1996 JN Automotive Hydrofest
Evans Goes Out of Budweiser With a Bang
HONOLULU (Special)--Mark Evans told reporters earlier in the week, "I drive every race as though it's going to be my last." If it is true, as has been strongly rumored in recent weeks, that Evans is on his way out as driver of the Miss Budweiser unlimited hydroplane, he has finished on a decidedly high note.
The 39-year-old Wenatchee, Wash., veteran wheeled the big red boat to victory in all three preliminary heats and then roared away with a wind-delayed, winner-take-all final on Pearl Harbor Sunday afternoon to annex the JN Automotive Hydrofest, concluding event on the nationwide Ralphs Unlimited Hydroplane Thunder Tour '96, presented by Las Vegas. Evans had broken a long winless skein by triumphing at San Diego in the next-to-last race of the long campaign, which stretches across North America.
Dave Villwock, winner of six previous races in the PICO American Dream and reputed to be Evans' replacement in the Budweiser next season, finished a strong second, thus falling shy in his bid to equal the record of seven seasonal wins set by the late Bill Muncey (1979) and Chip Hanauer (1992-93). Mike Hanson gunned the bright yellow and black DeWALT Tools boat home in third. Following him came Steve David in The Dole Cannery.
Dead in the water at the start and unable to compete was Mark Tate in the Smokin' Joe's, which thus surrendered second place in the Budweiser/O'Doul's High Point standings to the Budweiser. Tate's craft was washed down in a chaotic warmup lap that saw Jimmy King fined and disqualified for an illegal maneuver in the Pfleuger Honda/KPOI Radio entry.
Smokin' Joe's owner Steve Woomer, Auburn, Wash., was furious at this development, threatening to protest the result.
Veteran driver Scott Pierce, who apparently blew over in the R.S. Eastin Hotel/Miss Vons boat in Heat 2A (shortening the event to two laps) escaped serious injury. He refused hospitalization after being checked by doctors.
The final heat standings:
1. Mark Evans, Miss Budweiser, 144.021 mph; 2. Dave Villwock, PICO American Dream, 138.802; 3. Mike Hanson, DeWALT Tools, 136.031; 4. Steve David, The Dole Cannery, 124.151; DNF--Ken Muscatel, Allied Telesyn/Computers & Applications; DNS--Mark Tate, Smokin' Joe's; DSQ--Jimmy King, Pfleuger Honda/KPOI Radio. Fast lap--Evans, 146.218 (2nd).
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HONOLULU -- The preliminary heats for the JN Automotive Hydrofest, final event of the Ralphs Unlimited Hydroplane Thunder Tour '96, presented by Las Vegas:
HEAT 1A 1. Mark Evans, Wenatchee, Wash., Miss Budweiser, 146.059; 2. Dave Villwock, Auburn, Wash., PICO American Dream, 136.638; 3. Jimmy King, Richmond, Mich., Pflueger Honda/KPOI Radio, 131.607; DNF--Mitch Evans, Chelan, Wash., Columbia Communications/Appian Jeronimo; DNS--Mike Jones, Sumner, Wash., Miss Exide. Fast lap--Evans, 146.353 (1st).
HEAT 1B 1. Mark Tate, Canton, Mich., Smokin' Joe's, 145.003; 2. Mike Hanson, Madison, Ind., DeWALT Tools, 143.078; 3. Scott Pierce, Edmonds, Wash., R.S. Eastin Hotel/Miss Vons, 138.465; 4. Ken Muscatel, Seattle, Wash., Allied Telesyn/Computers & Applications, 133.934; 5. Steve David, Pompano Beach, Fla., The Dole Cannery, 133.492. Fast lap--Tate, 148.070 (1st).
HEAT 2A--(stopped after two laps) 1. Villwock, PICO, 149.004; 2. Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 147.935; 3. David, Dole Cannery, 138.253; DNF--King, Pflueger/KPOI; Pierce, Eastin/Vons. Fast lap--Tate, 151.274 (2nd).
HEAT 2B 1. Mark Evans, Budweiser, 145.866; 2. Hanson, DeWALT, 142.619; DNF--Mitch Evans, Columbia/Appian; Muscatel, Allied Telesyn/C&A; DNS--Jones, Exide. Fast lap--Mark Evans, 149.130 (2nd).
HEAT 3A 1. Mark Evans, Budweiser, 149.187; 2. Tate, Smokin' Joe's, 146.698; 2. King, Pflueger/KPOI, 133.404; 4. David, Dole Cannery, 131.246; DNS--Mitch Evans, Columbia/Appian. Fast lap--Mark Evans, 151.610 (1st).
HEAT 3B 1. Villwock, PICO, 144.019; 2. Hanson, DeWALT, 143.013; 3. Jones, Exide, 105.050; DNS--Muscatel, Allied Telesyn/C & A. Fast lap--Villwock, 146.958 (2nd).
PROVISIONAL 1. Muscatel, Allied/Computers & Applications, 137.582; DNF--Jones, Exide; Mitch Evans, Columbia/Appian. Fast lap--Muscatel, 138.504 (1st)