" Disastrous weekend — including three disqualifications — drops defending champ Miss Madison Racing to third, 1,920 out of first place midway through season "
U-9 Les Schwab driver Andrew Tate (above) turned in another perfect weekend to win Sunday’s HAPO Columbia Cup and gain distance on the U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison in the National High Points race as the defending champ was disqualified in three of the five total heats. The lone bright spot for the HomeStreet was the launching of its new boat (next) on Saturday. The team tested the new hull both on Saturday and Sunday but held it out of racing. The boat reportedly posted a top lap of more than 160 mph on the 2.5-mile Columbia River course. (H1 photos)
U-9 Les Schwab driver Andrew Tate (above) turned in another perfect weekend to win Sunday’s HAPO Columbia Cup and gain distance on the U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison in the National High Points race as the defending champ was disqualified in three of the five total heats. The lone bright spot for the HomeStreet was the launching of its new boat (next) on Saturday. The team tested the new hull both on Saturday and Sunday but held it out of racing. The boat reportedly posted a top lap of more than 160 mph on the 2.5-mile Columbia River course. (H1 photos)
By DAVID CAMPBELL

Special to the Courier

sports@madisoncourier.com

If Jimmy Shane and the U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison fail to defend their National High Points Championship this season, they will surely look back on this past weekend as the reason why.

A disqualification for encroachment in the final heat of the HAPO Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities, Washington on Sunday capped one of the worst non-accident race weekends in recent memory for the normally flawless team. The defending national champs were also disqualified two other times in preliminary heat action for failing tech inspections and fined $500 in an all-around disastrous performance on the Columbia River.

Andrew Tate, meanwhile, had no such issues. Taking advantage of the HomeStreet’s woes, Tate rolled to wins in all five heats in his U-9 Les Schwab Tires to claim the Columbia Cup crown and take a commanding lead in the 2018 National High Points standings.

“I couldn’t do it without those guys and I couldn’t be happier for the Jones and the Campbells and the rest of the crew,” Tate said of his owners and crew chiefs. “They worked their butts off this year and in previous years. This is one we didn’t have and we’re proud to bring it home.”

The weekend didn’t start off all that badly for the HomeStreet crew. Driver Shane claimed the top qualifying award on Friday afternoon in near record fashion and picked up a win in the first set of heats on Saturday. In between, the team got a chance to break in a brand new hull that was christened on Friday and put on water for a first time in a test session on Saturday.

But starting with a flagrant fuel violation in Heat 2B that resulted in a disqualification, the weekend went downhill for the team. A win in the third heat was immediately followed by another disqualification in Heat 4B, this time for a flagrant N2 violation.

Those tech failures were the fourth the team has suffered this season, three of which have erased preliminary heat wins. But the disqualification in the final was the most painful.

As the boats were scoring up before the final, Shane found himself without a lane. He thought he had an opening and stuck his nose in, creating space.

But the maneuver forced Cal Phipps and the U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky off its line and into the path of Tom Thompson and the U-11 J&Ds. Thompson’s boat ingested water and went dead, sealing Shane’s fate.

“All five boats were going up the backstretch tight. I saw the U-9 moving back and forth in lane two and three and I needed to make my move before I got boxed in,” Shane said. “It was 100 percent my fault. I feel terrible that I affected the outcome of the U-11. I never wanted to do that. I truly apologize.”

Shane made a good start and stayed with Tate for two laps before falling back. The two boats were close for a bit, but Tate’s inside lane was too much for Shane to overcome.

“Any time you drive next to Jimmy you know that you’re going to give each other room; He was probably a little more than generous, a real respect move there and I appreciate it a lot,” Tate said. “We came off the corner neck and neck but ended up getting down to turn two first and after that, he was always there, but you breathe a little easier, you know?”

Of course Tate’s ability to outrace Shane proved a moot point. H1 Unlimited officials signaled before the race was over that a possible penalty was coming and less than 30 minutes after the race, the call was made to disqualify and fine Shane.

Phipps ended up placing second while J. Michael Kelly, who had his own disqualification for a fuel violation earlier in the weekend, was third in the U-12 Graham Trucking. Brian Perkins overcame a one-minute penalty for dislodging a buoy to place fourth, Thompson managed to restart his boat and finish fifth and Dustin Echols was sixth in the U-440 Bucket List Racing.

While Shane still finished the weekend with two preliminary heat wins, his disqualifications allowed Tate and Thompson to steal wins. Tate won all four of his prelims overall with Phipps also claiming a win.

The disqualifications also resulted in a shuffling of the National High Points standings as Tate increased his lead to 1,773 points over now second place Thompson. Shane, who has won the last five national titles — including four with the Miss Madison team — had entered the weekend in second place 440 points behind Tate but is now third by a whopping 1,920 points with three races to go.

“It is definitely not the weekend we were looking for. We had so much success on the water and unfortunately we had that all taken away from us,” Shane said. “We’re going to come back strong at (Seattle). We have good equipment and we’re going to take it to them.”

The H1 fleet heads a bit further west this weekend to Lake Washington for the fourth race on the schedule at Seattle. The series will then turn back east for the annual APBA Gold Cup in Detroit in late August and finish the season in mid-September on San Diego’s Mission Bay.

Grand Prix World

Elsewhere, the Grand Prix World Supercharged series crowned its third winner in as many races after Greg Hopp crossed the finish line first in the GP-1 Miss DiJulio, was initially penalized one-minute for a lane infraction that would have made GP-20 Miss Tri-Cities driver Ed Preston the winner but then had the penalty reversed on a video review to reinstate Hopp as the victor.

Competition Director Mike Noonan confirmed the reversal of the one-minute lane infraction by APBA Referee Chas Dodge. Preston dropped to second place followed by David Warren and Jamie Nilsen, who led the race early but was penalized for jumping the clock at the start. Brent Hall ran fifth and Steve Huff scored a did not finish.

The Grand Prix World series’ next points race will be on the Ohio River at the Evansville HydroFest on Labor Day Weekend Aug. 31-Sept. 2. However, the series will run a four-boat exhibition at next weekend’s Seafair in Seattle.

Also, in the 5-liter final, former H1 Unlimited driver Jeff Bernard led from start to finish while driving the E-9 Clack Motorsports/Advanced Transmission Center to victory. Kurt Myers in the E-26 Flight Time finished second.

HAPO COLUMBIA CUP RESULTS

Columbia River

Tri-Cities, Washington

Length: 2.5 miles

Sunday, July 29

FINAL HEAT

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab, 145.390 mph; 2. Cal Phipps, U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, 137.610; 3. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 128.460; 4. Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 116.780*; 5. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 116.230; 6. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 104.90; Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison, DSQ**.

*-penalized one minute for dislodging a buoy

**-disqualified and fined $500 for encroachment.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 1, 147.890.

PRELIMINARY HEATS

Saturday, July 28

HEAT 1A

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 147.310; 2. Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 146.880; 3. Cal Phipps, U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, 143.740; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 102.140; J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, DNF.

Fast Lap: Perkins, U-21, No. 3, 148.880.

HEAT 1B

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 144.450; 2. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 142.630*; Jimmy King, U-3 Grigg’s Ace Hardware, DNF**; Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, DNS.

*-fined $100 each for two fuel violations

**-penalized 150 points and $300 for encroachment.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 151.263.

HEAT 2A

1. Cal Phipps, U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, 146.930; 2. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 119.210; J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, DSQ*; Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, DNS; Jimmy King, U-3 Grigg’s Ace Hardware, DNS.

*-disqualified for flagrant fuel violation.

Fast Lap: Phipps, U-1918, No. 2, 150.748,

HEAT 2B

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 152.860; 2. Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 138.670; Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, DSQ* Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, DNS; .

*-disqualified for flagrant fuel violation.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 2, 155.504.

Sunday, July 29

HEAT 3A

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 148.490; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 147.970; 3. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 142.060; 4. Jimmy King, U-3 Grigg’s Ace Hardware, 140.500; Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, DSQ*.

*-disqualified for flagrant fuel violation.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 2, 149.965

HEAT 3B

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 146.360; 2. Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 144.160; 3. Cal Phipps, U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, 138.230; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 121.576.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 148.576.

HEAT 4A

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 143.470; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 139.800; 3. Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 129.750; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 119.250; 5. Jimmy King, U-3 Grigg’s Ace Hardware, 113.740.*

*-penalized one minute for jumping the gun.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 1, 148.421.

HEAT 4B

1. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 147.680; 2. Cal Phipps, U-1918 Oberto Beff Jerky, 143.680; Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, DNS; Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, DSQ.*

*-disqualified for N2 violation

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 155.169