2000 Empire Power Mohave Hydrofest
May 24, 2000
(Lake Havasu City, AZ) - Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser began the 2000 Unlimited Hydroplane Thunder Tour by perfectly timing the start of the final and cruising to his 30th career victory at the Empire Power Systems Presents the Second Annual Mohave Unlimited Hydrofest - River Palms Cup Challenge.
Villwock was the top qualifier in the ten boat Unlimited field with an average lap speed of 156.125 mph, which set a new record on the tri-oval course. He also won all three of his preliminary heats giving him an early lead in championship points.
"After last season's disappointing second place finish at Lake Havasu, I wanted to prove to everyone I could win at this venue," said Villwock. "Because of the rough water conditions, I knew I would need perfect starts and I think I had four of the best I've ever had in Unlimited racing."
Four-time series champion Mark Tate in the U-2 Freddie's Club Casino finished second after a spirited battle with Mark Weber in the U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning who finished a close third. Fourth place went to Greg Hopp in the U-100 Miss Project X.
Tate, Weber and Hopp each won a preliminary heat and battled throughout the weekend for second place. "Villwock's a great driver and he's got great equipment," said Tate. "We battled through the tough conditions but we were unable to catch the Miss Budweiser in the final."
Rookie George Stratton in the U-5 Appian Jeronimo and the new U-28 New Kid in Town, driven by Jerry Hale, also made successful debuts at the Mohave Unlimited Hydrofest. Stratton drove the U-5 to a fifth place finish in the finals along with a second, third and fourth place finish in the preliminary heats. Jerry Hale drove the brand new U-28 New Kid in Town to a second and two third place finishes in the preliminary heats. "Rookie George Stratton, in the U-5 Appian Jeronimo, and the U-28 New Kid in Town hydroplane are great additions to Unlimited racing and we look forward to their continued success," said Bo Darling of the UHRA.
Also beginning their 2000 Unlimited season at Lake Havasu were the U-3 Cooper's Express driven by Mike Weber, the U-9 Jones Racing driven by Mike Hanson, the U-16 Miss Elam Plus driven by Mark Evans and the U-25 Miss Freei driven by Dr. Ken Muscatel.
Next stop on the 2000 Unlimited Hydroplane Thunder Tour is the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio at Evansville, Indiana on June 23-25.
* * * 2000 Unlimited Hydroplane Thunder Tour O'Doul's National High Points Standings (May 21, 2000) Boat Championship Points Pos. Number Boat Name Points 1 U-1 Miss Budweiser (1) 1640 2 U-2 Freddie's Club Casino 1255 3 U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning 1173 4 U-100 Miss Project X 1038 5 U-5 Appian Jeronimo 831 6 U-28 New Kid In Town 750 7 U-25 Miss Freei 338 8 U-16 Miss Elam Plus 313 9 U-3 Cooper's Express 254 10 U-9 Jones Racing 242 Driver Championship Points Pos. Number Driver Name Points 1 U-1 Dave Villwock (1) 1640 2 U-2 Mark Tate 1255 3 U-10 Mark Weber 1173 4 U-100 Greg Hopp 1038 5 U-5 George Stratton 831 6 U-28 Jerry Hale 750 7 U-25 Dr. Ken Muscatel 338 8 U-16 Mark Evans 313 9 U-3 Mike Weber 254 10 U-9 Mike Hanson 242 *Race wins in parenthesis