FINAL HEAT RESULTS ...
1st ... U-6 137.374 (1450 pts)
2nd ... U-16 135.977 (1425 pts)
3rd ... U-3 128.043 (1395 pts)
4th ... U-5 111.343 (903 pts)
DNF ... U100 (585 pts)
DNS ... U8 (1005 pts)
Thunder runaway ...
Oh Boy! Oberto eases to win after Re/Max engine catches fire ...
By GORDON ENGELHARDT Courier & Press staff writer June 27, 2005 ...
When the engine on Greg Hopp's Miss Re/Max Services caught fire at the start of the third lap, Steve David's senses were suddenly burning with the smell of victory on Sunday.
David said he wishes he could have battled Hopp to the end.
"I'm a racer and I want to race," said David, who drove Oh Boy! Oberto to his first Thunder on the Ohio unlimited hydroplane victory and fifth of his career with an average speed of 137.374 mph over the 2-mile course. "After he went down, there was nobody in the rear-view mirror.
"Greg is a tremendous racer. I was stoked."
Perhaps David's come-from-behind win wasn't as dramatic as his victory in the boat's homeport of Madison, Ind., four years ago, but it was still charged with overwhelming emotion. It was his first win since the 2001 race at the Indiana Governor's Cup, which marked the first time the community-owned boat finished first on its home course since Jim McCormick won the 1971 Gold Cup.
"It was gratifying to win in Evansville, especially since I started here," said David, who drove the ARC Construction, co-owned by Bob Fendler and McCormick, for the first time at Thunder in 1988. "It's hard to beat winning this race other than winning in Madison. It's nice to win and I'll be carrying in high expectations. I have 13,000 owners to keep happy."
Madison will host the Indiana Governor's Cup next weekend.
No driver other than David in Thunder's eight-team field had ever won an unlimited race.
"Old age and treachery will beat these young folks," said David, who wouldn't disclose his age. "I'm just real old."
J.W. Myers drove Miss E-Lam Plus to a second-place finish with a speed of 135.977 mph. Jimmy King, drove Master Tire, owned by Ed Cooper Jr. of Posey County, to a third-place finish at 128.043.
Hopp, who nailed the start and appeared headed for his first unlimited win, could do nothing but coast to the safety of the infield after his engine burst into flames. "I started on time like I had all weekend - I slammed it," he said. "It's so disheartening that the motor blew up. It was something in the motor that came apart on us. It's a real disheartening end to the weekend."
Dick Lynch, who was fourth in the FormulaBoats.com at 111.343, was penalized one lap for changing lanes before the start and assessed a $300 penalty for encroachment. For what is believed to be the first time since Thunder began in 1979, Miss Budweiser was absent. Miss Bud dropped out of the sport after Anheuser-Busch dropped its sponsorship.
David said no one seemed to miss the King of Boats, which won seven of the last eight Thunders with Dave Villwock driving and 16 of 26 overall. "Fans haven't said a word to me about it," David said. "It's like life. Once you're gone, you're gone."
David, president of the American Power Boat Association from 1995-97 and a member of the APBA board of directors for two years, said the American Boat Racing Association put on a good show on its first official race.
However, he's hoping the ABRA will return to the APBA umbrella. A compromise was worked out and the ABRA will be affiliated with the Gold Cup on July 15-17 at Detroit.
Oh Boy! Oberto did not compete at Evansville last year because it went independent of Hydro-Prop, the organization's governing body, which dissolved after the season.
"It's still a little strange to get used to new things," David said. "I'm an old APBA guy. They (the ABRA is) off to a real good start. I have high hopes it will all come back under the APBA. "Hopefully everybody will get on the same wavelength. They're putting on a decent show. To me, it should be part of something larger. There's a 103-year tradition (in the APBA) that would help maintain the sport's integrity."
Racing Notes: Jimmy King driving the U3 felt he and Miss E-Lam Plus driver J.W. Myers were hampered when FormulaBoats.com driver Dick Lynch moved from lane five to lane three before the start of the final. Lynch was assessed a one-lap penalty and fined $300 for encroachment, but still finished fourth.
"I never had a chance," King said. "(Lynch) went from lane five to lane three and me and E-Lam were in three and four. We had to slow down or go through his roostertail."
Myers said his boat was splashed by Lynch, but nothing major happened. Considering the circumstances, he felt fortunate to come back and finish second at 135.977.
"I can't complain," Myers said. "Before Greg's engine went out, I was running third. I can't get upset about it."
Heat 3A Results ...
1st ... U-16 (140.808)
2nd ... U-3 (137.768)
3rd ... U-100 (129.202)
4th ... U-5 (111.352)
Heat 3B Results ...
1st ... U6 (142.153)
2nd ... U8 (140.477)
3rd ... U2 (134.452)
Heat 2A Results ...
1st ... U3 (137.172)
2nd ... U100 (127.393)
3rd ... U-5 (98.88)
DNF ... U2
Heat 2B Results ...
1st ... U16 (143.039)
2nd ... U6 (141.084)
3rd ... U8 (138.671)
Heat 1A Results from Saturday ...
1st ... U8 (143.020)
2nd ... U6 (139.262)
3rd ... U16 (115.428)
Heat 1B Results from Saturday ...
1st ... U3 (132.829)
2nd ... U5 (113.490)
DNF ... U100
DNS ... U2
Unlimited Qualification Ladder: Final Results
U-16 Elam Plus, J.W. Meyers: 158.189 mph
U-8 Llumar Window Film, Jean Theoret: 150.003 mph
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David: 149.133 mph
U-3 Master Tire, Jimmy King: 147.026 mph
U-100 Re/Max, Greg Hopp: 144.863 mph
U-5 FormulaBoats.com, R.W. Dick Lynch: 139.416 mph
U-2 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly: no speed
U-25 Superior Racing, Ken Muscatel: Withdrew do to sponson damage
Hittin' the beach ...
U-25 Superior Racing out of Thunder on the Ohio ...
By GORDON ENGELHARDT Courier & Press staff writer 464-7518 or firstname.lastname@example.org
June 25, 2005 ...
Unbeknownst to him, the "world's fastest forensic psychologist" had a date with a tree on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River during Thunder on the Ohio practice on Friday.
Exiting the first turn and entering the backstretch on a practice run, U-25 Superior Racing owner/driver Ken Muscatel's linkage to his steering system broke. He was able to kill the engine and slow the boat down slightly as it skidded up the Kentucky side and uprooted a tree. Muscatel escaped injury, but his boat was done for the weekend. It was towed back to the dock, remnants of the tree still sticking out of what little remained of the left front side of his sponson. "I came around the corner on the first lap. I was going 120 to 140 mph, not too fast," said Muscatel, who hopes the U-25 will be repaired in time for the Indiana Governor's Cup in Madison next weekend. "I went right at a 45-degree angle. I skidded across the sandy muddy beach. Thank goodness I shut off the fuel. "I took a tree out by the roots. I stopped right at the levee. The cable grabbed the rudder or I would've gone another 40 to 50 feet, up a rock hill and back down the other side. I don't think I would've been hurt, but it would have destroyed the boat."
Muscatel, who was not sure why his steering system failed, had flipped his boat four times. But Friday marked his first time skidding up a beach, joining just three other drivers in unlimited history.
"It was pretty bad," he said. "I didn't have time to think about it (when it happened). I walked away from it with a lighter wallet."
Named the Unlimited Racing Commission Rookie of the Year in 1991, Muscatel has been influential far beyond his racing capabilities. He helped form the new American Boat Racing Association and previously served as the URC commissioner and president of the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Seattle.