U-9 Jones driver Zimmerman takes high hopes into Gold Cup

July 15, 2012 

DETROIT — Jon Zimmerman of Maple Valley might struggle to make today's final of the 103rd running of the APBA Gold Cup on the Detroit River, but he won't leave anything on the table attempting to make the six-man field.

Zimmerman is the driver you go to in a pinch when someone is hurt or unavailable.

He subbed for JW Myers after he crashed his Miss Peters & May boat in the heats of the Gold Cup in Detroit in 2010 and broke his left leg.

In 2011, when Steve David busted a couple ribs in a season-opening crash in the Oh Boy! Oberto in Madison, Ind., Zimmerman hopped in his unlimited hydroplane for Detroit.

Now Zimmerman, a world-record holder in a number of inboard limited classes, is piloting the U-9 boat for Jones Racing, with backing this weekend from Al Deeby Chrysler.

“Deeby — they are great sponsors and have treated us well,” Zimmerman said. “We are happy to have them aboard.” Winning a Gold Cup would be a dream come true for Zimmerman, although he’s a long shot right now.

“The Detroit River has so much history,” Zimmerman said. “The course here can be rough and tricky, but I like it. You get to stretch your legs out there.”

A super substitute driver, Zimmerman wants more stability, however.

“I was really excited last year when I subbed for Steve,” Zimmerman said. “I didn’t have a drive. I’ve raced for five teams in two years, but I hope I can grow some roots here at Jones Racing.

“We are building a program for the long haul, and we are going to do well. I like it here. I just hope I don’t mess up and make them mad.”

Zimmerman will push on today in the heats to try and make it to the final, giving it his best shot.

“I’d love to win, but, realistically, the top qualifiers are nine miles per hour faster than us,” he said. “Something would have to happen for us to win, but it’s happened before, so we aren’t taking ourselves out of it.”

Phipps in peril

Cal Phipps’ misfortune continued on the Detroit River on Saturday.

The Sterling Heights, Mich., racer failed to finish in his two heats of the Gold Cup unlimited hydroplane entering today’s final.

His U-13 Tubby’s Grilled Subs boat has had chronic fuel line and engine problems all week.

It got worse Saturday, and he appears to have no shot at running today.

Disappointed in penalty

Steve David, driver of the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, was penalized one lap in Heat 2A of the Gold Cup heats Saturday for jumping the score-up buoy and finished third to Jimmy Shane (U-5 Graham Trucking).

David, who seeks his first Gold Cup victory today, did not like the penalty.

“It was a BS call,” David said. “I can’t believe they have no camera in the following helicopter. It’s inexcusable.”

Added David, who had romped in the heat before getting the infraction: “Our boat is running great. We’ll keep moving forward.”

Tough to beat

Dave Villwock swept his two Gold Cup heats Saturday in the U-1 Spirit of Qatar 96 boat and showed dazzling straightaway speed.

He will be tough to beat if he lines up for this afternoon’s final at 1:20 p.m.

Villwock, who tested at around 166 mph Saturday, won’t count his chickens before they hatch, however, in talking about a 10th Gold Cup victory.

“There are lots of people who could (win) in the 155 (mph) range,” Villwock said. “Lots of things could go wrong. You have to make the final to win it.”

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