Tri-Cities, WA) - The Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series heads for the Northwest for the Budweiser Columbia Cup with Wings this weekend (July 28-30) at Tri-Cities, WA and the General Motors Cup at Seafair next weekend (Aug. 4-6) at Seattle, WA.

Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock would like to increase his consecutive win streak to eleven with a win at the Budweiser Columbia Cup with Wings. He recently broke Bill Muncey's record with his tenth consecutive win, spanning two seasons, at the Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup in Detroit.

Villwock and Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser continue to lead the O'Doul's National High Point Championships with 6687 points. Mark Weber in the U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning is second with 4945 points followed by George Stratton in the U-5 "Lowrey's presents Jeronimo" with 3734 points.

Tate Looks Beyond Up and Down Season
Mark Tate and the U-2 Freddie's Club Casino has witnessed an up and down year. They finished second at the first two races of the year and headed to Madison looking for a victory. Unfortunately, they had gearbox problems and could not compete. They proved at Detroit that they have the speed to challenge the Miss Budweiser and will look to end Miss Budweiser's streak. "With Dewey Norton and Ron Brown, former crew members of Miss Budweiser, we appear to have the power to challenge the Miss Budweiser," said Tate. "We still need to dial the hull in a bit."

Piston Power
Mitch Evans and the piston powered U-3 Vacationville.com have surprised fans and more than a few turbine drivers with strong performances on the Midwest swing. The last piston powered Unlimited hydroplane continues to entertain crowds at each race as they thunder along the water.

Rookie Stratton Getting Stronger Weber's USA Racing Partner teammate, the U-5 "Lowrey's presents Jeronimo", is reaping the benefits of rookie Unlimited driver George Stratton's recent strong performances. Stratton scored his first preliminary heat victory and delivered a third place finish at the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit. This was his first podium finish driving an Unlimited hydroplane.

Wiggins Retires, Pepperoni Power Returns! - Oh Boy! Oberto-BeefJerky
Charley Wiggins' brief Unlimited hydroplane racing career officially ended when he decided to hang it up after suffering a series of injuries. Wiggins will be replaced by Nate Brown who will drive the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto-Beef Jerky. Brown has seen Unlimited action over the years with a number of teams including last year when he drove the U-8 LLumar Window Film. "It is an honor to drive for the City of Madison and I look forward to racing on the west coast," said Brown. Oh Boy! Oberto, a long-time Unlimited Sponsor, will sponsor the Miss Madison team at Tri-Cities, Seattle and San Diego.

King, Motor City Native, Searching for Win
Jimmy King has been running well the entire season and looks to have a breakthrough on the West Coast. He has driven the U-8 LLumar Window Film to a fourth and fifth place finish this season. Next stop; a spot on the podium.

Hanson Ready to Pounce
Mike Hanson in the U-9 Fiesta Bowl & Casino presents Miss Go Bowling has continually impressed everyone this year and seems to be ready to contend. Mike and Lori Jones unveiled their new Hydro at the beginning of the season and after working the kinks out, are looking to challenge for a win. Hanson drove the U-9 to a third place finish at Madison and has consistently been one of the fastest qualifiers at each race.

Weber Continues to Shine
Kim Gregory's U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning driven by Mark Weber continues to impress with solid results from the Midwest swing. They followed up their second place finish at the Indiana Governor's Cup in Madison with another second place finish at the Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup in Detroit. Weber also has two third-place finishes and has won seven preliminary heats this season.

N. Mark Evans Races Against Field and his Brother
N. Mark Evans heads to the northwest coming off a pair of heat victories at the APBA Gold Cup driving the Ellstrom family's U-16 Miss E-Lam Plus. Evans will face some tough competition including his brother Mitch, who drives the piston powered, U-3 Master Tire. "It is always great to race in the northwest, but competing with my brother makes it even more special," said Mark.

World Record Hydro Returns Home
The U-25 Miss Freei, the world record holder for the fastest propeller driven boat, returns home for the West Coast swing. Team Owner, Dr. Ken Muscatel will pilot the Miss Freei in front of hometown crowds and will look to improve his positioning in the Championship points.

Hopp to Return with U-100 Miss Znetix
After a two-race absence from Unlimited competition, Fred Leland's U-100 Miss Znetix, driven by Greg Hopp, will return for the Northwest swing. Hopp will attempt to regain some of his magic from last season when he won rookie of the year honors. The U-100 scored three victories in 1999 with Chip Hanauer at the controls.

Practice and qualifying will begin for the Budweiser Columbia Cup with Wings Friday, July 28 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, July 30. The race will be televised on ESPN2 on Sunday, September 3.

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Series Boat
Drivers Mitch Evans