STREAK BUSTER? Steve David, driver of the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison (above) hopes to end a 22-race losing streak in the APBA Gold Cup — including six runner-ups — this weekend. “I’m bringing my bridesmaid’s dress to Detroit this weekend. And I’m not bringing it back.” (Courier file photo)
STREAK BUSTER? Steve David, driver of the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison (above) hopes to end a 22-race losing streak in the APBA Gold Cup — including six runner-ups — this weekend. “I’m bringing my bridesmaid’s dress to Detroit this weekend. And I’m not bringing it back.” (Courier file photo)
No Unlimited pilot has competed for the American Power Boat Association Gold Cup as many times as Steve David. And no driver has tasted defeat as many times as the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison.

For the 23rd time, David will attempt to write is name in the history books when the 104th APBA Gold Cup kicks off this weekend on the Detroit River in Motor City.

According to H1 Unlimited historian Fred Farley, no driver in the history of the sport has competed in more Gold Cups than David. Needless to say, the 22 losses are a record as well.

"I've lost that race in every way imaginable," said David. "When it comes to Gold Cups, I'm perfect. Just not in a good way."

Six of those races, including the last four, have resulted in second-place finishes. He also has a pair of third places.

David has had wins taken away due to disqualification (2005) and to high wind (2008). He has been the victim of wrecks (1993) and has been powerless as the best drivers in the history of the sport simply ran away.

David has lost to legendary drivers like Chip Hanauer, Dave Villwock and Tom D'Eath, but has also watched as surprise winners like Terry Troxell, Mitch Evans and Jean Theoret claimed the Cup. Heck, even his current crew chief, Mike Hanson, has won the race in somewhat upset fashion.

Only Jim Kropfeld, who retired with 22 wins, has more victories without a Gold Cup than David's 17. Chuck Thompson, who had 15 wins, is the only other driver in the top 10 without a Gold Cup victory.

Despite all of that, David has retained his trademark sense of humor about the situation and flashes it when talking about the race.

"I'm bringing my bridesmaid's dress to Detroit this weekend," David said. "And I'm not bringing it back."

If there is ever a year for David to get the monkey off his back, it certainly appears to be this one. Villwock, who has 10 Gold Cups to his credit and has bested David in five of David's six runner-up finishes, will be on hand but will not be driving after announcing his semi-retirement from the sport.

As a result, David comes into this weekend's race as the favorite. The last time Villwock did not drive in the race, in 2008, it was postponed due to high wind.

But while David appears to be the favorite, it will not be an easy race. Jimmy Shane comes in holding a scant 23-point lead in the national high point standings while Jon Zimmerman, J. Michael Kelly, Kip Brown and Tom Thompson all appear to have boats that are capable of winning - especially considering the number of upset wins the Detroit River has seen over the years.

"Jimmy Shane obviously presents a real challenge and so do several other teams and drivers. Jon Zimmerman and Kip Brown are very good and it should be noted that Dave Villwock will be there," David said. "Dave is working with J. Michael Kelly and the Beacon Plumbing team with the setup on that boat. JMK is a great driver and if the boat gets any faster he will be a force to be dealt with."

The Detroit River presents a much different challenge than what drivers have faced so far this season. The long course (2.67 miles) features not only the sport's tightest turn, the famed Roostertail Turn, but also the sport's widest, near the Belle Isle Bridge.

As a result, teams must be able to match gear combinations to make up for the distance, but also take into account the Detroit River's always rough conditions.

Miss Madison Racing has 19 wins in its 51-year history, but its only Gold Cup victory came in 1971 on its home waters. On that day, Jim McCormick steered the hometown boat to a stirring win that years later spawned a Hollywood movie.

While David wants more than anything to write his name on that Cup, he also wants to give his fans back that rare win, especially in light of last weekend's cancellation of the Madison Regatta.

"More than anything, its all about having the right combination for the Detroit River race course," David said. "We have been developing a setup which our crew chief, Mike Hanson, feels will give us a good chance to win the Gold Cup for our fans in Indiana."

The 2013 Gold Cup had been reduced to a two-day event due to budget constraints but shifted back to the full three days including a "Free Friday" when Michigan native and rocker Kid Rock added sponsorship from his Made In Detroit and American Badass Beer companies.

The cold pits open at 9 a.m. on Friday while time trials, testing and qualifying begin at noon. Racing begins with Heat 1A at 1:10 p.m. Saturday and the 2013 Gold Cup Champion will be crowned following the winner-take-all championship final heat scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday.

A look at Steve David's finishes in the APBA Gold Cup in his career:

Year-Site-Boat-Finish-Winner, Boat

1988-Evansville-ARC Construction-4th-Chip Hanauer, Miss Circus Circus

1989-San Diego-Miss Easter Seals-5th-Tom D'Eath, Miss Budweiser

1990-Detroit-Miss Easter Seals-DNP-Tom D'Eath, Miss Budweiser

1991-Detroit-Harvey Motorsports-DNP-Mark Tate, Winston Eagle

1992-Detroit-Miss T-Plus-DNP-Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser

1993-Detroit-Miss T-Plus-DNP-Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser

1994-Detroit-Miss T-Plus-DNP-Mark Tate, Smokin' Joe's

1995-Detroit-Miss T-Plus-DNP-Chip Hanauer, Miss Budweiser

1996-Detroit-DOC/Acuvue-5th-Dave Villwock, PICO American Dream

1997-Detroit-Detroit Ford Dealers-4th-Dave Villwock, Miss Budweiser

1998-Detroit-Miss Chrysler-Jeep-2nd-Dave Villwock, Miss Budweiser

1999-Detroit-Miss Chrsyler-Jeep-5th-Chip Hanauer, Miss Pico

2000----Did Not Compete

2001-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-3rd-Mike Hanson, Tubby's Grilled Subs

2002-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-4th-Dave Villwock, Miss Budweiser

2003-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-4th-Mitch Evans, Fox Hills Chrysler-Jeep

2004-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-2nd-Nate Brown, Miss DYC

2005-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-6th-Terry Troxell, Al Deeby Dodge

2006-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-3rd-Jean Theoret, Miss Beacon Plumbing

2007-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-2nd-Dave Villwock, Miss Elam Plus

2008----No Race

2009-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-2nd-Dave Villwock, Miss Elam Plus

2010-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-2nd-Dave Villwock, Spirit of Qatar

2011----Did Not Compete

2012-Detroit-Oh Boy! Oberto-2nd-Dave Villwock, Spirit of Qatar