1998 Budweiser Columbia Cup
Columbia River, Tri-Cities, WA, July 25-26, 1998


Tri-Cities, WA, Sunday, July 26, 1998, 6:00 p.m. - - When qualifying for the Budweiser Columbia Cup for Unlimited Hydroplanes came to an close here Saturday, easily the fastest field of the 1998 Ralphs UHRA Thunder Tour presented by Las Vegas was poised for what promises to be an incredible Sunday shootout on the Columbia River.

Six boats qualified at an average speed of over 150 miles per hour around the two-and-one-half mile oval course, with two boats Miss Budweiser and Appian Jeronimo over 160.

Once again it was unbeaten Dave Villwock in the Miss Bud who qualified number one at 162.502 mph, but right behind was Mitch Evans in the Jeronimo at 160.749. Nate Brown in Miss Tri-Cities was just a tick back at 159.747 with Jimmy King a surprising fourth at 156.786 in Miss E-LAM making its 1998 debut.

Other highlights of Saturday’s qualifying run in 100 plus degree heat before a huge crowd, included Honolulu’s Bob Fendler qualifying the U-19 Miss Easter Seals driven by Jerry Hale with a time of 146.275.

Bad luck continued to follow the U-100 PICO American Dream. Mark Evans’ attempt at a late afternoon qualifying run did not take place after the boat caught fire in the pits. The blaze was quickly put out but the boat was forced to stay on the trailer. Evans’ best time was 153.137.

Unofficial Qualifying Results Day Two Session 5 4:00 P.M.

U1 Miss Budweiser (T-5),Dave Villwock, 162.502
U20 Appian Jeronimo, Mitch Evans, 160.749+
U8 Robert Young Suites & Llumnar Presents The Miss Tri-Cities, Nate Brown 159.747+
U16 Miss E-Lam Plus, Jimmy King, 156.786+
U2 Miss Molson, Steve David, 152.931
U100 PICO American Dream ’98,N. Mark Evans, 153.137+
U7 Mr. United Furniture Warehouse, Rick Christensen, 149.735
U9 Carpenter Communications,Mike Weber, 149.638+
U14 Miss Jack-Sons Sports Bar, Ken Muscatel, 146.618#
U19 Easter Seals, Jerry Hale, 146.275#
U3 Master Tire, Mark Weber, 132.902#*

+Indicates Increased Speed
#Indicates New Qualifier
*The U3 is the only piston powered boat in the fleet. They qualify at 120 mph.
The turbine engines At 130 mph
Qualification Records:
Tri-Cities 2.5 mi course, 169.055 Smokin’ Joe’s, Mark Tate 1995
World 2.5 mi course record 172.166, Miss Budweiser, Chip Hanauer, San Diego, 1995


Budweiser Columbia Cup with Wings

Tri-Cities, WA, Sunday, July 26, 1998, 6:00 p.m. - - Dave Villwock of Auburn, Wa. Returned to the scene of his near fatal crash one-year ago and cruised to victory in the 1998 edition of the Budweiser Columbia Cup on the Columbia River here today. With temperatures reaching nearly 110 degrees over 100,000 fans cheered the Miss Budweiser to victory over the hometown favorite Miss Tri-Cities driven by Nate Brown.

For Villwock it was the fourth straight victory of the Ralphs UHRA Thunder Tour presented by Las Vegas and gave him an overwhelming lead in the high points championship going into next Sunday's race in Kelowna, BC. Villwock's win in the five-lap finale capped a perfect afternoon which saw him sweep three straight heats. The Budweiser margin of victory was less than 200 yards over Brown with Jimmy King finishing third in his season debut behind the wheel of Miss E-LAM.

Michigans' King was nearly perfect for the day recording two heat victories and a second prior to his strong final finish.

Another stand-out of the afternoon was Dr. Ken Muscatel who finished fourth ahead of Steve David in Jim Harvey's Miss Molson.

Perhaps the biggest challenge to Villwock disappeared prior to the start of the final when Mitch Evans momentarily lost power in the Appian Jeronimo. The Jeronimo which qualified second and looked strong all afternoon was never able to make up the lost ground and finished a distant fifth in the championship heat.

In earlier heat action Jimmy King came from behind on the last lap to drive U-16 Miss E-LAM to a victory over Mitch Evans in U-20 Appian Jeronimo in heat 1A. It was a career first unlimited victory for both King and the E-Lam boat. Mark Evans in U-100 PICO American Dream barely held off Steve David in Miss Molson for third.

In heat 1B it was Dave Villwock in Miss Budweiser notching yet another heat victory with Nate Brown in hometown favorite Miss Tri-Cities coming from behind on the last lap to beat Ken Muscatel for second

In the second set of three lap preliminary heats, Villwock utilized a near perfect start to go wire-to-wire and win heat 2B in the Miss Bud over Jimmy King with a vastly improved U-2 Miss Molson driven by David finishing third. Again lack of power hampered the PICO and Mark Evans was never really a threat in finishing fourth ahead of Nate Brown in U-8 Miss Tri-Cities.

Heat 2B saw Mitch Evans overcome earlier handling maladies in Jeronimo to score an impressive wire-to-wire victory. Rookie Mike Weber finished a strong second in U-9 Cost-Less Carpet with Jerry Hale in Bob Fendler's Honolulu based U-19 Easter Seals in third and Muscatel fourth. U-3 Master Tire, the piston powered boat of Ed Cooper with Mark Weber driving was fifth.

Villwock went to the lead at the start of heat 3A and was never seriously challenged mainly due to the fact that Mitch Evans and Jeronimo lost his rear stabilizer wing on the second lap and fell back. Evan's misfortune allowed Brown in Miss Tri-Cities to take second spot. Fourth was U-2.

King and E-LAM continued a sensational run by winning heat 3B in spetacular fashion. That made it two wins and a second for the afternoon for the boat owned by the Ellstrom family of Ballard, Washington. In one of the tightest races of the day Dr. Muscatel held off Mark Evans in PICO by less than a boat length for second place. Mike Weber finished a close fourth.

In the Provisional heat Jerry Hale was a surprise winner when bad luck continued to plague the PICO American Dream and Mark Evans exploded a motor just past the starting line. Rick Christensen finished second in U7 Mr. United Furniture Warehouse.

Heat 2a 1:00
U# Boat Driver Sp Pt.
U1 Miss Budweiser Dave Villwock 144.354 800
U16 Miss E-Lam Plus Jimmy King 141.509 700
U2 Miss Molson Steve David 137.293 450
U100 PICO American Dream N. Mark Evans 134.860 338
U8 Robt. Young Suites & Llumar Pres. Miss Tri-Cities Nate Brown 128.459 427
U7 Mr. United Furniture Warehouse Rick Christensen 125.619 222

Fast Lap#1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock, 148.706

Heat 2b 1:30
U20 Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans 146.086 700
U9 Cost-Less Carpet Mike Weber 136.540 427
U14 Miss Jack-Sons Sports Bar Ken Muscatel 129.520 450
U3 Master Tire Mark Weber 119.284 169
U19 Easter Seals Jerry Hale Dnf 169
Fast Lap#2, U20 Appian Jeronimo, Mitch Evans, 148.950
 
Unlimited Heat 3 Results
Heat 3a 2:30 P.M.
U# Boat Driver Sp. Pts.
U1 Miss Budweiser Dave Villwock 145.750 1200
U8 Robt. Young Suites & Llumar Pres. Miss Tri-Cities Nate Brown 143.924 727
U20 Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans 142.804 925
U2 Miss Molson Steve David 133.915 925
U3 Master Tire Mark Weber 116.193 296
U19 Easter Seals Jerry Hale Dnf 169
Fast Lap#1, Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock, 152.207

Heat 3b 3:00 P.M.
U16 Miss E-Lam Plus Jimmy King 146.336 1100
U14 Miss Jack-Sons Sports Bar Ken Muscatel 141.911 750
U100 PICO American Dream N. Mark Evans 140.962 563
U9 Cost-Less Carpet Mike Weber 134.896 596
U7 Mr. United Furniture Rick Christensen 108.925 349
Fast Lap#1,U16, Miss E-Lam Plus, Jimmy King, 148.979

Final Heat 4:10 P.M.
U# Boat Driver Sp. Pts.
U1 Miss Budweiser Dave Villwock 140.530 1600
U8 Robert Young Suites & Llumar Presents Miss Tri-Cities Nate Brown 137.725 1027
U16 Miss E-Lam Plus Jimmy King 135.425 1325
U14 Miss Jack-Sons Sports Bar Ken Muscatel 133.606 919
U2 Miss Molson Steve David 131.817 746
U20 Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans 126.060 1020
U19 Easter Seals Jerry Hale 119.571 169
Fast Lap#1, Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock, 149.214

*All other boats either did not finish or or were disqualified


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Leslie Field, 1999