1997 Season Summary

Statistics

0. April 6 Gila River Casino Unlimited Cup Phoenix, Arizona
1. May 26 Virginia is for Lovers Cup (1st Running) Norfolk, Virginia
2. May 31-June 1 Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup Detroit, Michigan
3. June 29 Pontiac/GMC Thunder Evansville, Indiana
4. July 6 Budweiser Indiana Governor's Cup Madison, Indiana
5. July 13 Virginia is for Lovers Cup (2nd Running) Norfolk, Virginia
6. July 27 Budweiser Columbia Cup Kennewick, Washington
7. August 3 Molson Dry Thunderfest Kelowna, British Columbia
8. August 10 Seafair Texaco Cup Seattle, Washington
9. September 14 Bayfair Bill Muncey Cup San Diego, California
10. September 21 Las Vegas Cup Las Vegas, Nevada
11. October 12 JN Automotive Thunderfest Honolulu, Hawaii

 

  Winner Crew Chief Designer Builder Engine Course Distance
4/6 Miss Budweiser (22) [no points] Ron Brown Leland-Villwock Ron Brown Lycoming    
5/26 Postponed     2 Miles 28 Miles
6/1 Miss Budweiser (20) Ron Brown Brown-Jones Ron Brown Lycoming 2½ Miles 52½ Miles
6/29 Miss Budweiser (22) Ron Brown Leland-Villwock Ron Brown Lycoming 2 Miles 28 Miles
7/6 Miss Budweiser (20) Ron Brown Brown-Jones Ron Brown Lycoming 2½ Miles 35 Miles
7/13 Miss Budweiser (20) Ron Brown Brown-Jones Ron Brown Lycoming 2 Miles 28 Miles
7/27 PICO American Dream (2) Ken Dryden Fred Leland Fred Leland Lycoming 2½ Miles 35 Miles
8/3 PICO American Dream (2) Ken Dryden Fred Leland Fred Leland Lycoming 2 Miles 28 Miles
8/10 PICO American Dream (4) Ken Dryden Fred Leland Fred Leland Lycoming 2 Miles 28 Miles
9/14 PICO American Dream (2) Ken Dryden Fred Leland Fred Leland Lycoming 2½ Miles 35 Miles
9/21 Miss Budweiser (20) Ron Brown Brown-Jones Ron Brown Lycoming 2 Miles 28 Miles
10/12 Close Call Jim Lucero Lucero-Jones Lucero-Jones Lycoming 2½ Miles 35 Miles

 

  Built Boat High Points Total Team Points
1. (1987) Close Call 12462    
2. (1995) Miss Budweiser (20) 10188   (1-13068)
3. (1996) PICO American Dream (2) 9689   (3-12002)
4. (1988) DeWalt Tools 9235    
5. (1993) Deja Vu (2) 8321    
6. (1990) Miss Truck Gear 7594    
7. (1992) Appian Jeronimo (2) 6228    
8. (1982) Computers&Applications (2) 3930    
9. (1997) Miss Budweiser (22) 2880    
10. (1993) Hire Power 2788   (9)
11. (1996) PICO American Dream (4) 2566 A (2513)
12. (1997) Graham Trucking 2477 B (14-640)
13. (1984) Miss Exide (4) 2421   (10)
14. (1997) Spirit Of Lake Chelan (2) 1750   (Id
15. (1988) Llumar Window Film 1090   (12)
16. (1995) Miss E-Lam Plus (2) 807   (13)
  A 53 Points Deducted By APBA
  B 1807 Points Deducted By APBA

 

  Driver High Points Total
1. Mark Tate 12462
2. Mark Evans 12202
3. Mike Hanson 9235
4. Steve David 8321
5. Dave Villwock 8025
6. Mark Weber 7950
7. Nate Brown 7594
8. Mitch Evans 6228
9. Ken Muscatel 3930
10. Rick Christensen 2131
11. Jerry Hale 1515
12. Jimmy King 1145
13. Brian Reynolds 719
14. Jerry Hopp 640
15. Mike Jones 592
16. Mike Weber 465
17. John Watkins 371
18. Doug Brow 349
19. Scott Pierce 53

 

Former Names:
1. Miller American (2) , Miller High Life (2), Miss Circus Circus (4)R Winston Eagle (3) , Smokin' Joe's (1)
4. Holset Miss Madison (2), Holset Miss Mazda, Holset Miss U.S. Star, Gaylord's At Kilohana, Valvoline Miss Madison, Kellogg's Tony The Tiger, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Miss Madison (5), Miss Jasper Engines
5. Miss T-Plus (2), Miss D.O.C. Acuvue (3), Jim Harvey Motorsports, ARC Construction (6), Trendwest Resorts, Miss Kiss 106, Molson Jackhammer, Dole Cannery, Miss Detroit Ford Dealers, Primestar, Gargoyles Nitro, Pennzoil Pit Stop
6. Miss Circus Circus (6), Miss Tri-Cities (5), Burien Pit Stop, Sea Doo, Ron Jones Racing, Miss D.O.C. Acuvue (2), Chaplin's Bellevue Volkswagen, Miss Cascade West, Miss Outrigger, First Choice (1), Deja Vu
7. The Brake Shop (2), Lytle State Rep., Miss U.A.W., Miss Hanalei Hotel, Dallas Motor Coach, Arc Construction (5), Tide's American Spirit, American Spirit (2), Miss Wellness Plan (2), Buehler's Buy Low, Kroeger's, Appian Renegade, Miss Rock Kisw-Fm (5), Miss Vons, Miss Columbia Communications, Waffle House, Miss Jennifer, Miss Welborn Health Plans, Miss R.S. Eastin Hotels, Performance Mortgage
8. Atlas Van Lines (10), Spirit Of America, Squire Shop (4), Oh Boy Oberto (6), The Brake Shop (1), Arc Construction (3), Harvey Motor Sports, Miss T-Plus (1), Target Stores (2)
10. Miss Rock KISW-FM (6), Coor's Light, Spirit Of Hawaii, American Dream, PICO American Dream (1), Stihl (3), Miss Vons (3)
11. Chaplin's Bellevue Mazda, Miss Vons (2), Stihl (1), Miss Wellness Plan (3), KGMB Channel 9
12. PICO American Dream (3), Miss Crazy Tomato, Miss R.S. Eastin Hotels (2), Stihl (2)
13. Atlas Van Lines (11), Miller American (1), Miller High Life (1), Race Rock Motor City Diner, ARC Construction (4), Spirit of San Diego, American Spirit (1), Miss Circus Circus (5)
14. Master Tire (2)
15. Mr. Pringles (2), Executone (4), Ellis Park, Super Range Golf, Ultra Bold Dash, Tide, Pizza Time/Exide, Lynnwood Honda, Pleuger Honda, Miss Tri-Cities (6), Miss Molson Dry, Chaplin's

 

* * *

Speed Profiles '97 (Pt. 1 of 2)
      5-26 6-1 6-29 7-6 7-13 7-27
Completion % Full Season - Rank Norfolk 2 Detroit 2½ Evansville 2 Madison 2½ Norfolk 2 Pasco 2½
1. Miss Budweiser (20)
.903 - 5th
Test 151.851 160.065 160.915 158.935 151.655
Lap 155.688 145.466 141.370
Heat 151.515 141.634 136.298
( Finals - Finished 6 of 6 )            
2. Miss Budweiser (22)
.875
Test 154.576 151.390 163.934 150.492 164.588
Lap 151.076 149.977
Heat 145.077 147.462
( Finals - Finished 1 of 2 )            
3. PICO American Dream (2)
.818 - 7th
Test 142.405 155.106 152.265 150.210 145.599 164.618
Lap 146.855 146.909 146.045 134.902 152.788
Heat 144.047 144.394 143.577 132.167 146.522
( Finals - Finished 5 of 8 )            
4. PICO American Dream (4) Stihl (1)
.875
Test 144.344 157.008
Lap
Heat
( Finals - Finished 2 of 2 )            
5. Stihl (3)
PICO American Dream (1)
.941
Test 157.861
Lap 151.052
Heat 149.380
( Finals - Finished 3 of 3 )            
6. PICO American Dream (3)
.875
Test 126.277 141.757 143.589 139.825
Lap 134.610 138.760 121.819
Heat 133.051 138.107 119.883
( Finals - Finished 2 of 2 )            
7. Close Call
.925 - 4th
Test 142.772 157.307 152.236 156.266 150.247 163.171
Lap 152.615 143.908 138.636 138.164 148.972
Heat 148.189 141.621 136.764 136.031 146.440
( Finals - Finished 8 of 9 )            
8. Miss Truck Gear
.846 - 6Th
Test 132.368 147.452 145.606 146.208 139.608 152.349
Lap 136.901 137.773 138.037 135.522 139.576
Heat 123.635 132.434 137.265 133.072 138.462
( Finals - Finished 7 of 8 )            
9. DeWalt Tools
1000 - 1st
Test 141.718 149.860 151.251 149.765 141.493 158.750
Lap 142.283 143.787 138.889 131.243 146.449
Heat 138.730 136.503 137.685 128.046 145.802
( Finals - Finished 9 of 9)            
10. Primestar Gargoyles Nitro
.973 - 2nd
Test 126.026 143.324 145.929 146.045 131.126 155.360
Lap 141.492 134.522 136.310 127.098 135.440
Heat 140.455 130.355 133.241 125.811 133.933
( Finals - Finished 7 of 8 )            
11. Miss Exide (4)
.625 - 9th
Test 88.228 142.540 138.536 136.063 117.863 147.092
Lap 127.968 126.763 112.219 88.201 147.107
Heat 124.747 122.466 110.747 78.339 143.809
( Finals - Finished 1 of 1 )            
12. Appian Jeronimo (2)
.941 - 3rd
Test 129.640 143.511 143.841 158.851
Lap 142.151 141.221 146.434
Heat 140.355 138.710 141.554
( Finals - Finished 6 of 6 )            
13. Computers & Applications
.757 - 8th
Test 131.406 142.126 130.397 135.991 146.860
Lap 133.871 139.640 133.254 130.503
Heat 131.463 138.306 131.850 128.011
( Finals - Finished 2 of 3 )            
14. Master Tire (2)
Spirit of Lake Chelan
.687
Test 119.560 126.091 118.314 134.577
Lap 91.555 104.627 100.694 116.917
Heat 55.544 96.864 97.282 113.899
( Finals - Finished 0 of 0 )            
15. Miss Tri-Cities (6)
Llumar Window Film
.812
Test 157.183
Lap 134.000
Heat 125.515
( Finals - Finished 1 of 1 )            
16. Miss E-Lam Plus (2)
.500
Test 155.360
Lap 141.283
Heat 140.989
( Finals - Finished 0 of 0 )            

 

Speed Profiles '97 (Pt. 2 of 2)
      8-3 8-10 9-14 9-21 10-12 2½ Mile Course Optimum
Completion % Full Season - Rank Kelowna 2 Seattle 2 San Diego 2½ Las Vegas 2 Hawaii 2½
1. Miss Budweiser (20)
.903 - 5th
Test 151.640 152.436 162.599 149.356 165.831 165.831
Lap 142.169 141.523 155.699 137.852 158.406 158.406
Heat 137.696 139.027 153.495 133.098 157.032 157.032
( Finals - Finished 6 of 6 )            
2. Miss Budweiser (22)
.875
Test 168.@@@
Lap 156.@@@
Heat 150.@@@
( Finals - Finished 1 of 2 )            
3. PICO American Dream (2)
.818 - 7th
Test 145.746 146.455 162.699 145.746 165.987 165.987
Lap 141.891 155.406 137.609 155.406
Heat 140.156 151.621 136.061 151.621
( Finals - Finished 5 of 8 )            
4. PICO American Dream (4) Stihl (1)
.875
Test 149.112 149.556 144.286 159.444 159.444
Lap 144.677 157.019 157.019
Heat 135.363 152.830 152.830
( Finals - Finished 2 of 2 )            
5. Stihl (3)
PICO American Dream (1)
.941
Test 145.867 155.642 139.790 157.861
Lap 135.346 146.563 132.231 151.052
Heat 133.142 145.027 130.099 149.380
( Finals - Finished 3 of 3 )            
6. PICO American Dream (3)
.875
Test 143.158 148.@@@
Lap 132.624 139.@@@
Heat 130.877 138.107
( Finals - Finished 2 of 2 )            
7. Close Call
.925 - 4th
Test 151.168 154.037 159.804 149.353 167.143 167.143
Lap 141.044 138.651 153.833 135.944 162.218 162.218
Heat 139.160 135.546 151.358 134.014 160.740 160.740
( Finals - Finished 8 of 9 )            
8. Miss Truck Gear
.846 - 6Th
Test 143.232 143.135 157.767 142.166 160.342 160.342
Lap 138.672 131.687 150.547 128.258 154.504 154.504
Heat 133.029 127.811 149.720 124.993 151.116 151.116
( Finals - Finished 7 of 8 )            
9. DeWalt Tools
1000 - 1st
Test 148.751 147.116 159.112 146.547 159.112
Lap 136.807 138.565 151.187 131.967 151.187
Heat 136.288 136.649 148.286 131.267 148.286
( Finals - Finished 9 of 9)            
10. Primestar Gargoyles Nitro
.973 - 2nd
Test 141.038 148.002 155.156 143.087 155.955 155.955
Lap 128.498 138.037 149.142 128.237 148.012 148.012
Heat 126.666 135.220 144.270 128.655 145.480 145.480
( Finals - Finished 7 of 8 )            
11. Miss Exide (4)
.625 - 9th
Test 134.261 135.931 No Laps 136.537 147.092
Lap 116.629 128.075 No Laps 117.144 147.101
Heat 111.701 122.418 No Laps 113.534 143.809
( Finals - Finished 1 of 1 )            
12. Appian Jeronimo (2)
.941 - 3rd
Test 138.999 142.079 157.409 136.643 163.088 163.088
Lap 130.225 130.416 148.733 130.506 157.792 157.792
Heat 129.104 128.236 142.443 119.569 150.566 150.566
( Finals - Finished 6 of 6 )            
13. Computers & Applications
.757 - 8th
Test 129.422 141.418 136.134 110.645 146.860
Lap 124.773 132.953 126.649 132.585 144.0@@
Heat 121.182 129.321 124.086 127.881 143.000
( Finals - Finished 2 of 3 )            
14. Master Tire (2)
Spirit of Lake Chelan
.687
Test 122.545 127.830 134.577
Lap 113.434 114.275 119.000
Heat 105.912 105.729 113.899
( Finals - Finished 0 of 0 )            
15. Miss Tri-Cities (6)
Llumar Window Film
.812
Test 144.858 141.407 149.083 157.183
Lap 130.241 136.666 133.893 141.@@@
Heat 119.339 133.881 126.225 138.@@@
( Finals - Finished 1 of 1 )            
16. Miss E-Lam Plus (2)
.500
Test 145.625 153.066 155.360
Lap 130.923 139.405 141.283
Heat 127.979 138.179 140.989
( Finals - Finished 0 of 0 )            

 

* * *

1997

After 30 years the Unlimited Racing Commission changed its name to the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Commission, more or less to clarify its position in the sporting world. The UHRA decided to limit the speed at which an entry could turn its powerplant in addition to the fuel flow requirements. This was a further effort to save engine parts and thus reduce costs. The fuel flow regulations had not really saved that many engine parts.

The Budweiser camp in a blockbuster deal hired Dave Villwock, who was driver and crew chief of the 1996 High Point Champion PICO American Dream. This move not only strengthened Miss Budweiser, but also weakened the PICO team. Villwock brought with him the ability to turn out a Leland style hull which owner Bernie Little had coveted last year. The result was a new Turbine V with a Leland style center section yet retaining the Turbine V 96's sponsons.

Mark Evans, who drove for Budweiser in 1996, moved into Villwock' s seat with PICO American Dream. Budweiser crew chief Ron Brown remained with Bernie Little under Dave Villwock. PICO, not to be outdone, also had a new boat for 1997.

Team Woomer lost Camel Cigarettes as a sponsor, but gained Close Call - a phone card company. Reportedly Close Call came up with more money than Camel.

The Gold Cup at Detroit became the first event of the 1997 season when the Virginia Is For Lovers Regatta at Norfolk, Virginia was not only rained out, but also blown out. Although both PICO and Budweiser built new hulls for 97, they chose their old boats PICO American Dream 1996 and Miss Budweiser 1995 as their representatives in the Gold Cup. Steve Woomer's Close Call was also in contention. No-one knew how the new N2 regulator would affect the situation, however based on last year Close Call was rated at 160.9 for a 2½ competition lap.with PICO at 159.4 and Budweiser 155.5.

Miss Budweiser posted the fastest lap, having three m.p.h. on the field, and triumphed in all five heats to take the 1997 Gold Cup. Budweiser, however, was penalized in her first heat for washing down PICO American Dream. PICO gave Budweiser her only close call in heat 4-B although not really being herself after repairs between days of the Detroit Regatta due to a collision with Miss Truck Gear. Close Call was second in speed to Miss Budweiser and came within 5 seconds in heat 2-B. She spun out in the first running of the championship heat thereby causing a re-run.

The 1997 Miss Budweiser made her debut at Evansville. She had five m.p.h. on the rest of the fleet and won all four of her heats to capture Thunder-on-the-Ohio. Close Call was only 3 seconds back of Budweiser in heat 3-A, but was third in the final heat behind PICO 96 after being defeated by the latter in heat 1-A.

At Madison both Miss Budweiser 1995 and PICO American Dream 96 captured all of their elimination heats and were rated as nearly equal entries heading into the championship confrontation. PICO led into the first turn of the final heat and battled Miss Budweiser down the backstretch. However in the next turn PICO slid into Budweiser's roostertail and went dead in the water. Budweiser thereafter went on the annex the Indiana Governor's Cup.

Following Madison the fleet returned to Norfolk, Virginia for another shot at running the Virginia Is For Lovers Cup. The last time major league boats raced in the area was in the middle thirties. Budweiser stayed with their 1995 hull and swept all four of her heats to win the Cup. Budweiser had three m.p.h. on Close Call, who won all of her preliminary heats, yet was clearly defeated in the final heat. PICO 96 could not get out of second place all day long and failed to finish a lap in the championship heat having been caught in a rooster-tail .

The two Miss Budweisers had won their first four events and in the process were victorious in 16 straight heats thus threatening Dean Chenoweth's record of 20 consecutive heat wins in 1980 with another Miss Budweiser. The 1995 boat had about three m.p.h. on the field while the new 1997 charger was about five m.p.h. ahead of the game.

PICO American Dream 96 had the fastest lap at Madison and was the Bernie Little entry's most formidable adversary.

The Budweiser team chose Turbine V 97 for the Tri-Cities -it was faster than Turbine III 95 although not as stable. The Tri-Cities had one of the cleanest courses on the circuit and hence the faster yet less stable hull. Miss Budweiser won all her preliminaries heading into the championship heat having defeated both PICO American Dream 1996 and Close Call in heat 3-B. However approaching the determinative confrontation Miss Budweiser was rated at 149.9 for a competition lap , but PICO had 152.7 and Stihl, the former 1994-95 American Dream, 151.0.

At the start of the championship heat PICO was in lane one, Budweiser in lane 2 and Stihl in lane 3. All these craft as well as Close Call headed into the first turn together. Miss Budweiser had a one boat length lead approaching the exit pin. Then the Budweiser hit three rollers,lifted her left sponson and went over backward.

Driver Dave Villwock was taken to the hospital with multiple injuries.

In the re-run PICO American Dream ran behind Close Call in the first lap. In lap two the Steve Woomer entry took a leap in the initial turn hurting driver Mark Tate's shoulder and Mark Evans with the PICO was away for the win. Close Call was second. Stihl, which had defeated Close Call in heat 2-B, was third.

As the boats headed over the Canadian border for Kelowna, British Columbia. Budweiser had a 2300 point advantage in the contest for the World High Point Championship. But they also had a rookie driver, Mark Weber, in the cockpit and their fastest hull was out for the season. Dave Villwock, who nearly had his hand severed, also would not drive the rest of the year.

Ten of the fifteen entries that showed up at the Tri-Cities made the trek across the border for the Molson Dry Thunderfest. Miss Budweiser 1995 failed to make the final heat although recording the quickest lap of the regatta. She was third in heat 1-B behind DeWalt Tools, won 2-B against an easy draw and went dead while leading heat 3-B again against easy opposition. PICO American Dream 96 captured all of her elimination contests including two with Close Call and then took the final heat easily by 7 seconds over the latter entry.

The Fred Leland camp after winning the last two races with their 1996 hull decided to race at Seattle with another craft which also debuted in 1996 running as Chaplin's Bellevue Mazda with Scott Pierce at the wheel that year. The boat that won the last two events was built with a wider transom to take advantage of the fuel flow rules of 1996. The "new" PICO started in 1995 was intended as a perfection of the Leland hulls of 1992 and 1993 being lighter among other attributes. This craft, which had been flipped by Scott Pierce earlier in the season,was selected by Mark Evans since it pushed easier even though it had never been a front runner.

In a bizzare contest the "new" PICO flipped over in heat 2-A running up the Budweiser's roostertail while in fourth place behind her. Yet the flipped boat recovered to the extent that she ran in the final heat and won the Seafair Regatta.

PICO got extra time to repair their hull when in the re-run of heat 2-A Miss E-Lam Plus climbed on top of Miss Budweiser again stopping down the heat. Miss Budweiser, who had won heat 1-A over Close Call, was out for the day. Close Call defeated the repaired PICO in heat 3-A, but could not come close in the championship heat.

Heading into San Diego Budweiser's lead over Close Call was down to a little over 700 high points. Fortunately for Budweiser, Close Call was not running well due to a difficulty in adapting to the N2 rules of 1997. After getting within one m.p.h. at Kelowna the Steve Woomer entry dropped back to about six m.p.h. off the pace at Seattle, which was about as far back as she had ever been. PICO was about 800 points back, however she was coming off three straight victories and was the hot team on the circuit.

PICO went back to their 1996 hull for San Diego. She tied with Miss Budweiser 1995 for the fastest lap of the regatta at 155 m.p.h. PICO won all her preliminary heats while Budweiser traded wins with Close Call in heats two and three. In the championship heat PICO beat Close Call in a hot duel for all five laps. Miss Budweiser was third.

As the fleet arrived in Las Vegas PICO was now Budweiser's main antagonist for the World Championship being only 419 points down. Close Call was 488 points behind even though being shut out for race wins during the season.

At this crucial time in the High Point contest, PICO and Close Call made mistakes and Budweiser maintained their tradition of not faltering when the chips were down. Close Call failed to beat the one minute gun in heat 3-A at Las Vegas and posted a DNS.

PICO 96 couldn't start heat 2-B and hit a buoy in the final moving her from first place to sixth - she was one second ahead of Miss Budweiser after five laps. Close Call was second in the final heat behind the winning Miss Budweiser.

When the fleet got on the ship and headed for Hawaii, Budweiser had a 1000 marker lead due to her superior performance at Las Vegas with 1640 points at stake in the last regatta of the year.

The Championship was definitely Budweiser's to lose. Budweiser was once again in a guarding position at Honolulu.

After losing to Close Call in heat 1-A, Budweiser guaranteed their World Championship by winning heat 2-A over PICO American Dream 1997 - the top boat at Seattle. The #1 PICO 1996, which had been the race boat:since Seattle, blew over the day before the JN Automotive Hydrofest. Close Call, which had four m.p.h. on the field at Hawaii, beat Miss Budweiser twice in the elimination heats before taking the measure of both PICO and a third place Budweiser in the final heat.

Close Call had had trouble all year long dealing with the new N2 rule. Their trouble related to the ability of the Steve Woomer entry to go through and come off the corners. With 1570 foot turns at Honolulu as opposed to the preferred 1200 foot diameters not to mention the 600 footers at Madison, Close Call was able to deal effectively with their situation.

Budweiser had a rather pressurized weekend in spite of their High Point margin going into Hawaii. On the day before the Hydrofest their 1995 hull threw a prop blade requiring all night repairs. With no sleep for her crew Budweiser performed up to the occasion to secure the High Point Championship.

Unlike PICO Bernie Little only took one boat to Hawaii. Turbine V had not been repaired and Turbine IV with her double wing was not competitive. The remains of Turbine III 89 were lying in Budweiser's back yard with Turbine II on display duty. Turbine One was proping up the wall of a restaurant in Florida.

There were 46 DNF's and DNS's over the year of the N2 regulator. This compares with 59 in 1993 with no fuel flow or N2 regulation. The 4.7 gallons per minute fuel flow yielded 49 failures in 1995 whiie at 4.3 there were 55 failures in 1996. The limitations make a difference, but not that much of a difference.

[Statistics from Greene, V.2]