2003




Master Tire winner in Thunder on the Ohio;



By John Martin and Steve Ford / Courier & Press June 29, 2003 ... Master Tire broke Miss Budweiser's hold on the Thunder on the Ohio hydroplane title Sunday afternoon on Evansville's river front. The boat, driven by Mitch Evans and owned by Ed Cooper Jr. and Ed Cooper Sr., came out on top in the 10-boat field. It was Master Tire's first-ever Thunder victory. Miss Bud had won the last six titles and has won 15 overall since Thunder started in 1979. Sunday's win was the first win of any kind since 1989 for the boat the only piston-powered craft in the field owned by Ed Cooper, Jr. Piloted by Mitch Evans, the Mater Tire had qualified second on Saturday and got off to a strong start Sunday, winning its first heat race. It took third in its other two Sunday starts. Meanwhile, Miss Budweiser, had also won just once in three heat races, before failing to start the finals because it lost its propeller. The Freedom Festival drew to a close Sunday night, having had lower crowds then in two previous years, when the U.S. Navy Blue Angels' performed. Totals on button sales are not yet available. "We had a lot of challenges this year, especially with the water and the conditions, and we had a big rain on Thursday," festival President Mike Duckworth said. "Once the weather turned nice, I thought all the events went really well. We had good crowds in the evening."

Fianl Unlimited Qualification Standings:

U-1 Miss Bud 153.560 ( Dave Villwock)
U-3 Master Tire 152.422 (Mitch Evans)
U-9 WABX 151.136 (Mike Hanson)
U-8 Llumar 150.473 (Mark Evans)
U-100 Raben 148.855 (Greg Hopp)
U-10 EMCOR 148.487 (Mike Weber)
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto 140.644 (Steven David)
U-25 Home Loan 138.448 (Ken Muscatel)
U-2 Trendwest No Speed (Terry Troxell)
U-16 Elam Plus No Speed (Nate Brown)


HEAT 1A


U-9 Miss WABX, Mike Hanson 138.716
U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock 138.528
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David 134.373
U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 132.357
U-100 Miss Raben Tire, Greg Hopp DNF

Fast lap - 1st - U-1 Miss Budweiser - 143.537

HEAT 1B

U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans 134.354
U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber 132.266
U-8 Llumar Window Film, Mark Evans 123.427
U-2 Miss Trendwest, Terry Troxell 118.265
U-25 Mister Home Loan * Ken Muscatel 110.913

Fast lap - 1st - U-3 Master Tire - 143.249
* penalized for a fuel violation and taking out a buoy.

HEAT 2A

U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock 141.835
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David 133.264 *
U-9 Miss WABX, Mike Hanson 131.521
U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 133.457 **
U-100 Miss Raben Tire, Greg Hopp 93.278

Fast lap - 3rd - U-1 Miss Budweiser - 150.536
* flagrant fuel violation - loss of points,
** one lap penalty for jumping the gun

HEAT 2B

U-8 Llumar Window Film, Mitch Evans 135.936
U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mark Weber 132.699
U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans 128.066
U-2 Miss Trendwest, Terry Troxell 117.882
U-25 Mister Home Loan, Ken Muscatel 101.785

Fast lap - 2nd - U-8 Llumar Window Film - 138.608

HEAT 3A

U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber 137.403
U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock 133.922
U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans 128.852
U-9 Miss WABX, Mike Hanson 117.124
U-8 Llumar Window Film, Mark Evans 120.252 *

Fast lap - 2nd - U-1 Miss Budweiser - 149.470 mph
* lane encroachment

HEAT 3B

U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 138.515 *
U-100 Miss Raben Tire, Greg Hopp 132.472
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David 136.472 **
U-25 Mister Home Loan, Ken Muscatel 108.424
U-2 Miss Trendwest, Terry Troxell 122.268 **

Fast lap - 3rd - U-16 Miss Elam Plus - 143.218 mph
* flagrant fuel violation ** one lap penalty - jumping the gun

UNLIMITED CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT

1st ... U-3 Master Tire, Mitch Evans ... 140.515
2nd ... U-9 Miss WABX, Mike Hanson ... 137.658
3rd ... U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber ... 130.463
4th ... U-2 Miss Trendwest, Terry Troxell ... 105.590
5th ... U-8 LLumar Window Film, Mark Evans ... (DNF)
6th ... U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock ... (DNS)

Fast lap - 2nd - U-3 Master Tire- 146.140 mph

Course records: Competiton Lap:
156.713 Miss Bud, Chip Hanauer 1993
Qualification lap:
165.975 Miss Bud, Chip Hanauer 1993