7/14/2014 3:00:00 PM Miss Madison Strikes Gold! Shane's Detroit River perfection ends 43-year drought
The Oberto/Miss Madison racing team poses with the APBA Gold Cup on the boat after winning Sunday’s race on the Detroit River. Crew members on hand for the photo include (from left): sitting — Steve Dean, Cindy Shirley, Larry Hanson, Tyler Hanson and Brian Johnson; standing — Jimmy Gilbert, Larry Oberto, Jay Sedrowski, Charlie Grooms, Nancy Grooms, driver Jimmy Shane, Bianca Shane, Pat Furnish, Pat Hughes, Travis Johnson, Bob Hughes, Richard Dunn and Eric Bell. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
“The City of Madison opened its arms to me last week and I just wish I could have gotten them the win. But we’re
bringing the Gold Cup back to Madison after 43 years and hopefully that makes up for it.”
Oberto/Miss Madison driver Jimmy Shane,
kissing his wife, Bianca, at the awards ceremony Sunday
DETROIT - Jimmy Shane was perfect all weekend. In the final heat he didn't have to be.
J. Michael Kelly's jump in the final took all the pressure off of Shane, who then steered the Oberto/Miss Madison to the easy win and claimed the American Power Boat Association Gold Cup Sunday on the Detroit River.
After years of close finishes and bad luck by Miss Madison Racing in the sport's biggest race, Shane finally brought the Cup back to Madison, 43 years after the magical 1971 race that inspired a movie.
"I've been around this sport a long time and I'm ecstatic to be mentioned in the same breath as (Chip) Hanauer, (Bill) Muncey and (Dave) Villwock," said Shane, who at 28 became the youngest Gold Cup winner since Hanauer in 1982. "The City of Madison opened its arms to me last week and I just wish I could have gotten them the win. But we're bringing the Gold Cup back to Madison after 43 years and hopefully that makes up for it."
Shane, in just his second race as Miss Madison's pilot, clearly had the boat to beat all weekend, just like a weekend earlier in Madison.
But unlike the Madison race where he took himself out of contention in the final by jumping the gun, Shane made sure to put himself in position to win on Sunday.
Kelly, who benefited from Shane's mistake to win the season opener at Madison, grabbed lane one in the final heat but with the faster Shane on his outside, got too antsy before the start and accelerated well ahead of the field. Kelly's timing got off - despite the fact that he slowed considerably - and his Graham Trucking boat crossed the one-minute line just a tick too early with the mistake costing him a one-lap penalty.
The call was made immediately but Shane took no chances other than making a somewhat conservative start.
Kelly rocketed down the backstretch on lap one with Shane in hot pursuit. Kelly's lead was at about five boat-lengths when Shane got the official word of the penalty at which time he backed off and Kelly pulled away.
As it turned out the penalty may have saved Shane. On lap three of the five-lap final, the Oberto's rear stabilizer came loose and began flopping around on the back of the boat. Shane estimated that the loss of aerodynamics robbed him of nearly 20 mph.
"Every time I'd go into a turn the wing would drag and it would pull me out," Shane said. "It would really have been better had it just broken loose. It was just a drag on the boat. I don't know if I would have been able to catch (Kelly) with it hanging there."
By lap three, however, the race was all but over. Brian Perkins, who was in second place in the Miss Al Deeby Dodge, never challenged Shane and his lead over third-place Cal Phipps and the Graham Trucking II was such that he was content with just holding his position.
"When (Kelly) jumped that put us in a good position but really I was just in survival mode by then," Perkins said. "The river was so rough that I didn't want to risk anything. I saw Jimmy's wing break loose but by that time I was too far away."
The broken wing strut eventually worked its way down near the propeller where it began chewing up the precious wheel. However, Shane thinks the strut did not make contact with the prop until after the race.
"The wing was flopping around and I was watching it (in the mirror). I was hoping it was hitting the roostertail," Shane said. "When I started to slow down to come in, I heard a 'KATHUNK! KATHUNK! KATHUNK!' That's when I think it started to hit the propeller but by then I didn't care."
Perkins finished second and Phipps was third. Kelly finished fourth in the Graham Trucking and Mike Webster, who was also hit with a one-lap penalty for jumping the gun, was fifth in the Webster Racing.
The rear wing and propeller weren't the only issues the Miss Madison team had to overcome on the weekend. The skidfin worked itself loose during one heat and parts were breaking on the boat in nearly every heat. But it didn't hamper the team's resolve to win the Gold Cup.
Shane was the fastest qualifier on Friday and then posted a pair of wins in preliminary heats on Saturday, including a barn-burner in Heat 1A that saw the Oberto post a scorching lap in excess of 160 mph - the fastest competition lap ever recorded on the Detroit River.
Shane picked up two more wins on Sunday before capping off the perfect weekend with the Gold Cup victory. It marked the first time Miss Madison Racing has ever had a 2,000-point weekend and Shane couldn't be happier.
"The boat is just running fabulously and the team has just done such a great job with the boat," Shane said. "I'm just so glad that we could get this win for the Oberto company and for the team. This team has been so close for so many years, it just feels great to get them the win."
The rough Detroit River took out nearly half of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series fleet. As a result, two heats on Sunday were run with just two boats and the five boats in the final heat were the only boats left running.
No team suffered a worst fate than the Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar team. Driver Jon Zimmerman was racing Shane close in Heat 2B on Saturday when he hit a roller in turn one of the fourth lap and went airborne. The boat completed a 540-degree flip before coming down on its transom, ripping the right rear off in the process.
"Jimmy and I had a great race going on and we got to that turn, I hit a bump and the boat did a little wheelie," said Zimmerman, who said his only injury was a chipped tooth. "I stomped on the canard and it thought about coming back down but it changed its mind and went over."
Both the Peters & May and Miss DiJulio teams suffered mechanical breakdowns and never hit the water in a competitive heat. The Peters & May blew two engines in testing while the Miss DiJulio saw its gearbox break just after driver Greg Hopp officially qualified the boat on Friday.
Kelly scored three preliminary heat wins while Perkins got the other heat victory, a rousing win in Heat 1B. On the heels of a strong performance at Madison with co-driver Jamie Nilsen at the wheel, the GoFastTurnLeft Racing Team now heads to the two Washington state races in third place in the National High Points.
"(Crew chief) Jim Harvey has just done such a great job with this boat. He made some changes over the winter that have this boat running faster than it ever has," Perkins said. "We only had five crewmembers this weekend and to finish second in the Gold Cup is just remarkable. It was a great weekend."
The victory ended nearly a decade of disappointments in the Gold Cup for the Miss Madison team. Former driver Steve David finished second eight times in the race before retiring after last season. His last shot at winning the Cup was foiled a year ago when he was penalized one-lap at the start of the final heat for encroaching on, of all drivers, Shane, who was driving the Graham Trucking at the time.
"But all of those disappointments feel like ancient memories now. For the first time since 1971 the Miss Madison is the Gold Cup champion and the prideful city has a reason to celebrate.
"1971 was my first full year with the team and we won the Gold Cup that year," said owner's representative Bob Hughes. "That was 43 long years ago. Hopefully we don't have to go 43 more years to win another one!"
DETROIT YACHT CLUB
AMERICAN POWER BOAT ASSOC.
Detroit River, Detroit, Mich.
Length: 2.7 miles
Sunday, July 13
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto/Miss Madison, 140.863 mph; 2. Brian Perkins, 21 Miss Al Deeby Dodge, 134.876; 3. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 127.289; 4. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 144.534*; 5. Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, 113.005.*
*-penalized one lap for jumping the one-minute buoy
Saturday, July 12
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 157.197; 2. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 155.927; 3. Jon Zimmerman, 9 Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar, 143.537; Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, DNS.
1. Brian Perkins, 21 Miss Al Deeby Dodgem, 148.164; 2. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 139.515; 3. Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, 128.99; Greg Hopp, 12 ServPro/Miss DiJulio, DNS.
1. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 147.137; 2. Brian Perkins, 21 Miss Al Deeby Dodge, 142.099; 3. Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, 125.607; Greg Hopp, 12 ServPro/Miss DiJulio, DNS.
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 148.941; 2. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 129.270; Jon Zimmerman, 9 Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar, DSQ; Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, DNS.
Sunday, July 13
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 143.283; 2. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 141.243.
1. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 149.289; 2. Brian Perkins, 21 Miss Al Deeby Dodge, 147.630; 3. Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, 134.393.
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 146.220; 2. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 145.677; 3. Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, 108.478.
1. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 150.065; 2. Brian Perkins, 21 Miss Al Deeby Dodge, 149.769.
CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS
1. 6 Oberto/Miss Madison, 3,569; 2. 1 Graham Trucking, 3,019; 3. 21 GoFastTurnLeft Racing, 2,625; 4. 7 Graham Trucking II, 2,500; 5. 9 Red Dot, 1,510; 6. 22 Webster Racing, 1,067; 7. 11 Peters & May, 660; 8. Miss DiJulio, 255.
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 3,569; 2. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 3,019; 3. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 2,500; 4. Brian Perkins, 21 GoFastTurnLeft, 1,1650; 5, Jon Zimmerman, 9 Red Dot, 1,510; 6. Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing; 7. Jamie Nilsen, 21 GoFastTurnLeft Racing, 975; 8. Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, 660; 9. Greg Hopp, 12 Miss DiJulio, 255.