MADISON, Ind. - Race favorites Dave Villwock and Steve David scored easy preliminary heat wins and Kip Brown picked up his first-ever heat win on the opening day of racing at the 61st Lucas Oil Indiana Governor's Cup on the Ohio River Saturday.

Villwock, the Auburn, Wash. native who is seeking a record-seeking 63rd career win, steered the U-96 Spirit of Qatar to an average speed of 129.144 to win Heat 1B by 10 mph over the nearest competitor. Coupled with his top qualifying position on Friday, Villwock carries an 80-point lead into today's final heats of racing.

Villwock won his heat over three slower boats by settling into lane four at the start and not taxing himself too much. By the time one lap was completed, he already had the field covered.

"I just took it easy, let the other guys get up there and then reeled them in," said Villwock. "Some of these younger guys are so concerned about the start that they forget that there is a whole race left to run."

Brian Perkins finished second aboard the U-21 Lakeridge Paving, Mark Evans was third in the U-57 and Greg Hopp was fourth aboard the U-100 Leland Unlimited.

David's win in Heat 1A aboard the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison was over before it started. His primary competition in the heat, Jeff Bernard and the U-5 Graham Trucking, misjudged the start badly and was forced to cut the course early in an attempt to avoid being early. David's lead was never less than five roostertails and his winning speed was 126.601.

"They're not all going to be that easy," said David, Lighthouse Point, Fla. native who is also the defending champion at Madison aboard the hometown boat. "I knew what my time was and when I saw Jeff take off, I knew he was in trouble. But you can't blame the kid for trying. He wanted to beat us."

Bernard finished second in the heat while J.W. Myers was third in the U-11 Miss Peters & May.

While the seasoned vets Villwock and David were accustomed to wins, Brown's victory in Heat 1C aboard the U-17 Miss Red Dot was the first of his three-year career.

The Issaquah, Wash. native was the third-fastest in qualified and showed that speed by posting the fastest average speed of the day at 130.667. Like David, Brown was never threatened in pulling away for the win, but his reaction was much different.

"I know Steve and Dave get a ton of these and they probably just throw them somewhere, but this one is pretty sweet to me," said Brown, holding the heat trophy. "I love coming to Madison and this win couldn't be any sweeter than if it had come at home in Seattle. I'm pretty pleased."

Rookie Scott Liddycoat, who was forced to start the heat from the trailer position, finished second in the U-7 Mike Webster was third in the U-22 Miss Broadway Tavern.

Villwock, David and Brown are separated by just 30 points heading into today's second round of heats. The three drew away from each other again, setting up a possible replay of Saturday's action.