2011 Detroit APBA Gold Cup

Dave Villwock Makes History With Most Wins

Becomes Air National Guard Hydroplane Series' All-Time Winningest Driver

Dave Villwock wins 63 to surpass Bill Muncey as top winner of all time 
- Chris Denslow Photo
Dave Villwock wins 63 to surpass Bill Muncey as top winner of all time
- Chris Denslow Photo

Dave Villwock made history Sunday by becoming the Air National Guard Hydroplane Series' all-time winningest driver with a victory at the Gold Cup, breaking a legendary record that has stood for more than three decades. Villwock overcame some early adversity on the weekend to speed past the legendary Bill Muncey to notch his 63rd career race victory. Muncey, who died in 1981, had 62 career race victories. "I still think I'm in a great club, I guess you could call it the Rushmore of boat racing," Villwock said. "Myself, Chip Hanauer and Bill Muncey each brought something different to the sport."

Villwock collected his ninth Gold Cup trophy (fourth consecutive) and in the process passed Muncey, who captured eight Gold Cups. To understand the company Villwock, 57, has surpassed you have to compare their records. Muncey had 62 career wins and Hanauer had 61 race victories. Dean Chenoweth is fourth with 25 race victories. When asked whether he was the best of the group, Villwock replied, "I think we would have a hell of a race." Getting the victory on the Detroit River was anything but easy for Villwock and his Spirit of Qatar team. Villwock survived a violent collision at the season opener last week in Indiana and spent some long nights with his teammates repairing the Air National Guard hydroplane. Once in Detroit, he had to borrow parts from fellow competitors and had just one turbine engine and a gear box left.

Villwock was focused going into the final and made sure no one was going to keep him from getting the record in Detroit. He jumped out to an early lead, averaging 138.8mph, and quickly putting some distance between his boat and second-place finisher Scott Liddycoat in Valken Sports boat. The rookie driver has just two races under his belt on the Air National Guard Series. He was excited to finish second in the race, which is one of the oldest in motorsports. "No doubt he's one of the best that's ever been," Liddycoat said. "To finish second to him, I'll take it."

Villwock earned his first career victory on Mission Bay in San Diego, Calif., in 1992. Since then, Villwock has earned nine national high points championship titles. Over the past 10 years, Villwock has won 145 heats of the 223 heats he has started. Bill Muncey's widow, Fran, was proud that Villwock broke her late husband's record. She helped the Seattle area resident get hired as the crew chief for the Circus Circus boat in the 1980s. Bill Muncey died in a racing accident in Acapulco, Mexico. "Bill would have been very proud of him," said Fran, who lives in the San Diego area. "He's so dedicated to the sport and has paid his dues." Villwock says he'll take some time to reflect on his status atop the sport—at least record wise, as he heads to the Pacific Northwest in his luxury RV. He was asked what Muncey would think about the sport today, and said, "He would really appreciate the sport and where it's come and how competitive it is."

Sunday marked the 102nd running of the APBA Gold Cup, the oldest trophy in all of motorsports. Hydroplane races have taken place on the Detroit River since 1916.

Top 5 Final Results for the Air National Guard Hydroplane Series in Detroit

Position, driver, boat, speed

1. Dave Villwock, Spirit of Qatar, 138.807 mph
2. Scott Liddycoat, Valken Sports, 131.360 mph
3. Jeff Bernard, Graham Trucking, 129.239 mph
4. J Michael Kelly, Degree Men, NA
5. Cal Phipps, Miss Red Dot, NA

Preliminary Heat Results for Sunday at Air National Guard Series in Detroit

Heat 3A: 1. Cal Phipps, 143.264 mph, 2. J. Michael Kelly, 3. Scott Liddycoat.

Heat 3B: 1. Dave Villwock, 144.041 mph, 2. Jeff Bernard, 3. Greg Hopp.

Heat 4A: 1. Scott Liddycoat, 140.342 mph, 2. J. Michael Kelly, 3. Cal Phipps.

Heat 4B: 1. Dave Villwock, 138.937 mph, 2. Jeff Bernard, 3. Greg Hopp.


July 11th, 2011

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