2022 Boats and Bios
Driver: Jeff Bernard
Home Port: Madison, IN
Sponsor: Goodman Real Estate
HydroDan Says: In addition to the U-1, the Madison Team has announced that it will campaign its older 2007 hull full season as the U-91 Miss Goodman Real Estate in 2022 with veteran Jeff Bernard at the controls. This very hull won the Madison Gold Cup in 2021 with Shane at the wheel. While not a rocket like its 2018-built sister ship, this older Miss Madison sled is a reliable and proven commodity. In fact, it is third all time in race wins by a hull with 25 behind the 0116 Ellstrom and the 0001 Budweiser. It will be a threat for heat wins and podium finishes this season.
Driver: Jimmy Shane, Seattle, WA
Home Port: Madison, IN
Sponsor: HomeStreet Bank
HydroDan Says: The venerable Madison Racing Team has announced that it will campaign two boats full circuit in 2022. The U-1 HomeStreet Bank, with Jimmy Shane behind the wheel, will be the newer of the sisterships that debuted in 2018. It nearly found the winners circle at San Diego in 2021 if not for a gun jump. With Shane at the controls, and Mike “Boat Doctor” Hanson turning wrenches, this team is a threat to win any and every race it enters. HomeStreet was the only boat to Qualify over 160 mph in 2021, both at Tri-Cities and San Diego and had an impressive 2022 Spring Training in Tri-Cities with several laps logged at well over the 160 marker.
Driver: Jimmy King – Wales, WI
Home Port: Evansville, IN
Sponsor: Griggs Ace Hardware
HydroDan Says: After several seasons of one hit wonders, the U3 will attempt a two-step in 2022. The Posey County based team will venture away from the cozy confines of the Cooper Race Shop to run for gold in Guntersville and glory in Tri-Cities under the Griggs Ace Hardware banner. The cherry red piston packer, with veteran Jimmy King behind the wheel, is a threat for heat wins and a podium finish when, and if, the turbo V-12 Allison is running at full song.
Driver: J. Michael Kelly, Bonney Lake, WA
Home Port: Tri-Cities, WA
Sponsor: Miss Tri-Cities
HydroDan Says: 7/25/22 Update: The 8 hull has been renumbered as the U9 for TC, Seattle, and SD. Points are based on U number in D2D so select the U9 for TC, Seattle, or SD if you still have it available in your boat selector. Do not choose the U8 as their will not be a U8 running in the last three races per Strong Racing.
Original: The legendary JMK handled the controls of the new Strong Team with brilliance in 2021 with two race wins and a second place finish, good for second in National High Points. The EIGHT hull, last campaigned by the Ellstrom family in 2014, but lightly raced, is now solidly and beautifully prepared by the up-and-coming team led by motivated owner Darrell Strong. The boat will be twice tested and ready to challenge for gold in Guntersville. Miss Tri-Cities appears to be a betters favorite, along with Miss HomeStreet Bank at the H1 opener, and likely every race thereafter.
Driver: Update: J. Michael Kelly
Home Port: Tri-Cities, WA
Sponsor: Lynx Healthcare/ Miss Tri Cities
07/25/22 Update: The U8 hull with JMK at the wheel has been renumbered as the U9 following the Catastrophic blow-over in Madison by the original U9 hull. Points in D2D are based on U-number so a U9 pick is now for JMK and the renumbered hull at TC, Seattle, and San Diego.
Original: Corey Peabody graduated to a bigger stage in 2021, from Rob Graham’s U-98 second-string hull into the seat of this long-time ex-Jones raceboat. Strong Racing’s second entry was first campaigned in 1992 as the Coors Dry and has been overhauled numerous times since then. With Jeff Campbell turning wrenches and a solid Strong camp behind the 9, Peabody won his first unlimited race at the Tri-Cities super speedway in 2021 when he ran down his own teammate, JMK, who lost the rear wing with a roostertail lead. The U-9 is a proven hull, and Peabody appears worthy behind the wheel. Look for this combination to challenge the frontrunners all season as Peabody gains additional confidence and comfort at the helm.
Driver: Jamie Nilsen, Federal Way, WA
Home Port: Cle Elum, WA
Sponsor: J&D’s Hydraulic and Repair
HydroDan Says: The U-11 will again be running the rebuilt former T-4 Budweiser hull in 2022 as it did during the 2021 campaign. Nilsen and the bright U-11 boat tested at the Vancouver exhibition and are in position to compete in 2022 with the deep and competitive H1 fleet. If those that work hard often get lucky, then Scott Raney and his team are due for racing luck in 2022.
Driver: Andrew Tate – Detroit, MI
Home Port: Seattle, WA
Sponsor: Graham Trucking
7/25/22 Will not be running this season.
To the delight of hydro fans around the world, the former Bud T-6 hull is back with the capable and aggressive Andrew Tate at the controls. Young Tate, son of legendary driver Mark Tate, had a somewhat disappointing season in 2021 with a DSQ in Guntersville for a pre-race DMZ infraction and managed to podium once at Madison. However, Andrew finds himself with nine wins in twenty three events entered, just three race wins behind his father. In fact, on the all-time list only Villwock is ahead for wining percentage and Hanauer is behind him in third all time. The team has made repairs and built parts over the off-season to give Tate better odds in 2022. The 12 has a shot in each H1 gathering this season which will not include Guntersville or Madison this season per recent Team report.
Driver: Brian Perkins
Home Port: Maple Valley, WA
Sponsor: Lakeridge Paving
Update, due to health concerns of the GFTL Owner the boat is not running in 2022.
After a two-year hiatus, the 21 returns to the hydro wars in its home state of Washington and perhaps on Mission Bay in San Diego, per team report. The boat, which debuted in 2019 and has been lightly raced since, showed impressive speed at the Tri-Cities Spring Training event. Perkins is an experienced shoe under the canopy and may share driving duties with newcomer Gunnar O’Farrell. We do not anticipate the team will be in prime position to race for podiums due to the abridged schedule and potential for shared driving responsibility, although the boat may be prepared to collect and score points at the races it enters.
Driver: David Villwock
Home Port: Snohomish, WA
Sponsor: Beacon Plumbing
HydroDan Says: The winningest driver in the sport’s history, the 68-year-old David “Darth” Villwock, will again chauffeur the 40 Beacon Plumbing in 2022. Villwock, in his career, has won 342 heats of 517 entered for a H1-leading .662 winning percentage. The Bucket List team and scrappy owner Kelly Stocklin have reworked this 2007 U-21 hull into a contender. The bright orange Beacon bounced and bounded at times, and displayed good top end speed in 2022, but only managed one podium finish in four races last season. The hull enters the fray with two promising pre-season tests under her belt, with impressively fast laps logged in Tri-Cities Spring Training. DV appears game to challenge for podium finishes all season long.