WINNING!: Dave Villwock steers the U-96 Spirit of Qatar (above) to victory at San Diego Sunday. The victory allowed Villwock (below, middle) to hold off challenges from Kip Brown (left) and Steve David (right) to pick up his 65th-career win and record 25th for the 10-year-old boat. (Photos by Jim Simpson, H1 Unlimited, above, and Christopher W. Denslow, NW Speedshots/H1 Unlimited, below)
WINNING!: Dave Villwock steers the U-96 Spirit of Qatar (above) to victory at San Diego Sunday. The victory allowed Villwock (below, middle) to hold off challenges from Kip Brown (left) and Steve David (right) to pick up his 65th-career win and record 25th for the 10-year-old boat. (Photos by Jim Simpson, H1 Unlimited, above, and Christopher W. Denslow, NW Speedshots/H1 Unlimited, below)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Dave Villwock had won from the outside all day. So when a randomly selected Ping-Pong ball gave Villwock lane two for the final, there was little doubt who would cross the finish line first.

Villwock won his second consecutive Air National Guard Championship at San Diego Bayfair on Sunday, sweeping through all of his heats and clinching his first National High Points Drivers Championship in four years.

Villwock won for a record ninth time on Mission Bay and as a result his U-96 Spirit of Qatar boat has more wins than any other hull in the sport's history. Villwock also became the sport's all-time winningest driver earlier this season in Detroit.

In the first two preliminary heats on the weekend, Villwock started in lane five due to the draw but still ended up getting a victory. With his closest competitor, Steve David and the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, stuck in lane five for the final Villwock cruised the easy win.

"I was just hoping to get one more win on this boat and I didn't know if lady luck would give it to us," Villwock said. "I can't say I wasn't thinking about getting the Ellstrom boat (the team's owner) into the history books."

He left little doubt that the Spirit of Qatar boat would make history in the five-lap final on the 2.5-mile Bill Muncey Memorial Racecourse. Villwock got a strong start and led from start to finish averaging 154.109 mph, despite driver Kip Brown pressing him late in the race aboard the U-17 Miss Red Dot.

"I think my boat needed another 10 mph out there to catch Dave," Brown said. "He had too much speed for me to pass him."

It appeared the final would be a showdown between Villwock and David. Both drivers swept through three heats each and in Friday's qualifying they were within 1.5 mph of each other.

But lady luck played her part in the outcome. Lanes were determined by a random draw and David's Oh Boy! Oberto got an outside lane, while Brown and Villwock occupied the inside lanes. David started in third place and was never able to make up the ground.

"I said from the beginning that luck was going to have a lot to do with it," David said. "We didn't have the luck going our way in the final."

Rookie Scott Liddycoat was fourth in the final aboard the U-7 Valken.com, J. Michael Kelly was fifth in the 88 Degree Men, Jeff Bernard was sixth in the U-5 Graham Trucking and J.W. Myers was seventh aboard the U-11 Miss Peters & May.

Villwock and his boat are a rare combination in the sport's history, both at the top of their sport. The Ellstrom-built boat has 25 wins and was previously tied with three other hulls before the win Sunday on the Air National Guard Hydroplane Series. While Villwock said the boat, built in 2001, is showing its age, it still can perform.

"I wanted to get the record for the Ellstroms," Villwock said. "Because if they ever build a new one or it gets put aside, I wanted them to have that record."

The perfect weekend gives Villwock 7,525 points and clinches his record 10th Driver's Championship. Liddycoat is second in the driver's standings with 5,389 points and with only 2,100 points left to earn, he cannot catch Villwock.

The Boat Championship is yet to be determined but the Spirit of Qatar has all but wrapped up that title, which would be the Ellstrom Manufacturing Team's third and Villwock's 12th. The Miss Red Dot is second in those standings with 5,822 points, 1,703 back.

With the North America leg of the Air National Guard Hydroplane Series complete, the tour concludes its season with the world championships in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 17-19. The series will make a stop in Washington, D.C. for an exhibition on Friday. The Oh Boy! Oberto, U-5 Graham Trucking, U-7 Valken.com and 88 Degree Men boats will be on hand.