Monday, October 11, 1999
He brings Miss Budweiser is in
first place two years after losing
two fingers in a boat accident
Final resultsBy Ben Henry
Special to the Star-Bulletin
Dave Villwock proved that you only need one finger to say you're No. 1.
Miss Budweiser's Villwock, the driver of yesterday's winner of the 10th annual Hydrofest at Pearl Harbor, also proved that you don't need 10 fingers to win an Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Association national championship.
In 1997, while racing in Washington state, he lost two fingers when his boat was blown over and parts of the capsule broke and severed his hand.
He sat out the rest of the '97 season, but miraculously came back in '98.
The veteran driver has had his share of rough water.
"Dave's a tremendous racer," said York International U10 driver Mark Weber, winner of last year's Hydrofest. "He has a lot of drive -- I give him credit for that. I'm glad his racing career did not end because of that accident. I would not want anyone's career to end that way."
With yesterday's win, Villwock finished the season as the UHRA's national point leader.
Miss Budweiser had already wrapped up the national championship before the race, so much of the motivation for Villwock was to get his first win in Hawaii. "I just wanted to win here," he said. "I have never won here, and it starts to become like Dale Earnhardt trying to win Daytona. It was a big race for us."
'Dave's a tremendous racer.
... I'm glad his racing career did not
end because of that accident. I would
not want anyone's career
to end that way..'
1998 HYDROFEST WINNER
Weber, whose efforts yesterday secured him second place for the season in driver point standings, captured the lane 1 position after two days of point qualifying heading into yesterday's final heat.
"They have a good boat here, and they showed it," Villwock said. "He got lane position, which was a given, but he didn't look like he had the boat speed he would have liked to have had at the start."
Despite York International's prime placement, Budweiser's overwhelming start was too much for the crew from Las Vegas.
Miss Budweiser captured a lead at the start of the race it would not relinquish, when boats have five minutes to generate a running start to the starting line.
That's when Budweiser blew past all boats.
Ironically, it was Budweiser's start that cost the crew last year's Hydrofest title. Budweiser jumped the gun - or crossed the starting line too early - costing it a penalty of one lap.
"I was pressing last year trying to do everything I could to win, and I jumped the gun, and that cost me," Villwock said. "This time I was in an even tougher situation -- I couldn't be in a lane other than lane five or six -- so I had to get it at top speed, and that was my only chance."
Waikiki Trolley, which is owned by Honolulu resident Bob Fendler, finished fifth in the final heat.
At Pearl Harbor
J.N. CHEVROLET HYDROFEST
Unlimited final heat results
Boat Driver Speed Points Miss Budweiser U1 Dave Villwock 149 1,369 York International U10 Mark Weber 145 1,400 Outrigger LLumar U8 Jimmy King 140 925 Freddies Club U2 Mark Tate 137 1,094 Waikiki Trolley U19 Jerry Hale 130 821 Eagle Hardware U9 Mike Hanson 128 920