SEATTLE -- Steve David drove what he called the race of his life to hold off Dave Villwock and win the Albert Lee Cup at Seafair on Sunday.
David used the inside lane to hold off Villwock for five close, hard laps to win the 60th running of an unlimited hydroplane race on Lake Washington.
"I've been racing here 22 years and I can't ever recall a race as close as that," David said. "He was driving the race of his lifetime and that was the race of mine."
David and the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto won by less than a roostertail to capture the 12th victory of his career. The win also gives him a commanding lead in the national points race heading into the final race of the season in Qatar in November.
Villwock, who has 60 wins in his career, remains one win behind Chip Hanauer and two behind Bill Muncey for the most in the history of the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing.
"I told Chip, 'I'm guarding it buddy, I'm guarding it,' " David said. "Chip has been a dear friend and a good mentor for a long time so the longer I can keep his record intact, the better."
Hanauer, who serves as a television commentator for the race, thanked David after he won two weeks ago in Kennewick by saying he would have to buy him a hot dog.
Now, he says he may have to buy him David a steak.
"I got another reprieve, but since there's nothing I would change about my career, I'm happy and can root for Dave (Villwock)," Hanauer said. "I was just excited to watch such a great race because neither driver left anything out on the racecourse."
Both drivers nailed the start and Villwock took the lead briefly twice during the race but was unable to stay with David in the turns. David's lead was never more than a roostertail as the two separated themselves from the rest of the field.
"I caught up once or twice but got caught in a couple of waves and fell back," Villwock said. "We raced as hard as we could, gave it our best shot, and it just didn't work out for us today. He bounced out a couple of times and I had to avoid him. That's just the way it goes."
Race rules call for an inverted start in Heats 2A and 2B based on qualifying speed. Villwock had the fastest qualifying speed and had to race from Lane 6 in Heat 2A while David, who had the second-fastest qualifying speed, had Lane 5.
David finished third and Villwock fourth in that heat and that is what gave David lane choice for the final.
"No, I couldn't have won from the outside lane because he had acceleration on me," David said.
Villwock wasn't quite so sure.
"It's hard telling, but I guess I would have won today," Villwock said.
David put the win at the top in his career.
"Every win is significant but this one probably tops them all because of the immense pressure of being the home of the Oberto Company," David said after winning Seafair for the second time on Lake Washington. "It just doesn't get any better than this."
The win also gives David a 506-point lead in the national points champion race heading into the final race of the season in Qatar in November.
"I would love to get a third straight national championship because then only us and Budweisder would have won three in a row," David said. "That's our goal heading into Qatar."
David, 56, also quashed any retirement rumors.
"I'm coming back for another 30 or 40 years," David said. "I will kick these young guys' asses for as long as I can."