2000 Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup
Miss Budweiser wins Gold Cup race
DETROIT - It was well worth the wait for Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser.
The final heat of the APBA Gold Cup unlimited hydroplane race was delayed for nearly four hours Sunday because of choppy conditions on the Detroit River, but when it started the race was all Budweiser.
In the process of winning his fourth Gold Cup, Villwock set records for consecutive unlimited victories and broke the record for wins by a Miss Budweiser driver.
"If you're talking about rising above a group that includes Dean Chenoweth, Jim Kropfeld and Bill Muncey, that's a pretty good day," Villwock said.
It was the 10th straight unlimited victory and fourth in as many races this year for Villwock, who failed to win a preliminary heat race for the first time this year in Sunday's second preliminary heat.
Villwock broke the record of nine straight unlimited wins he shared with Muncey. It was also his 24th win in Miss Budweiser, eclipsing Chenoweth's team record. Earlier this year he surpassed Kropfeld's 22 wins to move into second place.
Villwock said that the rough Detroit River surface provided a challenge to both driver and boat.
"It was rough but I look forward to that sometimes," he said. "Some drivers look at the rough water as an obstacle. I look at it as an ally. You have a few more cards to play. The crew has to set up the boat and the driver has to execute."
Villwock got off to a perfect start and after that had a simple strategy.
"I just wanted to take care of (the boat)," he said. "The crew gave me a great race boat. I just wanted to execute by tripping the (starting) clock, getting up to maximum speed and getting out of the first turn cleanly. Once I got control of the race, I just wanted to find good water."
Villwock's winning time was 139.416 mph. Mark Weber was a distant second in Miss DYC in 136.693. Rookie George Stratton was third in Appian Jeronimo.
"I'm proud of my team," Weber said. "Finishing second to the best out there isn't too shabby. Budweiser and Villwock are awesome."
Miss Budweiser lost its only heat of the year when it made contact with Mark Tate's Miss Chrysler-Jeep and received a lap penalty for leaving its lane and finished fifth in the heat.
Miss Madison driver Charley Wiggins, who was driving in both the Unlimited and Unlimited Lights series, flipped his Lights boat during a heat race and suffered a bruised right hand.
Wiggins, who has a deep bruise on his left leg after a mishap in last week's Unlimited race in Evansville, Ind., was replaced by Jerry Hopp for the Gold Cup final.