Jimmy Shane and the Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison drive around Andrew Tate and the Delta/Realtrac (top) at the start of Sunday’s Indiana Governor’s Cup final and then pull away for the win. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
Jimmy Shane and the Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison drive around Andrew Tate and the Delta/Realtrac (top) at the start of Sunday’s Indiana Governor’s Cup final and then pull away for the win. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
By DAVID CAMPBELL

Special to the Courier

sports@madisoncourier.com

Andrew Tate had made a habit of beating Jimmy Shane from the outside this season, but Shane was determined to not let it happen again in his team’s hometown race.

Shane secured lane one from the start and then beat the field to the first turn to pull away for a dominating win in the Midwest Tube Mills Indiana Governor’s Cup final heat Sunday on the Ohio River.

Shane’s U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison team saved its best engine for the final and “Big Red” proved to be everything the team hoped. Shane brought his blue-and-white hydroplane to the line at full speed and the HomeStreet rocketed through the first turn with ease.

Tate, who beat Shane from lane two in the final at Guntersville Lake two weeks ago in Alabama and repeated it on Sunday in an earlier preliminary heat, couldn’t keep up. Any hopes Tate had of tracking Shane down ended when his U-9 Delta/Realtrac caught Shane’s roostertail in the first turn of lap two allowing Shane to pull away.

“We’ve been saving some stuff for the final heat because we know how much it means to these fans,” said Shane, who dedicated the win to his friend Dan Hoover, the team’s crew chief who died in February. “We wanted to run as well as we could in the qualifying heats but we didn’t want to show our hand and it worked just the way we wanted to do.”

The victory was the 17th of Shane’s career, tying him for seventh with Billy Schumacher on the all-time list and just one back of Steve David’s 18 total wins.

It was also the first win for crew chief Cindy Shirley, the first female to ever lead an Unlimited team to victory.

“It feels amazing. It feels awesome,” said Shirley with a smile. “It’s really great. We cleared tech so everything is great.”

Shane’s win helped erase what could have been a rough weekend for the Madison Regatta. The smallest field the site has seen since 1958 was reduced from five boats to four for much of the weekend and even had the rare situation of a preliminary heat with just one boat.

But when Shane and Tate were on the water together the result was gold as the two best current drivers on the circuit came to the event with both barrels loaded.

Shane won the opening round on Sunday when he recovered from an ignition problem that left him dead in the water to roll to an easy win in Heat 2A after Tate botched the start.

The rematch came a heat later and this time both drivers hit the start on time. Tate, in lane two, had a slight lead on Shane entering the second turn of the second lap when he appeared to “square off” his turn, cutting off Shane. The HomeStreet ran up the U-9’s rooster tail and came back down in the water hard, killing the engine. Shane was able to get the boat restarted and finished the heat.

Tate was initially assessed a one-lap penalty for encroachment but upon further review, H1 Unlimited officials decided to levy just a $250 fine instead. The decision did not sit well with the HomeStreet team and Tate and Shane exchanged angry words on the dock after the heat.

That back story set up an exciting subplot for the final and when Shane returned the favor and washed down Tate, the ending had been written.

“I saw a lot of water. I won’t know until I watch the video but that’s racing,” Tate said of the final heat. “Obviously, everyone saw Heat 3A and what happened there. You win some and you lose some, tick for tack, that’s racing. You live to fight another day and move on.

“When you’re going 200 mph, five feet apart, not everything is calculated or as perfect as you would like it to be, especially when the water is rough,” Tate added. “It’s racing. That’s why we love it and that’s what makes it interesting.”

Despite the loss, Tate still maintain his lead in the National High Points standings as the team chases its first-ever national title. Tate holds a 440-point lead over Shane with Thompson in third, 785 points back.

“We want to collect our points and make sure that the boat is in a position to do that for the rest of the year,” Tate said. “Obviously when we’ve had the tight racing that we’ve had, if you hurt anything it will put you in a tight hole. I know I don’t want to see the U-1 on the beach with damage and I know he doesn’t want to see the U-9 on the beach with damage. That’s really, really important, that trust factor and that relationship to be able to put on a show with Jimmy and hopefully we’ll get J. Michael (Kelly) back on the west coast and a couple of other boats.

“The trust factor is huge. Maybe we push a little too much sometimes but that’s racing. We talked it over after the heat, we cleared the air, we know where we stand and how to move forward. The respect is key and we’re ready to move on.”

Along with their wins against each other, Shane and Tate also earned easy wins in the first sets of preliminary heats on Saturday with Shane beating Thompson and Tate besting Echols in a pair of two-boat duals.

But Thompson and Echols also got a chance to bring home preliminary heat wins, the first of their Unlimited careers. Thompson’s came in Heat 2B when he defeated Echols for his first win in 113 heats of racing and just the team’s second-ever.

“The crew worked hard all weekend and to come here and get a win, I can’t explain how exciting it is,” Thompson said. “We’ve got a few more things coming. We’re getting closer.”

Echols picked up a win in Heat 3B when rookie Aaron Salmon’s U-99.9 Miss Rock did not get off the trailer. Echols ran three uncontested laps and came away with his first career win, and the team’s first win in five years of competition.

“We worked all offseason just to make this boat consistent and faster obviously, but we really want it to last and this weekend, that’s what we did,” Echols said. “It’s not the way I’d ever want to (win a race) but I’m just excited that we got that win because we were consistent. That means more to us than being fast. The crew is super excited and my dad called me from home and he was in tears. It was a one-boat heat, but it means so much more than that.”

The fleet now swings westward for a pair of races in Washington state starting later this month, first on the Columbia River at the Tri-Cities on July 27-29 and then on Lake Washington at Seattle Aug. 3-5.

———

2018 MIDWEST TUBE MILLS

MADISON REGATTA

Ohio River, Madison, Ind.

Length: 2 miles

RESULTS

Sunday, July 8

FINAL HEAT

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison, 138.899 mph; 2. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 136.138; 3. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 116.451; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 94.175.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 2, 141.273.

PRELIMINARY HEATS

Saturday, July 7

HEAT 1A

Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, no speed; 2. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, no speed.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 3, 121.073.

HEAT 1B

Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 97.444*; 2. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 96.845*.

*-penalized one minute for jumping the gun.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 3, 137.116.

Sunday, July 8

HEAT 2A

Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 136.079; 2. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 127.261; 3. Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 113.399.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 2, 139.184.

HEAT 2B

Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 84.602*; 2. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 79.264*.

*-penalized one minute for jumping the gun.

Fast Lap: Thompson, U-11, No. 1, 123.239.

HEAT 3A

Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 140.483*; 2. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 104.838; 3. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 95.069*.

*-penalized $250 for encroachment.

**-penalized one lap for jumping the gun.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 2, 143.870.

HEAT 3B

Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 110.454; Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, DNS.

Fast Lap: Echols, U-440, No. 1, 112.077.

FINAL QUALIFYING RESULTS

Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 148.166; 2. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 146,983; 3. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 141.925; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 130.792; Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, N/A.

CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS

(After 2 of 6 races)

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 3,200; 2. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 2,760; 3. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 2,415; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 1,289; 5. Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 1,094; 6. Cal Phipps, U-27 Chase Building Group, 825; 7. Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 225.