Steve David, driver of the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, celebrates after winning the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup on the Columbia River Sunday in Kennewick, Wash. David won the race, his third straight at Tri-Cities, after Dave Villwock was penalized a lap. (AP photo by Paul T. Martin/The Tri-City Herald)
Steve David, driver of the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, celebrates after winning the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup on the Columbia River Sunday in Kennewick, Wash. David won the race, his third straight at Tri-Cities, after Dave Villwock was penalized a lap. (AP photo by Paul T. Martin/The Tri-City Herald)
Sunday's Tri-Cities final had all the markings of yet another Dave Villwock cakewalk. But a penalty on the final turn of the final lap ripped the Columbia Cup out of Villwock's grasp and into the hands of Steve David and the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison.

Villwock, driving the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, was leading the final heat comfortably when he switched lanes at the apex of the final turn. Steve David, who never backed off and was closing on Villwock as the Qatar was closing out what looked to be an easy win in a otherwise perfect weekend, was close enough that officials quickly called a one lap penalty for lane encroachment on Villwock.

The result was a third-straight win at the Tri-Cities for David and the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, a shuffle in the National High Points standings and plenty of high emotions on the shore.

"You never know. You never give up. You just run as hard as you can," said an ecstatic David. "Not hearing the radio was maybe better because I never backed down."

David said his radio went dead just before the start of the heat and he never knew that a penalty had been called. When he got back to the docks, he just assumed he had finished second until he saw his Miss Madison Racing crew cheering on the shore.

"I'm used to them using one finger so I'm really excited to see three," David joked.

Villwock said after the race that he had no idea why a penalty was called. The U-21 Miss Albert Lee had hooked and gone dead in the turn earlier in the heat and the U-37 Miss Peters & May was on the outside about to be lapped. Villwock said he was merely trying to avoid the two boats when he switched lanes.

"There was another boat on the outside, another boat dead someplace that I'm supposed to avoid and the sun is over there because we ran this thing at 4:50, not 4:20," said an obviously upset Villwock. "I just had all kinds of problems happen at the same time."

Villwock, who had experienced throttle problems during the heat, had shut the Spirit of Qatar down just after crossing the finish line when his crew radioed that he had to complete another lap due to the penalty. He was able to restart the boat and finish the heat, placing fifth.

"I was having trouble with the throttle and I knew Steve had taken away the overlap, so I was trying to leave him room," Villwock said. "I tried to get us through all that with low sun in our eyes and I thought I left room. The referee didn't think so."

The penalty cost Villwock and the Qatar team more than just a race win. The team entered the final with a 53-point lead in the High Points standings and a win would have increased that margin to at least 153. But the fifth-place finish, coupled with an additional 150-point penalty, pushes the Spirit of Qatar 370 points behind the Oh Boy! Oberto through three of the series five races.

It was a stunning end to a race that had gone pretty much to script for Villwock. He was the fastest qualifier and won all three preliminary heats, including Heat 2B where he was forced to start from Lane 5 and still drove around the field, including David.

In the final, David made a perfectly timed start from Lane 2 and led the field through the first turn, increasing his lead to nearly a roostertail over the Qatar on the backstretch. But Villwock, who was in Lane 1, rocketed past David into the second turn and slowly pulled away.

Villwock's lead reached as much as two roostertails before the throttle problems struck and David began reeling him in. By the time the two boats had exited the final turn, the Oberto had cut the margin to just a few boatlengths.

"Wow, what a team. They stuck with me when I got my butt kicked by the Qatar earlier. They just didn't give up and gave me the best setup possible," David said. "Thank the Lord and thank Him for my team. ... They are unquestionably the best."

J. Michael Kelly finished second aboard the U-7 Graham Trucking, capping a very consistent weekend. Kelly finished second in all four heats of racing and currently sits third in the points standings, 694 points back.

Kelly's teammate, Jeff Bernard, was third aboard the U-5 Formulaboats.com. It was an almost miraculous finish for Bernard, who struggled all weekend and entered the final as the trailer boat, a full five-seconds behind the rest of the field.

"I'm real happy about it. We started off a weekend having a hard time," Bernard said. "This is all about the crew, not me. To come away third, we're ecstatic."

Nate Brown, who was early at the start, finished fourth aboard the U-17 Miss Red Dot and Jon Zimmerman, who was also early, was sixth aboard the U-37 Miss Peters & May.

Villwock and David won five of the six preliminary heats on the weekend. The lone exception was Brian Perkins, who scored his first non-penalty-aided heat win of his career when he drove the U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance to victory in Heat 2A.

Perkin's younger sister, Kayleigh Perkins, also had a good weekend, winning the Unlimited Lights race for the second-straight year. The younger Perkins, who now has 10 Lights wins to her credit, is expected to test the Oh Boy! Oberto at Seattle in two weeks.

Only two boats suffered serious damage on the weekend. Ken Muscatel, whose U-25 Superior Racing qualified fifth-fastest, hooked while hitting a roller in the first turn of Heat 1B on Saturday and ended up tearing up the right sponson. The U-13 Spirit of Detroit got caught in a roostertail in Heat 3A on Sunday, destroying the cowling as well as the engine.

The victory was the 13th for Miss Madison Racing and the 11th of David's career. Miss Madison Racing is now all alone in 11th-place all-time among owners, just two wins behind Steve Woomer for 10th place. David moves into a tie with Mickey Remund for 14th all-time among drivers.
2010 LAMB WESTON COLUMBIA CUP

H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series

Columbia River

Kennewick, Wash.

Length: 2.5 miles

Results

FINAL HEAT

Sunday, July 25

1. Steve David, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, 146.842 mph; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-7 Graham Trucking, 141.988; 3. Jeff Bernard, U-5 Formulaboats.com, 135.192; 4. Nate Brown, U-17 Miss Red Dot, 136.484*; 5. Dave Villwock, U-96 Spirit of Qatar, 127.944**; 6. Jon Zimmerman, U-37 Miss Peters & May, 119.976*; Brian Perkins, U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance, DNF.

Fast Lap: Villwock, No. 1, 153.050.

*-penalized one lap for early start

**-penalized one lap & 150 points for lane encroachment

PRELIMINARY HEATS

Saturday, July 24

HEAT 1A

1. Steve David, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, 146.679; 2. Nate Brown, U-17 Miss Red Dot, 140.437; 3. Brian Perkins, U-21 Miss Albert Lee, 133.477; 4. Mike Webster, U-22 Matrix Systems, 122.001; 5. Mark Evans, U-57 Formulaboats.com, 114.343; Jeff Bernard, U-5 Formulaboats.com, DNF.

Fast Lap: David, No. 1, 151.962.

HEAT 1B

1. Dave Villwock, U-96 Spirit of Qatar, 145.763; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-7 Graham Trucking, 140.401; 3. Cal Phipps, U-13 Spirit of Detroit, 138.326; 4. Jon Zimmerman, U-37 Miss Peters & May, 127.376; 5. Greg Hopp, U-100 Fleury Auto & Truck Parts, 124.993; Ken Muscatel, U-25 Superior Racing, DNF.

Fast Lap: Kelly, No. 2, 148.350.

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Sunday, July 25

HEAT 2A

1. Brian Perkins, U-21 Miss Albert Lee, 143.146; 2. Cal Phipps, U-13 Spirit of Detroit, 136.050; 3. Jon Zimmerman, U-37 Miss Peters & May, 130.753; 4. Mike Webster, U-22 Matrix Systems, 126.406; 5. Mark Evans, U-57 Formulaboats.com, 125.663; 6. Nate Brown, U-17 Miss Red Dot, 92.714.

Fast Lap: Perkins, No. 1, 145.398.

HEAT 2B

1. Dave Villwock, U-96 Spirit of Qatar, 148.195; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-7 Graham Trucking, 146.408; 3. Jeff Bernard, U-5 Formulaboats.com, 145.791; 4. Steve David, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, 144.680; 5. Greg Hopp, U-100 Fleury Auto & Truck Parts, 132.084.

Fast Lap: Villwock, No. 3, 153.806.

HEAT 3A

1. Steve David, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, 150.444; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-7 Graham Trucking, 146.225; 3. Brian Perkins, U-21 Miss Albert Lee, 141.268; 4. Nate Brown, U-17 Miss Red Dot, 137.494; 5. Mark Evans, U-57 Formulaboats.com, 119.139; Cal Phipps, U-13 Spirit of Detroit, DNF.

Fast Lap: David, No. 3, 151.630.

HEAT 3B

1. Dave Villwock, U-96 Spirit of Qatar, 144.293; 2. Jeff Bernard, U-5 Formulaboats.com, 142.659; 3. Greg Hopp, U-100 Fleury Auto & Truck Parts, 141.617; 4. Jon Zimmerman, U-37 Miss Peters & May, 132.221; 5. Mike Webster, U-22 Matrix Systems, 125.494.

Fast Lap: Villwock, No. 1, 149.835.

FINAL QUALIFYING RESULTS

1. Dave Villwock, U-96 Spirit of Qatar, 163.579; 2. Steve David, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, 162.928; 3. Nate Brown, U-17 Miss Red Dot, 157.199; 4. J. Michael Kelly, U-7 Graham Trucking, 157.062; 5. Ken Muscatel, U-25 Superior Racing, 156.513; 6. Cal Phipps, U-13 Spirit of Detroit, 156.296; 7. Brian Perkins, U-21 Miss Albert Lee, 155.566; 8. Jeff Bernard, U-5 Formulaboats.com, 154.974; 9. Greg Hopp, U-100 Fleury Auto & Truck Parts, 152.322; 10. Jon Zimmerman, U-37 Miss Peters & May, 150.763; 11. Mike Webster, U-22 Matrix Systems, 136.622; 12. Mark Evans, U-57 Formulaboats.com, 132.747.

CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS

(after 3 of 5 races)

BOAT

1. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, 4,754; 2. U-96 Spirit of Qatar, 4,384; 3. U-7 Graham Trucking, 4,060; 4. U-21 Miss Albert Lee, 2,521; 5. U-5 Formulaboats.com, 2,410; 6. U-37 Miss Peters & May, 2,068; 7. U-17 Our Gang Racing, 1,941; 8. U-100 Leland Unlimited, 1,905; 9. U-22 Webster Racing, 1,823; 10. U-13 Spirit of Detroit, 1,799; 11. U-25 Superior Racing, 959; 12. U-57 Formulaboats.com, 411.

DRIVERS

1. Steve David, U-1, 4,754; 2. Dave Villwock, U-96, 4,384; 3. J. Michael Kelly, U-7, 4,060; 4. Brian Perkins, U-21, 2,521; 5. Jeff Bernard, U-5, 2,410; 6. Greg Hopp, U-100, 1,905; 7. Nate Brown, U-17, 1,891; 8. Mike Webster, U-22, 1,823; 9. Cal Phipps, U-13, 1,739; 10. J.W. Myers, U-37, 1,380; 11. Jon Zimmerman, U-25/U-37, 1,112; 12. Ken Muscatel, U-25, 545; 13. Mark Evans, U-57, 127; 14. Kip Brown, U-17, 50.

Miss Madison Victories

1965

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Steve David's Wins (11)

1993

Lewisville (Texas), Miss T-Plus

Honolulu (Hawaii), Miss T-Plus

1995

Kansas City (Mo.), Miss T-Plus

2001

Madison (Ind.), Oh Boy! Oberto

2005

Evansville (Ind.), Oh Boy! Oberto

2007

Seattle (Wash.), Oh Boy! Oberto

San Diego (Calif.), Oh Boy! Oberto

2008

Tri-Cities (Wash.), Oh Boy! Oberto

2009

Tri-Cities (Wash.), Oh Boy! Oberto

2010

Madison (Ind.), Oh Boy! Oberto

Tri-Cities (Wash.), Oh Boy! Oberto