2000 Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio
Ohio River, Evansville, Indiana, June 25, 2000

June 20, 2000

Evansville Thunder on the Ohio Preview

(Evansville, IN) - The Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series continues this weekend in Evansville, Ind., with the annual Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio. Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock, coming off a dominant effort at the season-opening event in Lake Havasu, Ariz., is the four-time defending champion at the Evansville event and currently holds a 385-point lead in the championship battle.

Villwock and the Miss Budweiser scored an impressive victory at the Mohave Unlimited Hydrofest at Lake Havasu. But, as a result, they will be the first to feel the pinch of the UHRA's new fuel restriction rule. The Miss Budweiser will compete throughout the Evansville weekend with a fuel flow reduced to 4.2 gallons per minute (GPM) instead of the standard 4.3 GPM. The reduction in fuel is expected to cost nearly 100 horsepower.

A number of drivers are expected to challenge Villwock at Evansville, including Mark Tate, Mark Weber and Greg Hopp. Tate, in the U-2 Freddie's Club Casino, is currently in second place in championship points after a strong second place finish at Lake Havasu. Close behind Tate are Weber, in the U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning, and Hopp, in the U-100 Miss Project X. "These three guys all drive hard and have a lot of experience," said Villwock.

Rookie Charley Wiggins will make his Unlimited hydroplane debut at Evansville in the U-6 Miss Madison. Though a rookie in the Unlimited class, Wiggins has enjoyed considerable success throughout his career racing boats and has been chosen to drive the world's only community-owned Unlimited hydroplane and the oldest racing team on the Unlimited circuit. "I am really excited to begin this season and it's a great honor to represent the fans and the city of Madison," said Wiggins.

Jimmy King, in the U-8 Llumar Window Film, will also make the Evansville event his first race of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series. The U-8, owned by Bill Wurster, will be racing in its 20th consecutive season.

Mitch Evans returns to drive the Evansville-based U-3 for Ed Cooper Sr. and Jr., the only piston-powered Hydro on the Unlimited tour. "We have a long racing tradition with Mitch from when he drove for us from 1988-1997, and we look forward to have him back racing in our U-3," said Ed Cooper, Jr.

Practice and qualifying for the eleven-boat field will begin for the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio Friday, June 23 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, June 25. The race will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 8.

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June 20, 2000

New Miss Budweiser at Evansville

(Evansville, IN) - The defending Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Association champions Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser are in a familiar position, atop the point standings, heading into the second race of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series, the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio at Evansville, IN, June 23-25.

Villwock and the Miss Budweiser team are looking to build on the momentum they gained at the first race of the season in which they were top qualifiers, won each of their three heats and were victorious in the final. "We would really like to duplicate our efforts from Lake Havasu, but we know as the season continues, the competition will get stronger and stronger," said Villwock.

The Miss Budweiser team could be at a disadvantage at the Evansville race because they have decided to unveil their new Miss Budweiser hull (T-6). "It will be a roll of the dice with this new boat," said Miss Budweiser Crew Chief, Mark Smith. "We are not quite sure what to expect. We will just have to wait and see what she can accomplish in race conditions. You never really know about a new boat until you race it."

Villwock will be aiming for his fifth win in a row at the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio at Evansville. He won the 1996 race in the U-100 PICO and the last three years driving the Miss Budweiser. Bernie Little's success is even better with his Miss Budweiser capturing eight out the last ten races held at Evansville. "Obviously, we have had great success at this race, but with the new fuel restriction rule being enforced on us this weekend, we will be at a disadvantage," said Villwock. "Because of our victory at Lake Havasu, we will be restricted to a fuel flow of 4.2 gallons per minute (GPM) compared to the competition being at 4.3 GPM. This makes it difficult to gain points for the championship since we will be restricted for fuel in qualifying, all heats and the finals, I know the Miss Budweiser crew will do a great job in preparing the boat despite this disadvantage."

Villwock and the Miss Budweiser team lead the driver and boat standings with 1640 points, respectively. Mark Tate in the U-2 Freddie's Club Casino is second with 1255 points followed by Mark Weber in the U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning with 1137 points. Points are awarded for qualifying rank and finishing place in each heat of competition and the finals.

Practice and qualifying will begin for the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio Friday, June 23 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, June 25. The race will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 8.

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June 27, 2000

Evansville Report and Results

(Evansville, IN) - Dave Villwock and Miss Budweiser increased their O'Doul's National High Points lead with their second win of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series at the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio Sunday at Evansville.

The victory was Villwock's fifth consecutive triumph at the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio. Miss Budweiser was the top qualifier in the ten boat Unlimited field with an average lap speed of 155.858 mph and won all three of their preliminary heats. "It's a great feeling to come to a place where we have had success and to produce results once again," said Villwock.

Mark Tate in the U-2 Freddie's Club Casino finished second and Mark Weber in the U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning finished third. Fourth place went to Jimmy King in the U-8 LLumar Window Film.

Mark Tate and Mark Weber once again finished second and third for the second time this season. "Tate and Weber are both veteran drivers and never leave anything on the dock," said Villwock. "They have been consistently battling us throughout the years and they always challenge me at every race."

Rookie Charley Wiggins in the U-6 Miss Madison, Jimmy King in the U-8 LLumar Window Film and Mitch Evans in the U-3 Cooper's Express all made their 2000 season debuts at the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio. King finished fourth and Evans finished fifth but unfortunately, Wiggins did not make the finals.

Greg Hopp gave Fred Leland's U-100 Miss Znetix a good ride to an apparent second place finish at Evansville only to be disqualified for a fuel violation. Hopp, who had an outstanding rookie season in 1999, had won a preliminary heat and pulled a pair of seconds prior to the finals disqualification.

The annual battle for the Indiana's Governor's Cup will resume this weekend (July 1-2) in Madison, Ind., at the Belterra Resort & Casino Indiana Governor's Cup, the third event on the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series. Charley Wiggins will attempt to pilot the hometown favorite Miss Madison to a win in his second race as an Unlimited driver.

"I am really excited and it's a great honor to drive the Miss Madison," said Wiggins. "It's a tremendous opportunity to drive for the city of Madison and for the fans. The fans in Madison are some of the greatest boat racing fans I have witnessed. They get behind the boat and yell and cheer while she races on the water. It's obvious that they follow the boat and are very proud of her long tradition. I am honored to represent them and the city of Madison and look forward to hopefully representing them well."

Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock, who won the Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio last weekend in Evansville, Ind., and the Mohave Unlimited Hydrofest in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. in May, has the momentum heading into the race in Madison.

Practice and qualifying will begin for the Belterra Resort & Casino Indiana Governor's Cup Saturday, July 1 with the finals scheduled for Sunday, July 2. The race will be televised on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 15.

*       Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio Results:
1. U-1 Miss Budweiser, driven by Dave Villwock.
2. U-2 Freddie's Club Casino, driven by Mark Tate.
3. U-10 York Heating & Air Conditioning, driven by Mark Weber.
4. U-8 LLumar Window Film, driven by Jimmy King.
5. U-3 Master Tire, driven by Mitch Evans.
6. U-9 Jones Racing, driven by Mike Hanson.
7. U-100 Miss Znetix, driven by Greg Hopp.
   U-5 Miss Appian Jeronimo, driven by George Stratton.
   U-6 Miss Madison, driven by Charlie Wiggins.
   U-25 Miss Freei, driven by Dr, Ken Muscatel.


O'Doul's National High Points Standings
(June 26, 2000)

Boat Championship Points

Pos.    Number          Boat Name
Points
1       U-1             MISS BUDWEISER (2)                      3280
2       U-2             FREDDIE'S CLUB CASINO                   2279
3       U-10            YORK HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING         2190
4       U-100           MISS ZNETIX                             2038
5       U-5             APPIAN JERONIMO                         1271
6       U-9             JONES RACING                            1148
7       U-28            NEW KID IN TOWN                         750
8       U-8             LLUMAR WINDOW FILM                      746
9       U-25            MISS FREEI                              732
10      U-3             MASTER TIRE                             635
11      U-6             MISS MADISON                            404
12      U-16            MISS ELAM PLUS                          313
        

Driver Championship Points

Pos.    Number           Driver Name            Points
1       U-1              DAVE VILLWOCK (2)      3280
2       U-2              MARK TATE              2279
3       U-10             MARK WEBER             2190
4       U-100            GREG HOPP              2038
5       U-5              GEORGE STRATTON        1271
6       U-9              MIKE HANSON            1148
7       U-28             JERRY HALE             750
8       U-8              JIMMY KING             746
9       U-25             DR. KEN MUSCATEL       732
10      U-6              CHARLEY WIGGINS        404
11      U-3              MITCH EVANS            391
12      U-16             MARK EVANS             313
13      U-3              MIKE WEBER             254

*Race wins in parenthesis

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Leslie Field, 2000