Results from Qualifying Times, Heat 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B
DETROIT, Mich. - The winds shut down racing on Saturday, but were calm enough to get the boats on the water Sunday. And when they did, it was the familiar orange U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus that ran away with the first race. Then, Dave Villwock in the U-16 won his second heat... then his third... then won the Gold Cup trophy, the first for the Ellstrom family.
Villwock was leading in the finals when Mike Allen in the U-1 went 360+ degrees and landed upside down, shutting down the course. Allen was brought back to shore by rescue crews and pronounced in stable condition.
Since three laps hadn't been completed, it wasn't an official race. That prompted a re-start. Villwock jumped out to the lead and held off a charging Steve David in the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto to take the checkered flag - his 54th career win.
Heat 1A Results 1. U-16 Dave Villwock 2. U-1 Mike Allen 3. U-13 J. Michael Kelly 4. U-37 Jean Theoret DNF. U-100 Greg Hopp
Dave Villwock powered the U-16 around the course for a relatively easy run. Villwock took the lead out of the first turn of lap one and never looked back. Jean Theoret in the U-37 started out in second, but Mike Allen in the U-1 ran him down and passed him up to take second.
Theoret seemed to lose power somewhere during the race. J. Michael Kelly in the U-13 had the power and overtook Theoret for 4th. Greg Hopp, running smoothly for the first three laps, went dead in the water on lap 3.
"Love to run on this water," said Villwock.
Heat 1B Results 1. U-5 Jeff Bernard 2. U-25 Ken Muscatel 3. U-6 Steve David - jumped the gun, one lap penalty DNF. U-3 Jimmy King
It was a wild heat. Steve David crossed the finish line first, but had to take an extra lap. Jimmy King was set to win when he went dead within sight of the finish line. Jeff Bernard got the flag, but was later disqualified for a N2 fuel violation. That meant Ken Muscatel in the U-25 had his first win of the season. Or did it? Later in the day, the N2 violation was over-turned, awarding Bernard his first win.
Steve David in the U-6 had a half-course lead and was running strong when we found out he'd jumped the gun. The U-3 crew had to change out the engine before the first heat, then went dead in turn two right before the start. Jimmy King got it fired up and passed the field to take the lead, but went dead again with just a half lap to go for the win.
That left the door open for rookie driver Jeff Bernard, who had been running third behind David and King to take the checkered flag in the U-5. Bernard said their plan this weekend was to run clean and get on the scoreboard. "We're just going (to try) to rack up points," said Bernard.
Officials reviewed the in-boat meters and disqualified the U-5. The FormulaBoats team complained and after-further-review, officials agreed... re-instating the U-5 as the winner. "We'll just keep working on getting the final," Bernard said.
"We don't quite have the fastest boat speed," said Ken Muscatel. "The plan is don't make mistakes."
Heat 2A Results 1. U-6 Steve David 2. U-3 Jimmy King 3. U-13 J. Michael Kelly 4. U-1 Mike Allen 5. U-5 Jeff Bernard
The U-3 threw a rod in Heat 1B and the crew had to replace the engine. They did and Jimmy King ran a strong, fast race. But he couldn't catch Steve David in the U-6 who led going into the first turn and never gave up the lead.
The U-13 had taken some damage in right sponson in Heat 1A, but the crew patched the boat up. Kelly was running strong with another good start, and then passed up Mike Allen to move into third. But it nearly unraveled when the U-13 lost the rear wing in the final turn and took some serious air. Kelly was able to hold it together to get across the finish line in 3rd, but then went dead in the water shortly afterwards.
"The Oberto is awesome," said David. "It's getting better every heat." David has said repeatedly this season that his speeds will get faster each time out. So far, he's been dead on.
"What a great race that was," he said. "Jimmy King drove a phenomenal race," said David.
Heat 2B 1. U-16 Dave Villwock 2. U-25 Ken Muscatel 3. U-37 Jean Theoret - jumped the gun, one lap penalty DNS. U-100 Greg Hopp
Greg Hopp had to shut down and return to the pits just inside the 1:00 mark. Theoret jumped the gun and took a one-lap penalty and that gave Dave Villwock in the U-16 an easy win. It also gave Ken Muscatel a first and a second place finish in his first two heats.
Muscatel has had good luck in Detroit. A similar set of circumstances last year had Muscatel in first place in points after a 1st and 2nd place finish after the first two heats in Detroit.
"So far, so good," said Dave Villwock, Heat 2B winner. "Just trying to keep the boat in one piece." Villwock watched Theoret beat him ot the start line, but he jumped the gun. "Everybody's trying to push that start," he said.
Heat 3A 1. U-3 Jimmy King 2. U-6 Steve David 3. U-25 Greg Hopp (subbing for Ken Muscatel) DNS. U-13 J. Michael Kelly WITHDRAWN. U-100 Greg Hopp
Dr. Ken Muscatel was not feeling well. He recruited Greg Hopp to run the U-25 and Hopp managed to add another 225 points to the team totals. Steve David, who already had a seat in the front row for the finals, poured it on leading the first three laps.
In a matchup of Heat 2A, David and King battled the rest of the way. Jimmy King picked up huge speed in the corners and overtook David in lap four in the big turn. They went deck-to-deck the rest of the way with King winning down the stretch.
"That was a great race," said David. The U-3 and U-6 went into the turns inches apart. "Jimmy (King) and I are old friends," he said. "We trust one another." David said they're ready for the final. "We're right where we need to be," he said. "This is just an appetizer for the main course."
Jimmy King, Heat 3A winner, called it "one helluva race." The U-3 seemed to have better speed in the corners than we've seen before. King was able to keep the turns sharp and not drift out. "The whole idea is to hold him tight," King said. He did just that, holding David off and not letting him gain the advantage.
Heat 3B 1. U-16 Dave Villwock 2. U-1 Mike Allen 3. U-5 Jeff Bernard 4. U-37 Jean Theoret
Villwock came across the start line first and grabbed the lead. Theoret in the U-37 was in lane one trying to hold off Mike Allen in the U-1. Coming out of the roostertail turn, Theoret got caught in the wash from the U-16 and took out a buoy and went dead. He got it re-started, but was way too far back to do anything, leaving Theoret and the U-37 Beacon Plumbing out of the final heat.
"The boat's running really good," said Villwock about his third heat win today. "We let it all hang out (during Heat 3B)."
An unhappy Jean Theoret said Villwock pinned him in the corner causing him to clip the buoy. "It's an unfair way to race," he said. "Officiating has to change. Someone's going to get hurt that way."
Watch video - did Villwock pin Theoret in the corner unfairly?
The roostertail turn is the tightest turn on the circuit. "We couldn't put our nose into the roostertail turn first. If you can't do that, you let someone else determine where you go."
Final Qualifying Times
U-16 MISS ELAM PLUS Dave Villwock 162.754
U-37 MISS BEACON PLUMBING Jean Theoret 160.089
U-6 OH BOY! OBERTO Steve David 156.925
U-3 CHRYSLER JEEP Jimmy King 156.133
U-13 SPIRIT OF DETROIT J. Michael Kelly 155.379
U-1 FORMULABOATS.COM Mike Allen 153.993
U-5 FORMULABOATS.COM Jeff Bernard 152.984
U-25 JARVIS CONSTRUCTION Ken Muscatel 148.216
U-100 MIRAGE RACING Greg Hopp 138.651
>> Thanks to ABRA, Jeff Ayler, Brad Luce, Jack Lowe, Jim Simpson for info, photos, interviews
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