Fantasy Unlimited Hydroplane Racing

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Detroit Preview and Three 2 Think About

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Deck2Deck Staff

The Detroit River will host the APBA Gold Cup this weekend as the H1 Unlimited fleet rolls into the Motor City. This will mark the fourth event on the 2013 H1 calendar, but only the third race run this season. Foul weather and steadily rising river levels last weekend in Madison forced the cancellation of the Indiana Governor’s Cup without a hydro ever hitting the water.

Last week’s turbulence on the Ohio should bring an uncharacteristic calmness to the Horace Dodge Pits in the coming days: Madison’s tight racecourse and debris-filled waters routinely show little mercy to the fragile unlimited hulls, and teams often spend the week between the Indiana and Michigan tour stops thrashing to complete repairs. This year, the boats will charge toward the Roostertail Turn in pristine condition, with an extra week of tuning under the cowling. The Gold Cup and the UIM Championship are the only races to feature a fourth flight of heats. With Doha already in the books for 2013, this weekend’s event offers the final opportunity for those additional points that will be awarded to the boats that can endure the extra laps at full speed.

With no rescheduled date for Madison in 2013, fantasy players should note that the complexion of the Deck2Deck season has changed. On one hand, the season has contracted to seven races and players will not need to dig as deep to make a high-pointing selection for each of the remaining events. On the other hand, Deck2Deck players lost an opportunity to gain higher heat points at Madison, where A/B/C sections composed of fewer boats are traditionally conducted, rather than the usual halving of the fleet into A and B sections.

HydroDan’s Three 2 Think About:

Elusive Gold: Conventional wisdom says that the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto is the odds-on favorite, and the Miss Madison’s speed and performance in 2012 and 2013 are undeniable. However, Gold has eluded Steve David his entire career as an unlimited driver, and he can expect Jimmy Shane to hang it all out in the U-5 Graham Trucking, giving close chase. Hot Shoe and New Dad Shane has never had a better opportunity to put his name on the trophy, racing with owner Ted Porter’s full concentration on the U-5 hull and in the absence of reigning Gold Cup champion Dave Villwock.

Gaining Fast: These top contenders both drive for teams based in Indiana, and if the Governor’s Cup had been run, the U-1 and U-5 would have had a distinct advantage as they made repairs and refreshed the boats in their home shops. Now, all teams will set up in Detroit with a hauler full of spares and cherry hulls. This boosts the chances of the U-9 Miss Red Dot, the venerable sled chauffeured by the formidable Jon Zimmerman. Driving this same hull, Mike Hanson won Gold as the Miss Tubby’s Grilled Subs in 2001. Could it be that Zim, who has been impressive so far in 2013, will find a little magic dust from ’01 and guide this Jones Racing hull to victory again?

Defending Champ: Dave Villwock, the all-time winningest driver and the 2012 Gold Cup champion, will find himself in an unusual position this weekend: without a ride to defend his title. The U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing team has taken on Villwock as an advisor and crew member while J. Michael Kelly mans the controls of the Schumachers’ hull. A fierce competitor, it is hard to imagine Villwock content to sit on the sidelines. But since he has given no indication of a return to driving, perhaps this is the week for his participation in the 37 program to bear fruit. Kelly, sitting in a respectable fifth place in the National Points standings, can benefit greatly from Villwock’s expertise and winning ways. In an exclusive pre-season interview with Deck2Deck, Kelly indicated that the 37 has performed well in the past in Detroit and he believes the hull is a good match for its big racecourse.

Posted on: Jul 11 2013 12:02 AM UTC Edited on: Jul 11 2013 03:54 AM UTC
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