If Dave Villwock is going to be stopped from winning his 11th National Championship, it will have to start this week.

The second half of the 2007 American Boat Racing Association season begins today with the 42nd running of the Atomic Cup on the Columbia River in Tri-Cities, Wash.

Villwock, driving the U-16 Miss Elam Plus, has dominated the season to date. Over the first three races, the Elam has been the fastest qualifier each time and has won every heat but one.

It is a level of dominance the sport has not seen since, well since Villwock himself. In 2000, Villwock drove the Miss Budweiser to six wins in seven races and his three-race win streak this season is the sport's first since that 2000 campaign.

"He should be given a lot of credit for what he has been able to accomplish this year," said Formulaboats.com crew chief Mike Weber. "I don't think he can win them all but he always seems to have a little jump and a great start when he gets to the final."

Villwock's dominance has given him a commanding lead in the season points race. The Elam currently leads Steve David and the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison by 1,070 points and Jimmy King and the U-3 Cooper Racing by 1,860 points.

While Villwock's points lead is large, it is far from insurmountable. In the sport of Unlimited hydroplane racing, seemingly anything can happen at any time.

"There are six to seven teams that have a legitimate chance to win a race," said Villwock. "It is really a lot more fun racing with this competition then it is to go out there and win easily."

While Villwock has won every race so far, he has been pushed more and more each week. The main pusher is David and the Oberto, which has finished second each of the last two races.

The new Miss Madison continues to get faster and faster and the team is hoping that the week off will give the crew a chance to get the boat even more dialed in. The fast track at Tri-Cities should be a good proving ground for the team's new setup.

But the biggest story of the weekend will be the number of race teams that will descend upon the Tri-Cities this weekend. Fourteen Unlimited hydroplanes have been entered so far for this weekend's race, one of the largest in years.

Four teams will be making their 2007 debut while one, the U-10 Ahern Rentals, returns to the circuit after a one-race layoff. Rookie David Bryant seemed to be getting comfortable with his new ride when he struck debris at Madison, ripping the bottom of the boat apart.

The Las Vegas-based U-10 missed the Gold Cup in Detroit a week later, but the damage has been repaired.

"I am pretty antsy to get back in the boat," Bryant said. "I was just getting comfortable in the boat and then we had to take a few weeks off."

The other teams joining the circuit this weekend are: Chris Bertram, U-9 Miss Conover Insurance; Nate Brown, U-17 Red Dot; Brian Perkins, U-21 Meyers' Auto Tech; and David Williams, U-48 Lakeridge Paving.

Perkins, as long with fellow rookie Jimmy Shane, will be making their Unlimited debuts this weekend. Shane takes over for the injured Mike Allen in the U-1 Formulaboats.com II and both he and Perkins will be attempting to qualify as drivers.

Testing and qualifying begin today with the Dash for Cash at 8:20 p.m. EDT tonight. The first heat of racing is Saturday at 7:15 p.m. EDT with the final heat set for 7:40 p.m. EDT Sunday.