1999 Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio
Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana June 27, 1999

SUNDAY REPORT (June 27, 1999):


Evansville, IN (June 27, 1999):  Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser gambled twice and won the one that counted Sunday to take the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio at Evansville.

Second place went to Mark Weber of St Clair Shores, MI in the U-10 York International followed by rookie Greg Hopp of Seattle in the U-15 Miss WIKY.

Finishing fourth was the Miss Madison, driven by Todd Yarling. Both the York International and the Miss Madison were returning to competition after major accidents in last week’s event in Barrie, Ontario.

Chip Hanauer and the Miss Pico were penalized one lap for jumping the gun on the start of the final championship heat and placed fifth.

Earlier in the day, Villwock and Miss Budweiser were penalized one lap for jumping the gun in Heat 2A. 

“Chip got on the gas just a split second before I did and he was over by a boat length, maybe two,” said Villwock.   The competition is getting really tight and as a result everyone is squeezing the clock to get the lead on the start,” said Villwock. “I jumped the gun in my second heat along with two other boats (U-20 Appian Jeronimo and U-10 York International). We are all going to jump a few times this year, it just goes with being aggressive.”

“I wondered why Dave wasn’t up there alongside Chip at the start,” said Miss Budweiser team owner Bernie Little. “Then, when we realized that Chip had jumped, we knew why. These guys are really charging the starting line.”

The winning speed for Villwock and the Miss Budweiser was 138.557 miles per hour.

Next stop on the 1999 Ralph’s Unlimited Thunder Tour is the Budweiser Indiana Governor’s Cup at Madison on July 2-4. 

This is Dave Villwock's second consecutive victory. Because of  a new rule established during the off-season, Villwock will not be allowed to start in lane one for any heat (including the final) during next weekend's race in Madison, IN.


Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st U-1 Miss Budweiser Dave Villwock 138.557 400
2nd U-10 YORK International Mark Weber 133.408 300
3rd U-15 104.1 FM Miss WIKY Greg Hopp 125.767 225
4th U-6 Miss Madison Todd Yarling 122.983 169
5th U-100 Miss Pico
One lap penalty for jumping gun
Chip Hanauer 140.493 127
   U-3 Master Tire Mike Weber DNF   

Fast Lap:     Lap 1, Chip Hanauer, 146.648 mph

O'Doul's Unlimited National High Points
Boat # Boat Name Points
U-1 Miss Budweiser 4,645
U-100 Miss Pico 3,698
U-15 104.1 FM Miss WIKY 3,191
U-10 YORK International 2,703
U-3 Master Tire 1,544
U-2 Arc Construction 1,469
U-6 Miss Madison 1,455
U-9 Jones Racing 1,432
U-20 Appian Jeronimo 1,153
U-16 Miss Elam Plus 1,099
U-8 Llumar Window Film 1063


Dave Villwock 4,645
Chip Hanauer 3,698
Greg Hopp 3,191
Mark Weber 2,703
Mike Weber 1,544
Steve David 1,469
Todd Yarling 1,455
Mike Hanson 1,432
Mitch Evans 1,153
Jimmy King 1,099
Nate Brown 1,063


Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed (mph) Points
1st UL-10 Earl's Performance Charley Wiggins 111.923 400
2nd UL-16 ALAMO Bo Schide 109.165 300
3rd UL-72 Impact Equipments Greg Hopp 102.046 225
4th UL-110 Miss Compair/Coleman Eng. Randy Haas 98.346 168
5th UL-23 APEX Laser/River House Cal Phipps 74.881 127
   UL-15 www.LadyspyPI.com Jerry Hopp DNF   
Fast Lap: Lap 3, Charley Wiggins, 112.612

Line up for the 4:10pm Championship:

U-100 - Miss Pico - 1,200 points
U-1 - Miss Budweiser - 1,025 points
U-15 - 104.1 FM Miss WIKY - 750 points
U-6 - Miss Madison - 569 points
U-10 - York International - 525 points
U-2 - Arc Construction - 427 point
TRAILER: U-3 Master Tire

The following have withdrawn from the Championship Heat:

U-8 - Llumar Window Film with hull damage
U-20 - Appian Jeronimo - not clear on reason
U-9 - Jones Racing - not clear on reason

Heat 3B:

Heat 3B saw Nate Brown in the Llumar Window Film across the start line first but the Dave Villwock in the Miss Budweiser had the lead by end of the first corner.  Caught in tight quarters behind Miss Budweiser was Mitch Evans in the Appian Jeronimo who didn't make it out of the corner with the boat running. 

Greg Hopp and Todd Yarling both finished and gained valuable points as the calculators are now busy determining who will make the six boat Championship Final based on overall points.

Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st U-1 Miss Budweiser Dave Villwock 142.434 400
2nd U-8 Llumare Window Film Nate Brown 134.139 300
3rd U-15 104.1 FM Miss Wiky Greg Hopp 131.258 225
4th U-6 Miss Madison Todd  Yarling 119.851 169
   U-20 Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans DNF   
Fast Lap:


Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st U-100 Miss Pico Chip Hanauer 141.408 400
2nd U-2 Arc Construction Steve David 137.085 300
3rd U-10 YORK International Mark Weber 134.627 225
4th U-9 Jones Racing Mike Hanson 124.781 169
5th U-3 Master Tire Mike Weber 100.883 127
Fast Lap: Lap 1, Chip Hanauer, 146.190mph


Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st U-100 Miss PICO Chip Hanauer 142.398 400
2nd U-8 Llumar Window Film Nate Brown 137.632 300
3rd U-15 Miss Wickie Greg Hopp 135.595 225
4th U-9 Jones Racing Mike Hanson 124.207 169
5th U-3 Master Tire Mike Weber 115.473 127
Fast Lap:     Lap 1, Chip Hanauer,  147.167mph


Three boats jumped the gun in Heat 2A with Mitch Evans in Appian Jeronimo leading the way.  The extra laps gave the checkered flag to the Miss Madison, who was finally able to make a start after using the Commissioner's Option to gain entry into today's racing.

Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st U-6 Miss Madison Todd Yarling 126.923 400
2nd U-2 Arc Construction Steve David 116.860 300
3rd U-1 Miss Budweiser
one lap penalty - jumped gun
Dave Villwock 148.425 225
4th U-20 Appian Jeronimo
one lap penalty - jumped gun
Mitch Evans 134.893 169
5th U-10 YORK International Mark Weber DNF
Fast Lap:


The Unlimited Lights began today's racing where they left off yesterday, side by side, especially the two "yellow" boats, Bo Schide's UL-16 Alamo and Charley Wiggins'UL-10 Earl's Performance Products. Deck-to-deck during the entire three laps, Bo Schide kept Alamo's nose out front, but not by much.

Cal Phipps in the UL-23 APEX Laser managed to take the lead at the start of the race and kept it a three boat race through the first two laps.  UL-72 Impact Equipment also made a gallant charge towards the front with Randy Haas in the Comp Air and Steve Kuhr keeping things interesting behind him.  Kuhr did not finish the heat and Wiggins hit a buoy on lap two which resulted in a one minute penalty.

Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st UL-16 Alamo Bo Schide 111.495 400
2nd UL-23 APEX Laser presents River House Cal Phipps 106.981 300
3rd UL-72 Impact Equipment Greg Hopp 100.056 225
4th UL-111 Miss Compair / Coleman Engineering Randy Hass 97.503 169
5th UL-10 Earl's Performance Products
one minute penalty for hitting a buoy
Charley Wiggins 107.630 127
6th UL-317 The Irishman Steve Kuhr DNF   
Fast Lap:  Lap Three, Bo Schide, 112.657mph


Dave Villwock showed Greg Hopp around the race course in Heat 1B this morning.  Hopp managed to capture lane one for the start of the race but Villwock swiftly took the lead and easily held it through the three laps of racing. 

Hopp gallantly held second place with Mitch Evans taking third place and Mike Weber in Ed Cooper's U-3 Master Tire finishing fourth.

Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st U-1 Miss Budweiser Dave Villwock 140.978 400
2nd U-15 104.2 FM Miss WIKY Greg Hopp 135.147 300
3rd U-20 Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans 131.801 225
4th U-3 Master Tire Mike Weber 115.354 169
   U-6 Miss Madison Todd Yarling Did Not Start
Fast Lap: Lap 1, Dave Villwock, 154.308 mph


It was a drag race all around the Ohio River this morning as Mark Weber and Chip Hanauer dueled side-by-side through three laps in today's first heat of racing.   Mark, in lane two, hit the start line first and held the lead during the first lap. 

Throughout lap two the lead diced back and forth.  Hanauer, on the inside, finally got a boat length lead on Mark Weber  in the final turn of the race and held Weber off as he crossed the finish line first. 

Weber ran the fastest lap of the heat at 143.190 mph on the final lap.

Place Boat # Boat Name Driver Speed Points
1st U-100 Miss Pico Chip Hanauer 141.991 400
2nd U-10 York International Mark Weber 141.551 300
3rd U-8 Llumar Window Film Nate  Brown 127.152 225
4th U-9 Jones Racing Michael Hanson 125.594 169
5th U-2 Arc Construction
one lap penalty for hitting a buoy
Steve David 119.026 127
Fast Lap:  Lap 3, Mark Weber, 143.190 mph


1. Miss Madison has taken the Commissioner's Option and will be running in Heat 1B at 11:30 this morning. 


Unlimited Light Heat 1 Results:

UL# / Driver / Team  / Speed (mph)

UL-16  BO SCHIDE       ALAMO                              105.001
UL-10  CHARLEY WIGGINS EARL'S PERFORMANCE                 101.098
GNH317 STEVEN KUHR     THE IRISHMAN                        94.134
UL-15  JERRY HOPP      www.LadyspyPI.com                   79.819
UL-72  GREG HOPP       IMPACT EQUIPEMENT                   DNF

Fast Lap: Bo Schide  ALAMO 107.351mph

Unlimited Qualification Ladder:

Boat Number Boat Name Driver Qualifying speed (mph) Comment
U-1 Miss Budweiser (T-5) Dave Villwock 162.701   
U-1 Miss Budweiser (T-3) Dave Villwock 157.694   
U-100  Miss Pico (98-2) Chip Hanauer 152.591 Speed Increase
U-100  Miss Pico (98-1) Chip Hanauer 149.124 N-2 Violation
U-10 York International Mark Weber 148.350 Speed Increase
U-15 104.1 FM Miss WIKY Greg Hopp 146.586 Speed Increase
U-8 Llumar Window Film Nate Brown 142.146   
U-9  Jones Racing Mike Hanson 141.771 Speed Increase
U-2 Arc Construction Steve David 141.102 N-2 Violation
U-20 Appian Jeronimo Mitch Evans 135.387   
U-3 Master Tire Mike Weber 123.616   
U-14 Miss Northwest Unlimited Ken Muscatel Pass   
U-6  Miss Madison Todd Yarling  (not in pits)   

Charley Wiggins in the UL-10 Earl's Performance Products Unlimited Light just ran a test lap of 120.321 miles per hour! Given the fact that his boat is automotive powered ... if he were an Unlimited...  where the qualifying minimum is 120 mph... he'd be qualified for racing with the Unlimiteds this weekend.


Ten of the eleven Unlimited hydroplanes schedule to compete in the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio are  in the pits as of 4:00 pm Central time.  The U-6 Miss Madison has not arrived on site.

Several boats have tested on the Ohio River today...  the first one on the water was Dave Villwock (U-1) who ran a lap of 161.562mph.  Following is the order of testing today with fastest lap speed (mph).

Testing Speeds (mph):

U-9 - 137.15
U-1 - 157.7
U-2  - 159.670
U-9 - 139.9
U-3 -  89.4
U-20 - 134.4
U-100  - 145.8

U-14: While on the water today - it was only so they could move his boat trailer into place ... team is working non-stop in the pits as Dr. Ken Muscatel hopes to qualify today so he can be the one to race his brand new boat for the first time... if they are unable to make the 4:30 to 7:00 pm test session then Dr. Ken will put someone else into his new boat to qualify so he can race on Sunday.  Dr. Ken is flying back to Seattle this evening in order to participate in the Seafair activities in Seattle on Saturday. He's expected back into Evansville late Saturday night.


As for Unlimited Lights, we have the UL-23 Apex Laser and UL16 Alamo in the pits. The UL10 has been spotted in the  Evansville area... Total UL boat count should be eight for this event.

UL-10  Charley Wiggins  Earl's Performance Products 
UL-15  Jerry Hopp       Ladyspy.pl.com 
UL-16  Bo Schide        Alamo 
UL-23  Cal Phipps       Apex Laser presents River House
UL-72  Phil Bononcini   Impact Equipment
UL-102 Scott McGregor   Propulsion
UL-110 Randy Haas       Miss CompAir
GNH317 Steve Kuhr       The Irishman



9 - 10 am - Testing Session - Unlimiteds
10 - 11 am - Qualifying Session B - Unlimiteds
11:15 - 11:45 am - Unlimited Drivers Autograph Party
12 - 12:30 pm - Lights practice
12:30 - 2:30 pm - Qualifying Session C - Unlimiteds
3:30 pm - Unlimited Driver's Meeting
3:30 pm - Unlimited Light - Heat 1A
4:00 pm - Unlimited Light - Heat 1B
4:30 pm - Unlimited Light - Heat 2A
5:00 pm - Unlimited Light - Heat 2B


8 - 9:00 am - Unlimited testing
11:00 am - Unlimiteds - Heat 1A
11:30 am - Unlimiteds - Heat 1B
11:45 - 12 Noon - Unlimited Lights Semi Final Race
12:30 pm - Unlimiteds Heat 2A
1:00 pm - Unlimiteds Heat 2B
2:30 pm - Unlimiteds Heat 3A
3:00 pm - Unlimiteds Heat 3B
3:10 - 3:25 pm - Unlimited Lights Championship Final
3:40 pm - Unlimited Provisional Heat

Dave Villwock Leads Points; Chip Hanauer Returns; Greg Hopp Is Hot; And More

The 1999 Ralph's Unlimited Thunder Tour continues this weekend in Evansville, Ind., at the annual Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio. Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock, coming off a dominant effort this past weekend in Barrie, Ont., is the three-time defending champion at the Evansville event  and currently holds an 839-point lead in the championship battle.

Chip Hanauer, the winningest driver in Evansville history with seven victories to his credit, returns to the Hydros circuit in the Miss Pico entry after a two-and-a-half year absence on the tour. Hanauer won the season-opening Hydros race in Lake Havasu, Ariz.  Since his unlimited debut in 1976, he has amassed seven National Championships and ten Gold Cups, including a record seven straight from 1982-88.

Hanauer currently holds the following pre-restrictor records at the two-mile Evansville course:

Qualification lap: 165.975 mph in Miss Budweiser (1993)
Competition lap: 156.713 mph in Miss Budweiser (1993)
6-mile heat: 154.185 mph in Miss Budweiser (1993)
10-mile heat: 146.904 mph in Miss Budweiser (1993)
28-mile race: 144.869 mph in Miss Budweiser (1992)

Expected to give Villwock and Hanauer a challenge in Evansville is rookie Greg Hopp, who is currently third in Hydros points.  He finished third in Lake Havasu and fourth in Barrie.

York International driver Mark Weber, currently fourth in points, will be racing in Evansville despite an accident last weekend in Barrie.  The team reports that they will be working non-stop to repair the boat in time for testing on Friday.

Mike Weber, driving the Evansville-based U3 for Ed Cooper Jr. and Sr., will be looking to solidify his fifth-place points standings with the only piston-powered Hydro on the unlimited tour.

Testing and qualifying will get underway on Friday, June 25 and continue through raceday on June 27.

Website: http://www.evvthunderfest.org/

(Republished from Hydros™; text and images ©Hydros™; used by permission)

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