Keeping Pace

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2010, 6:53 A.M.

Big Fast Colorful Field Set For 2010 Season Opener

The field gets the 2009 Madison Unlimited Hydroplane event underway. (Photo courtesy of Chris Denslow)
The field gets the 2009 Madison Unlimited Hydroplane event underway. (Photo courtesy of Chris Denslow)

According to H1 Unlimited Historian Fred Farley, the last time 12 boats appeared at the annual Madison event was in 1988 and only 11 of those qualified to compete.  You have to go back 42 years, to 1968, when 14 boats were on hand, to find a larger field

Courtesy: H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series Media Relations

The field of 12 Unlimited Hydroplane racing teams planning to compete for the Lucas Oil Indiana Governor’s Cup July 2 – 4 in Madison will be one of the biggest and fastest in the history of the Madison Regatta.

With the addition of eye-catching new color schemes on the U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance,   U-37 Miss Peters & May and the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, it also promises to be one of the most colorful.

According to H1 Unlimited Historian Fred Farley, the last time 12 boats appeared at the annual Madison event was in 1988 and only 11 of those qualified to compete.  You have to go back 42 years, to 1968, when 14 boats were on hand, to find a larger field.

Madison Regatta President Crystal McHargue says, “We are very excited about the big field of unlimiteds we will have in Madison for the Lucas Oil Indiana Governor’s Cup.  We also have 12 or 13 Grand Nationals and National Modifieds coming, so the pits will be full.

 McHargue added, “The Corps of Engineers is working with us daily on the river level and debris control and we feel we will have the best conditions possible July 4th weekend for the Regatta.

The field will include the home town favorite U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, driven by defending National High Point Champion Steve David.   The boat is owned by the community of Madison.  The team has given the home town fans and “owners” a lot to cheer about in recent seasons and is looking to “three peat” as national high point champions.

Defending Madison Regatta Champion Dave Villwock, also top qualifier in 2009, will be representing a new sponsor and country.  The former U-16 Ellstrom’s Elam Plus is now the U-96 Spirit of Qatar and sports Team Qatar’s white, maroon and blue color scheme.

 

Jeff Bernard in the U-5 Formulaboats.com and  team mate J Michael Kelly in the U-7 Graham Trucking hope to pick up where they finished the 2009 season, posting wins in Evansville and in the inaugural running of the UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar that concluded the 2009 season respectively.

 Brian Perkins, driver of Greg and Brian O’Farrell’s U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance, will have a brand new ride.  Over the off-season, the team acquired a newer, lighter hull which is expected to make the team much more competitive.  The boat has been impressive in pre-season testing.

 JW Myers is the new driver of Billy Schumacher Racing’s U-37, which has title sponsorship from Peters & May, the company responsible for shipping the unlimited fleet to the Middle East and a new “neon chartreuse” paint job that will be one of the brightest on the water.

 

Dr. Ken Muscatel will be on hand with the U-25 Superior Racing, but will not be in his familiar role as owner-driver.  5 liter world record holder Jon Zimmerman will be making his unlimited debut as driver of the U-25.

Muscatel commented, “I am not retiring from driving.  I just want to see what it’s  like to manage the team from the shore and watch someone else do the driving.”

Muscatel will share the driver’s seat with Zimmerman all season.  The doctor will be back in the boat for the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit and the Seafair Race in Seattle.  Zimmerman will get more seat time during the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup.

Nate and Kip Brown will also share driving duties in Our Gang Racing’s U-17 in 2010.  Kip will be doing the driving in Madison with the team racing for the O’Brien Law Firm.  Kip’s uncle Nate will be back in the seat for the Gold Cup in Detroit.

Evansville, Indiana’s Ed Cooper will bring his popular, piston powered U-3 back to Madison and will be another local favorite with veteran Jimmy King doing the driving.  Mechanical issues at the worst possible moments cost the team a great 2009 season.  King and the “big red turbinator” can be expected to give the turbine field all they can handle.

2009 Rookie of the Year Mike Webster returns to Madison with the U-22 Miss Broadway, after starting his unlimited career a year ago at this event.  And, at the other end of the experience spectrum, veteran Greg Hopp returns driving Leland Unlimited’s low profile U-100.

Adding to the size and speed of the field is the return of Dave Bartush’s U-13 Spirit of Detroit to the unlimited fleet.  After sitting out the 2009 season, the Detroit team returns with veteran limited racer Cal Phipps taking over as driver.

H1 Unlimited Chairman Sam Cole summarized the series season opener by saying, “The Lucas Oil Indiana Governors Cup should be the start of one of our most exciting seasons of racing ever.  We have more teams competing and more teams with sponsorship and equipment capable of running out front. We have everything in place for a great season for our owners, drivers and fans.”

 

 After an off season full of anticipation, its finally time to go racing again,” concluded Cole. “And there’s no better place to start a great season than in Madison, Indiana, home of one of our great organizing committees and some of the best fans we have anywhere.  Between now and our second trip to Doha, Qatar in November, we’re going to see a lot of excitement on the water.  Let’s go boat racing!”




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.






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