It's a 6-pack for Miss Bud
By GORDON ENGELHARDT / Courier & Press staff writer
July 1, 2002 ...
All the restrictions, all the complaints and all the controversy were washed away in a sea of victory for Dave Villwock.
For the seventh successive year and the sixth driving Miss Budweiser, Villwock won Thunder on the Ohio Sunday, covering the two-mile course with an average speed of 134.839 mph. Although Miss Bud has won Thunder 11 of the last 13 years, it had gone winless in five races since last year's season-opener at Evansville.
Villwock prevailed again despite being restricted below the 4.3 gallons per minute of fuel flow the other turbine-powered teams were allowed. However, Hydro-Prop CEO Bart Garbrecht would not disclose how much more Miss Bud was restricted.
Taking lane 3, Villwock cleanly sped through turn 1 in the lead and cruised to victory.
"This is unbelievable," Villwock said. "It was a tough task because we didn't have the fastest boat, again. But we had a good start. It was rough through the first turn and there was wind upstream that the other guys caught in there.
"We were on the gas at the entrance pin. We had to get the rubber band wound up. We knew we had to make a perfect start."
He wanted to find lane 2, 3 or 4.
"I know how rough it is and you've got to go through the turn and make it as rough as possible for them," Villwock said. "Whoever grabbed the inside lane had to get boat speed through there. I had to try to outthink them in this one. I knew Nate (Miss E-Lam Plus driver Brown) would go inside and I knew (The Big Talker WGAB 1180 AM driver Terry) Troxell would go inside."
Villwock basically set a trap, creating three-foot holes that his rivals would have to bounce across.
But Brown created a hole for himself before the start he could not overcome. Realizing that he was going to be too quick coming up to the start as the drivers were milling around, jockeying for position, he made a little inside loop inside the course at the apex of corners 1 and 2 instead of cutting across the infield and coming back around.
In the process, he washed down Steve David in the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, could've hit Troxell if he hadn't moved over and was disqualified.
"He just about took out the 99 (Troxell) and Oberto," said Hydro-Prop president Gary Garbrecht, Bart's father. "The only thing he was fighting for was his lane and made a commitment to pass. He did cut in front of them and cut down Oberto. If 99 hadn't moved, he would've run over the top of him."
Troxell finished second at 132.429 while Mike Hanson in Miss WABX was third at 129.744. Mark Tate was fourth in Miss Trendwest (124.768) and David fifth (123.571).
"You've got to remember Dave is the best. You measure yourself by Dave Villwock and the rest of the Budweiser organization," Troxell said. "They aren't giving up their summer vacation to do this like we are. There is a gap. This (weekend) was our first time in the water this year."
Troxell backed off the gas when he realized he couldn't catch Miss Bud.
"He ran it all over the race course (trying to block his competitors)," Troxell said. Uncharacteristically, Miss Bud was only the third-fastest qualifier at 148.738 mph. Villwock wondered how he ran faster than 147.
"One-forty seven was about all we had," he said. "We kept throwing everything at it. If we won, we won. If we crashed, we crashed. This is a Bud town and I'm sure they're hoisting a few brews up there (in Dress Plaza) for us.
"We just don't quit. We knew we were in a deep hole when we came here. We didn't have much of a chance."
But there's always a chance when you work hard and have the kind of experience and expertise Villwock and his crew bring to the table.
"Sometimes opportunities arise and that's part of America," he said. "Roger Penske said isn't it interesting how hard-working people most often get lucky."
Although Garbrecht readily admits he's trying to level the playing field so Miss Bud won't dominate, he gave plenty of credit to Villwock for winning with the odds stacked against him.
"Dave knows this race course as good as anybody, probably better than anybody," Garbrecht said. "There's no question he had the fastest boat. The rest of the guys shot themselves in the foot.
"It looked like they were chasing Tiger Woods."
Unlimited Qualification Ladder:
U-16 E-Lam 152.937 (Nate Brown)
U-100 Miss U.S. 148.837 (Greg Hopp)
U-1 Miss Bud 148.738 ( Dave Villwock)
U-9 WABX 148.668 (Mike Hanson)
U-2 Trendwest 148.453 (Mark Tate)
U-99 WGAB 146.797 (Terry Troxell)
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto 145.088 (Steven David)
U-10 EMCOR 136.939 (Mike Weber)
U-8 Llumar 133.180 (Jimmy King)
U-25 SRP 132.413 (Ken Muscatel)
U-3 Master Tire 130.576 (Mitch Evans)
U-8 130.316 (Fuel V - 0 points)
U-100 Gun Jump
U-100 Gun Jump
U-10 hitting a buoy / flagrant fuel violation
U-8 Gun Jump
U-10 Gun Jump
U-3 Gun Jump
UNLIMITED CHAMPIONSHIP HEAT
U-1 Miss Bud 134.839
U-99 WGAB 132.429
U-9 WABX 129.744
U-2 Trendwest 124.768
U-6 Oberto 123.571
U-25 SRP 108.306
U-16 E-Lam DSQ*
2002 National High Point Standings ...
1. Dave Villwock, U-1 Miss Budweiser (150)
2. Mike Hanson, U-9 WABX (122)
3. Terry Troxell, U-99 Big Talker WGAB Evansville (110)
4. Mark Tate, U-2 Miss Trendwest (105)
5. Steve David, U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto (99)
6. Nate Brown, U-16 Miss Elam Plus (90)
7. Mike Weber, U-10 Miss EMCOR (66)
8. Ken Muscatel, U-25 Security Race Products (64)
9. Mitch Evans, U-3 Master Tire (43)
10. Greg Hopp, U-100 Miss U.S. (34)
11. Jimmy King, U-8 Llumer Window Film (20)