14 Boats for Seafair - Updated Team and Driver point totals
It might be hard to believe the racing has been competitive during the 2007 American Boat Racing Association unlimited hydroplane season since the outcome of the races has been the same. And the winner -- is Dave Villwock (Auburn, Wash.) in the Miss Ellstrom Elam Plus.
Villwock has piloted his boat to wins in all but one elimination heat and has won each of the four previous races on the circuit-the first time since 2000 when Villwock himself piloted the Miss Budweiser to four consecutive wins to start the season, ending the year with six wins in seven events.
Undeniably the best driver in the sport today, Villwock has won 55 national high point unlimited hydroplane races. ( By the way, 56 if you count the exhibition race in Firebird, Ariz. in 1997 that had four boats in the pits.) The late Bill Muncey won 62 national high point races while legendary Chip Hanauer has 61 wins.
So how will the fleet of 14 boats get ready to try to unseat the Elam Team from atop the leader board for this weekend's Chevrolet Cup at Seafair?
"If you are going to beat Dave, you have to get him at the start," said J Michael Kelly, driver of the U-13 Spirit of Detroit.
Last year's Seafair Champion, Jean Theoret (Ville de Lery, Que.) in the Miss Beacon Plumbing was able to hold off Villwock with a great start
But in 2007, even if you get him at the start, that doesn't mean you can hold him off.
Villwock was pushed to lane four during the final of the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup this past Sunday and still blew past the field.
Qualifying and testing for the Chevrolet Cup at Seafair begins Friday, August 3 with racing on Saturday, August 4 and final elimination heats on Sunday, August 5.
ELAM PROBLEMS ?: Do not think it is easy for the Elam team each and every week. Last Sunday, gearbox problems sent the crew into overdrive to get the boat ready for the final.
PERKINS QUALIFIES: Brian Perkins (Black Diamond, Wash.) qualified as an unlimited driver this past weekend on the Columbia River. The driver of the U-21 Meyer's Auto Tech placed second in his first elimination heat. Of course, he did have a little luck. Greg Hopp jumped the gun and was penalized a lap while Ken Muscatel had a DNF.
GEARBOX HEAT FOR MEYER'S AUTO TECH: The 21 team found itself working out a few bugs in the gearbox. Oh Boy! Oberto crew chief Mike Hanson helped the team with excessive gearbox heating problems. A few more turns of the wrench will fix that this week in Seattle.
KIM AND DEBBIE GREGORY RETURN: Rookie driver Dave Bryant (Mesa, Ariz.) returned in the Hoss Mortgage Investors boat this past weekend getting third place podium finish after missing the Gold Cup in Detroit. The 10 boat broke a prop causing major damage to the shaft, deck and the gearbox of the turbine in Madison.
J MICHAEL KELLY-OFF THE TRAILER! J Michael Kelly (Pullayup, Wash.) has once again gone from the trailer position to a good finish in the final. He has pulled off third place finish from the trailer position in Detroit and fourth place Sunday at the Columbia Cup. He hopes to find himself on the front row this weekend for the final.
NO STEERING FOR 13: The Spirit of Detroit broke the some steering pulleys during the elimination heats on Sunday. The team quickly made the changes and Kelly said ‘The boat handled quite well.'
RED DOT READY TO GO: Nate Brown brought the Our Gang Racing Team to the shores of the Columbia River but that was about it. The team was close to hitting the water but not quite. They had the rooms and reservations and decided to give the team a feel for the competition. The U-17 will be ready to go this weekend in Seattle.
SHANE HAS SHORT DEBUT: The U-1 Formulaboats.com driven by rookie Jimmy Shane (Havre De Grace, Md.) went dead approximately 200 yards from the finish line during the final lap of the second set of elimination heats. The U-1 suffered a gearbox failure and withdrew from any further racing in Tri-Cities. Shane was in his first U-boat race, replacing the injured Mike Allen.
BAD WEEKEND FOR U-3: Jimmy King (Wales, Mich.) and Ed Cooper (Evansville, Ind.) might have wanted to stay home this past weekend. A blown rod in the piston powered engine in Friday's Dash for Cash was just the start of the troubles. Only qualifying points and a few DNF's were all the team had to show for the weekend. Two motors went on the team, leaving the U-3 in tough shape for Seattle.
FOUR BOATS JOIN THE CIRCUIT: Four boats have joined the circuit for the west swing. Nate Brown (Preston, Wash.) returns to racing, driving the U-17 Miss Red Dot; Chris Bertram (Eatonville, Wash.) in the U-9 Miss Conover Insurance; Dave Williams (Seattle, Wash) in the U-48 Miss Lakeridge Paving while Brian Perkins (Black Diamond, Wash.) is in the U-21 Meyer's Auto Tech boat.
CHEVROLET CUP AT SEAFAIR FLEET ROSTER (Tentative)
- U-1 Formulaboats.com
Owner Ted Porter Driver Jimmy Shane
- U-3 Hoss Mortgage Investors II Presents Ronald McDonald House
Owner Ed Cooper Jr. Driver Jimmy King
- U-5 Formulaboats.com
Owner Ted Porter Driver Jeff Bernard
- U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison
Owner City of Madison Driver Steve David
- U-9 Miss Conover Insurance
Owner Mike & Lori Jones Driver Chris Bertram
- U-10 Hoss Mortgage Investors
Owner Kim & Debbie Gregory Driver David Bryant
- U-13 Spirit of Detroit
Owner Dave Bartush Driver J. Michael Kelly
- U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus
Owner Sven Ellstrom Driver Dave Villwock
- U-17 Miss Red Dot
Owner Our Gang Racing LLC Driver Nate Brown
- U-21 Meyers' Auto Tech
Owner Jeffrey Johnson/Kevin Alyesworth Driver Brian Perkins
- U-25 Superior Racing
Owner Dr. Ken Muscatel Driver Dr. KenMuscatel
- U-37 Beacon Plumbing
Owner Billy & Jane Schumacher Driver Jean Theoret
- U-48 Miss Lakeridge Paving
Owner Greg O' Farrell/John Cheetham Driver Dave Williams
- U-100 Mirage Boats.com
Owner Fred Leland Driver Greg Hopp
|U-16||Ellstrom Elam Plus||6625||0|
|U-6||Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison||5104||1521|
|U-13||Spirit of Detroit||3208||3417|
|U-48||Go Fast, Turn Left||480||6145|
|J. Michael Kelly||3208||3417|