A frustrating and disheartening 2018 season will come to an end this weekend for Jimmy Shane and the U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison with the 54th running of the Bill Muncey Cup on Mission Bay in San Diego.

The team entered the season with hopes of winning its fifth-straight national championship — sixth-straight for Shane — and adding to a career wins total that currently stands second all-time among owners.

But other than a sweep on its home waters in Madison, little else has gone right for the defending champs. Penalties scuttled hopes for wins at Tri-Cities and Seattle and, combined with Andrew Tate’s breakout season in the U-9 Delta/Realtrac, it was enough to end the HomeStreet’s championship streak which Tate clinched last month at Seattle.

But while the points title is no longer up for grabs, the team still has plenty to race for this weekend and plans on ending the season on a high note.

“I need to do my part as driver and have a penalty-free weekend,” Shane said. “If I can do that, then I believe the boat and team will be sitting on the top of the podium at the end of the weekend.”

If there is a silver lining to the season it’s the fact that the team got a chance to give its new boat plenty of time on the water. With construction delayed until after the season was underway, the initial plan was to bring the seventh Miss Madison along slowly, but after a diastrious weekend at Tri-Cities, those plans were scrapped and the new boat took its shakedown cruises in the heat of competition.

Starting with the Seattle race, the team has used the HomeStreet “White” hull exclusively and the results have been impressive. In nine heats of racing, the boat has won seven times and claimed fastest qualifier twice.

First-year crew chief Cindy Shirley said while the season has been trying at times, she’s been very pleased with the way the team has responded over the past two races.

“This first season has been a learning process and the team feels we are now much more in sync than we were at the beginning of the season,” said Shirley, who became the first female crew chief to record a win with the team’s victory at Madison. “I feel like we have our old stride back.”

One team that has had its stride since day one in 2018 is the Delta/Realtrac, which opened the season with a weekend sweep at Guntersville and never looked back. Tate has won 16 of the 23 heats he has entered the season which was more than enough to clinch his first national championship as well as the first for team owners Mike and Lori Jones.

“The Jones Racing team has accomplished everything we set out to do in 2018,” Tate said. “The National Championship and the Gold Cup have been decided, but we plan to finish strong in San Diego and bring home the Bill Muncey memorial trophy.

“It’s been a dream season that unfortunately has to end. At least we’ll be in beautiful San Diego with friends, family, and some of the greatest race fans on earth,” Tate added.

Just six teams are expected to make the trek to San Diego, the third time this season that less than eight boats will start a race.

One team that is hungry for its first win is Tom Thompson and the U-11 J&Ds. The team is currently third in the points standings and is poised for its best finish in its eight-year history.

The boat sustained damage during the final heat at Detroit, but that damage has been repaired and the team is hopeful of scoring its first-ever win this weekend.

“(San Diego) is where I started driving an H1 Unlimited hydroplane and is always one of my favorite race sites,” said Thompson, who made his Unlimited debut on Mission Bay in 2012. “The team has been working hard getting the boat back together after the damage. Sitting third in points and looking for that first win, San Diego would be a great place for that to happen.”

Dustin Echols and the U-440 Bucket List Racing, one of only four teams to make all six races this season, will also be in San Diego as will Aaron Salmon and the U-99.9 Miss Rock and Brian Perkins and the U-21 PayneWest Insurance.

Testing for Bayfair begins at Noon EDT on Friday with qualifying set for 5:40 p.m. EDT. Heat racing will be on both Saturday and Sunday with the final heat scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EDT on Sunday.