DETROIT -- Dave Villwock has found many different ways to earn his 58 career unlimited hydroplane victories.
But on Sunday, even he was surprised with the new way he found to win the 100th running of the APBA Gold Cup, as he drove the U-16 Miss Elam Plus to victory on the Detroit River.
Prior to the start of the race at the 1-minute gun, Villwock hadn't even made a complete warm up lap, as he barely made "forward progress" on the race course.
He positioned himself in Lane 1 and U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto driver Steve David had to settle for Lane 2.
Instead of an "on-plane" as in prior years, ABRA officials said drivers would only need to make "forward progress" approaching the start of the race.
In essence, Villwock's boat became a drag racer, as he hit the gas at the starting line. David spent the rest of the race trying to catch Villwock, but he couldn't do it.
"That was pretty cool," Villwock told the Herald on Sunday. "The other drivers are used to seeing me slice around the field. They're not used to seeing these drag race starts."
Villwock said the team came up with the perfect setup for the boat.
"We had a setup for high speed, but we had been setting up this morning to go super slow, then go to a high speed," he said. "In the final, we threw them a big changeup. It's a pretty difficult task if I didn't make a perfect start and I didn't get out in front.
"It was an all-or-nothing play."
David just couldn't do anything to catch Villwock after the start.
"Lane 1 is still the shortest way around this angry Detroit River, and Villwock just got to Lane 1 before us by 'trolling,' " David said. "We knew what he was up to when he made the slight modification to his boat last night. He used the rules to his advantage."
Villwock won with an average speed of 141.239 mph, while David was second at 138.270.
Jeff Bernard in the U-5 Formulaboats.com was third at 136.266, while J.Michael Kelly drove the U-7 Miss Graham Trucking to a fourth-place finish at 136.200.
Greg Hopp was fifth in the U-100 Jarvis Painting at 66.094 mph.
David still led the weekend with 1,980 national points, and Villwock left Detroit with 1,677.
But Villwock drove away with his seventh career Gold Cup victory.
"Old age and treachery wins out over youth and exuberance," he said.