VICTORY DANCE: Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison driver Steve David has had plenty to celebrate the last three seasons on Lake Washington. He’s won the Albert Lee Cup at Seafair three straight years — the 2010 race, 2011 race and 2012 pictured — and will race to tie Bill Muncey’s career-best fourth consecutive Seattle wins this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Owen Blauman)
VICTORY DANCE: Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison driver Steve David has had plenty to celebrate the last three seasons on Lake Washington. He’s won the Albert Lee Cup at Seafair three straight years — the 2010 race, 2011 race and 2012 pictured — and will race to tie Bill Muncey’s career-best fourth consecutive Seattle wins this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Owen Blauman)
When Steve David won his third consecutive Seattle Seafair trophy in 2012 he joined Dave Villwock and the late Bill Muncey as one of just three drivers in the 61-year history of the event to complete the three-peat.

Villwock, the sport's winningest driver with 67 career victories, added 10 Seafair trophies to his mantle while Muncey, second all time with 62 wins, won nine times on Lake Washington.

Now the winningest active driver with 18 victories, David has just four wins in Seattle but they've all come in the last six years. And by adding a fifth win this weekend in his Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison he can join Muncey as the only men to ever win Seafair four consecutive seasons.

"That would certainly be an exclamation point in my unlimited career, tying the late Bill Muncey," David told the Seattle Times.

An 11-boat field will be on hand at the Stan Sayres Pits today when qualifying begins for this weekend's Albert Lee Appliance Cup at Seafair on Lake Washington.

The field will not include Villwock, who stepped down as driver of the Spirit of Qatar 96 prior to the season and is now a consultant with the Beacon Plumbing boat driven by J. Michael Kelly.

In addition to chasing the difficult four-peat (Villwock came up short twice in 2001 and 2004) David, the defending series champion, will be trying hard to hang onto and even expand on one of the closest national points races in the history of the sport.

"The target on our back is bigger than the boat," David said. "It's funny, when you're the underdog everybody cheers for you, when you're finally on top everybody's shooting at you."

A winner last weekend at the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup at Tri-Ciites, David entered that race leading Graham Trucking driver Jimmy Shane by just 183 points and left the Columbia River for Lake Washington up by only 233 through four of seven events. While a hard weekend of racing produced David's 18th career win, he gained just 50 points on his closest competitor in the 2013 points race and all of that came during last Friday's qualifying.

And no where has David ruled more than Seattle where he has won four of the last six Seafairs to break what had been Villwock's stranglehold on what most consider the sport's home port.

Seven of the 11 H1 Unlimited drivers hail from the Seattle area and the majority of the teams either are based there or draw the bulk of their personnel and equipment from the northwest. They will all begin testing and qualifying for this weekend's race today with time trials set for 5:45 p.m. EDT.

In addition to David, Shane and Kelly, this weekend's field also includes Jon Zimmerman and the Fox Plumbing and Heating Team Red Dot, Tom Thompson and the Peters & May, Greg Hopp and the Miss DiJulio, Brian Perkins and the Albert Lee Appliance, Mike Webster and the Performance Tools, Jamie Nilsen and the Snoqualmie Casino, N. Mark Evans and the FEDCO and Kip Brown and 95 Spirit of Qatar.

David said it's a deep and competitive field that features deck-to-deck racing throughout.

"I think you're going to see some of the closest races in Lake Washington, behind us, we've seen, ever," David quipped.

Leland Unlimited announced on Thursday they will not have a boat ready for the Albert Lee Cup - driver Kelly Stockton blew that boat over at Tri-Cities and the hull sustained heavy damage. The team also sustained some engine damage and will work toward preparing its engines and a backup boat in time to race in the Coeur d'Alene Diamond Cup on Aug. 30 through Sept. 1 in Idaho.

Ellstrom Racing, a three-time winner at Seafair that had shown some activity in its boat shop in recent days, announced that it will not race its 96 Spirit of Qatar at Seafair.

The boat, which was damaged at the 2012 season finale in Doha, Qatar, and has not raced since, will be wrapped and logo'd for an appearance Monday at Pacific Raceway in Kent but is not ready to run.

Meanwhile, Oberto family patriarch, 85-year-old Art Oberto, was honored by Seafair earlier this week when he was knighted at the Albert Lee Cup news conference. Oberto used the occasion to predict another win for the boat owned by the city of Madison, campaigned by Miss Madison Racing and sponsored by Oberto's sausage company.

"We're definitely going to win. I've got a guardian angel and if he quits on me, I'm going to beat him out the door," Oberto said.

"Those guys work their heart out to put together the best boat anybody's ever had," Oberto added.

H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series

Albert Lee Appliance Cup at Seafair Field

Lake Washington, Seattle

Aug. 2-4

Boat No./Name-Driver-Driver Hometown

1 Oh Boy! Oberto-Steve David-Lighthouse Pointe, Fla.

5 Graham Trucking-Jimmy Shane-Havre de Grace, Md.

9 Fox Plumbing/Team Red Dot-Jon Zimmerman-Maple Valley, Wash.

11 Peters & May-Tom Thompson-Cambridge, Md.

14 Miss DiJulio-Greg Hopp-Lake Stevens,Wash.

21 Albert Lee Appliance-Brian Perkins-North Bend, Wash.

22 Performance Tools-Mike Webster-Reading, Pa.

37 Miss Beacon Plumbing-J. Michael Kelly-Bonney Lake, Wash.

48 Snoqualmie Casino-Jamie Nilsen-Federal Way, Wash.

57 FEDCO-N. Mark Evans-Chelan, Wash.

95 Spirit of Qatar -Kip Brown-Ravensdale, Wash.