2002 SEATTLE RACE AND
Miss Bud flies home first ...
Bob Condotta; The News Tribune ...
Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock, whose ultracompetitive nature often rubs his opponents the wrong way, doesn't concede anything easily.
But this was one time Villwock was more than happy to let rival driver Nate Brown of the Miss E-Lam Plus have the inside lane if Brown wanted it.
"I just thought lane two was the place to be,'' Villwock said of the position as the boats lined up for the championship heat of the General Motors Cup at Seafair unlimited hydroplane race Sunday on Lake Washington.
"Lane one is just usually not that good of a feel here (because of the wind and rough water conditions).''
Villwock proved to be right, riding lane two all the way to the winner's circle as he held off Brown to win the sixth Seafair race of his career and avenge a disappointing loss to the E-Lam in the Tri-Cities a week ago.
Unlike last week, however, when the two camps exchanged heated words afterward, the two drivers had almost nothing but compliments for each other.
Brown even pulled up to Villwock as the Bud took a victory lap and "just waved to him and told him, 'Good race,'" Brown said.
Brown didn't have much choice but to be conciliatory after admitting that Villwock had outfoxed him at the start of the final heat, part of what was a perfect day for the Budweiser. Villwock won all four of his heats, also besting Brown - who won two heats - in heat 3B.
Brown said he wanted to grab the inside lane of the final heat that Villwock was more than willing to give him.
"I think I would have been better in lane one than lane two because of how our boat can hold the corners,'' Brown said.
But as the boats approached the starting line, Brown was blocked by Greg Hopp, driver of the U-100 Auburn Chevrolet, who was on the inside.
"I was looking and looking, but there was just nowhere to go,'' Brown said. "I had no choice but to go outside of him.''
Said Villwock: "It sounds really good to say it, but it's really a crapshoot. I thought the odds were best to go for lane two if I could figure out some way to make that happen. I got lucky and it happened for me.''
Adding to Brown's frustration, he could do nothing but watch as Hopp's boat went dead with 30 seconds to go before the final - by that time it was too late for Brown to switch lanes.
That gave Villwock the best of both worlds - he was inside of Brown, but also didn't have to drive in lane one where the roughest water lay.
Brown, whose boat was the fastest qualifier at 153.344 mph compared to the Bud's 152.632, still thought he had a chance to pass Villwock on the outside of the five-lap final.
But as Brown slammed his foot into the pedal at the start, his boat momentarily stalled.
"That was just enough to give him a little edge,'' Brown said.
Then, as the boats raced to the first turn, Brown had to pull off the pedal as Mike Hanson momentarily lost control of the U-9 Skyway Park Bowl & Casino, and encroached into the E-Lam's lane.
Brown gave one big push going up the backstretch of the first lap, but said he felt his boat begin to lose control and almost flip before coming back down.
After that, Brown had little choice but to play it conservatively. He caught Mark Tate for second, but never made a serious run on Villwock, who completed the final heat with a speed of 136.541 mph to Brown's 133.953.
As Villwock reached the dock, he pumped his fist in triumph and hugged crew members and boat owner Bernie Little, who was back in the pits after missing the previous three races with pneumonia.
It was a stark contrast to a week ago when Villwock stomped into the team's trailer after finishing sixth in the Columbia Cup after missing a buoy midway through the final heat while trying to hold off Brown.
Villwock charged that Brown had encroached on his boat, though officials levied no penalty.
"Last week was tough,'' Villwock said. "And it was tough not having Bernie there. To have him here is a great stabilizer for me.''
Villwock felt so good, he even thanked Brown for pushing him so hard this season, saying it's been good for the sport. Villwock has won 3-of-5 races this season with Brown taking the other two.
Finally, though, he couldn't resist one little dig.
"Nate loves to talk,''' Villwock said. "I'd just as soon go racing.''
There was little question about who did it better.
53rd annual General Motors Cup. Lake Washington ...
U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 153.344
U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock 152.632
U-9 Skyway Park Bowl and Casino, Mike Hanson 148.404
U-2 Miss Trendwest, Mark Tate 147.692
U-100 Auburn Chevrolet/American Pride, Greg Hopp 146.284
U-10 Miss Grand Central Casino, Mike Weber 146.009
U-3 Vacationville.com, Mitch Evans 145.612 (2 Mile Piston World Record!)
U-99 Miss Fairweather Masonry, Terry Troxell 142.970
U-8 Llumar Window Film, Jimmy King 141.612
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David 137.265
U-25 Golden Nugget Casino, Ken Muscatel 135.567
1. Miss E-Lam Plus 129.815
2. Skyway Park Bowl 129.329
3. American Pride 127.657
4. Vacationville.com 122.640
5. Llumar Window Film 122.185
6. Silver Dollar Casino 107.705
1. Miss Budweiser 134.292
2. Miss Trendwest 131.497
3. Oh Boy! Oberto 127.425
4. Fairweather Masnry 122.945
5. Grand Central Casino DNS
1. Miss E-Lam Plus 132.987
2. Llumar Window Film 131.908
3. Vacationville.com 120.397
4. Silver Dollar Casino 97.516
5. Skyway Park Bowl NA
6. American Pride DNS
1. Miss Budweiser 132.630
2. Miss Fairweather Masonry 128.679
3. Oh Boy! Oberto 127.728
4. Miss Trendwest 108.219
5. Grand Central Casino NA
1. American Pride 134.174
2.Grand Central Casino 125.627
3. Llumar Window Film 119.388
4. Silver Dollar Casino 102.803
5. Skyway Park Bowl NA
1. Miss Budweiser 132.515
2. Miss Trendwest 131.382
3. Miss E-Lam Plus 130.785
4. Oh Boy! Oberto DNF
5. Miss Fairweather Masonry DNS
1. Grand Central Casino 137.387
2. Miss Fairweather Masonry 136.600
3. Silver Dollar Casino 116.373
4. Oh Boy! Oberto DNS
1. Miss Budwesier 136.541
2. Miss E-Lam Plus 133.953
3. Miss Trendwest 126.634
4. Llumar Window Film 118.183
5. Skyway Park Bowl/Casino NA
6. Miss Grand Central Casino NA
7. American Pride DQ