Thunder on the Ohio

RACE VIDEO

Unlimited Hydroplane ...
FINAL HEAT ...
1st ... ELAM Plus (139.974)
2nd ... U3 Master Tire (136.049)
3rd ... U5 Formula Boats (135.332)
4th ... U7 Formula Boats (129.403)
5th ... Oh Boy! Oberto (129.064)
DNF ... U100 Remax
DNF ... U10 Emcor

HEAT 3B ...
1st ... U3 Master Tire (138.957)
2nd ... U100 ReMax (138.502)
3rd ... U7 Formula Boats (129.550)
DNS ... U2.25

HEAT 3A ...
1st ... ELAM Plus (146.533)
2nd ... Oh Boy! Oberto (133.067)
3rd ... U5 Formula Boats (132.028)
4th ... U37 Miss Seattle (129.600)
DNS ... U10 Miss Emcor

HEAT 2B ...
1st ... U1 ELAM Plus (139.730)
2nd ... U7 Formula Boats (137.938)
3rd ... U2.25 (115.565)
DNS ... U6 (DNS)

HEAT 2A ...
1st ... U3 Master Tire (146.796)
2nd ... U5 Formula Boats (134.915)
3rd ... U10 Emcor (116.626)
4th ... U37 Miss Seattle (133.184 - lap penalty)
DNS ... U100 ReMax (DNS)

HEAT 1A ... WORX
1st ... ELAM Plus (140.660)
2nd ... Oh Boy! Oberto (137.049)
3rd ... U5 Formula Boats (136.632)
4th ... U10 Emcor (122.690)
5th ... U2.25 (78.482)

HEAT 1B ...
1st ... U3 Master Tire (147.037)
2nd ... U37 Miss Seattle (141.111)
3rd ... U7 Formula Boats (106.387)
4th ... U100 ReMax (68.215)

Speed Charts

Final Qualifying Results ...
U-1 MISS ELAM PLUS ... 156.842
U-5 FORMULABOATS.COM ... 152.613
U-6 OH BOY! OBERTO ... 150.696
U-3 MASTER TIRE ... 149.439
U-37 MISS SEATTLE ... 148.087
U-100 REMAX ... 144.953
U-7 FORMULABOATS.COM II ... 144.514
U-10 MISS EMCOR ... 140.257
U-2.25 MICHIGAN MORTGAGE ... 137.865
U-21 KENNY KENT CHEVROLET ... Did not run

Thunder reign continues ...

By GORDON ENGELHARDT ... Courier & Press staff writer ... Sunday, June 25, 2006 ...

All weekend long at Thunder on the Ohio, the Dave Villwock-Jimmy King showdown had been looming. A living legend with an uncanny record of success at Evansville poised against a veteran still seeking his first career unlimited hydroplane victory, driving the piston-powered hometown favorite. Both had won all three of their preliminary heats. When they finally met in Sunday's final, Villwock's mastery continued unabated. He drove the U-1 Miss Elam Plus to his ninth Thunder victory with an average speed of 139.974 mph over the 2-mile course. King, in the U-3 Master Tire, owned by Ed Cooper Jr. of Posey County, placed second at 136.049. "Wow, what a special place this has been for me," said Villwock, who also won Thunder in 1996 in Pico American Dream and in Miss Bud from 1997 to 2002 and '04. Villwock was returning to Evansville after a one-year absence because the Miss Bud team disbanded following the '04 season. "I missed being here last year and it was great to be back and beat the best fleet of boats in the history of the sport," Villwock said. "We had a few struggles fixing a lot of stuff and the team showed what they were worth and the dynasty we may become. I beat three old Bud boats (in the final) and five boats total had won the race here." Villwock is having more fun driving for Miss Elam Plus than the corporate Budweiser team, where winning was expected and only modestly celebrated. "This team has the best of both worlds," said Villwock, who has 49 career victories. He trails only Bill Muncey (62) and Chip Hanauer (61). When he first came to Evansville as Hanauer's crew chief in the Miss Circus Circus in the late 1980s, he was immersed in Muncey lore. "Now when we see all the people, they give us a big hug to welcome us," Villwock said. "This is a great place to be. People are open and honest." Villwock elected to start on the outside, believing it would keep him out of harm's way. "When the wind is blowing against the current, lane 1 and 2 have some big holes," said Villwock, who took the lead out of the first turn and breezed to victory. He compared Elam's speed to unleashing a racehorse. "We were swinging as hard as we could and if it worked, it worked and if it didn't, it didn't. We've won a number of races here from the outside. Lane 1 on this course slows the boat down." Racing deck-to-deck for second with Mike Weber in the U-5 FormulaBoats.com, King finally put him away on the final straightaway. Cooper was incensed that Villwock squeezed King at the end of the first lap, when he knew all King could do at that point was race for second. "We'll do what we've got to do," Cooper said. "I was trained in the old school and we'll see how it comes out. We tore up our wing and sponson. That's the kind of guy he is. There are a lot of people who don't like Dave." When asked if he liked Villwock, Cooper said: "I respect him as a competitor." The Master Tire caught some water, but regained its bearings. "That's the downside to racing on the inside," Villwock said. But King said he had to race from the inside at the start because he couldn't generate as much horsepower as Elam, which was the fastest qualifier in the field at 156.842 mph. King was the fourth-fastest qualifier at 149.439. "We're pleased. Maybe we're the new red boat," he said, referring to Miss Bud. "We want to make some noise. We'll get it worked out. There is more horsepower to be had."



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