Fantasy Unlimited Hydroplane Racing

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Tri-Cities Preview and Three 2 Think About

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Deck2Deck Staff

After a jinxed visit to the Ohio River and a thrilling Gold Cup in Detroit, the H1 Unlimited fleet returns west to Tri-Cities, Washington for the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, July 26-28. For the many teams with home ports in the Evergreen State, this weekend begins a two-week stint of racing in front of friends and family, with local pride and bragging rights at stake. And for Deck2Deck players all over the world, the Columbia Cup heralds the more-challenging second half of the season, when many fantasy players have already selected the highest-pointing boats.

Are you looking for an edge to inform your pick? The thunderboats have been racing on the Columbia since 1966, and Deck2Deck player Gary Dougherty has organized a database of podium finishers and top qualification speeds from the first Atomic Cup through the 2012 race. Get into all the stats by visiting his blog Horse Racing / Seattle Sports.

Tri-Cities Historical Results

Deck2Deck players should also note that the fleet will grow by one this weekend as the U-21 Albert Lee Appliance, chauffeured by Brian Perkins, gets wet for the first time in 2013. Expect the 21 to appear at Seattle’s Seafair race as well with her sister-ship, the U-48 Snoqualmie Casino. Rookie Jamie Nilsen will be at the controls of the 48 in Seattle after getting in some laps aboard the 21 on the Columbia River.

HydroDan’s Three 2 Think About:

Brown Holds Gold: At the controls of his uncle’s U-95 Spirit of Qatar in Detroit, Kip Brown earned his first career race victory and etched his name on the storied trophy in one memorable weekend for the Brown family. Uncle Nate first put the Brown name on the cup in 2004, and Deck2Deck players should expect the Our Gang Racing team to race with confidence on the Columbia. In an exclusive pre-season interview with Deck2Deck, Kip indicated that the Columbia Cup course best suits his driving ability and his team’s equipment. Expect the Gold Cup champ to back his improbable win with a solid performance. However, you can’t count out the defending Columbia Cup champ Jimmy Shane in the U-5 Graham Trucking or defending National Champion Steve David in the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto as they look to regain momentum after a disappointing outcome in Detroit.

Strong Comeback: A violent blowover on the Detroit River in 2012 left U-22 owner-driver Mike Webster bruised and his beautiful red, white and blue boat badly damaged. The Webster family out of Reading, PA spent nearly a year rebuilding and preparing the hull to return to competition following the catastrophic incident. Teething pains prevented this mostly-new hull from impressing in Sacramento, where Webster got a chance to shake down his rebuilt boat for the first time. But while most of the news coming out of Detroit in 2013 focused on a contested call in the final, the strong performance from the 22 went mostly overlooked. Webster placed sixth in the final heat, just 189 points behind hot shoe Jimmy Shane in the U-5. If not for a mechanical issue, the U-22 was headed to the podium in Detroit. Deck2Deck players looking to dig deeper in the fleet may be pleased with the 22’s upward trend.

Bearing Fruit: If Scott Raney’s Unlimited Racing Group didn’t have bad luck, they wouldn’t have any at all. After rebuilding the former U-11 Peters and May sled following a Gold Cup flip in 2012, the hard-luck camp experienced another devastating crash at the 2013 season opener. The URG team decided to revive the T-4 hull that was, for all intents and purposes, destroyed in the infamous 2010 Detroit sea-wall collision. The team finally tasted the sweet fruit of success as URG chauffeur Tom Thompson earned his first podium finish at the 2013 Gold Cup. The sky finally appears to be the limit for this proven boat and hardworking team.

Posted on: Jul 24 2013 06:21 PM UTC Edited on: Jul 24 2013 08:48 PM UTC
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