Evans takes fourth, was looking for more

July 28, 2013 

Chelan’s Mark Evans drove his 57 FEDCO to a fourth-place finish in the final of the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, and he thought he could have done better.

“I thought we were gonna get third,” he said.

Evans was looking for a lane in the pre-start milling.

“I started to look inside a bit,” he said. “I looked in there, but it tightened up a bit. Then reality sets in when you see two other boats with blowovers. So I went back to how I usually start races (on the outside, but at full speed). We’ve been pretty consistent with our starts.”

• The Tri-Cities’ Chris Denslow was honored Sunday night by being named the recipient of the 2013 Vic Nelawake Unlimited Spirit Award.

The award recognizes an individual whose voluntary contributions to unlimited hydroplane racing stand out among all volunteers and have demonstrated the same selfless dedication and inspiring that the late Nelawake had.

The award is sponsored by Unlimiteds Detroit.

Denslow attends each race and photographs the action, then selflessly gives his photos to teams and media organizations.

• Nick Bononcini hopes he and his competitors in the 1-litre class made enough of an impression on the Water Follies board that it will invite the boat racers back next year.

“We were running an exhibition this weekend, but we want to run in the Columbia Cup,” said Bononcini, who ended up winning the weekend’s final heat race.

Bononcini said his region competitors race against each other 10 to 12 times a year.

“And some of us do even more if we go back to the east coast to get more national points,” he said.

Right now, the top region competitor is Kayleigh Mallory, better known to many fans at the Columbia Cup as Kayleigh Perkins a few years ago before she got married.

“She and I swap heat victories all of the time,” Bononcini said.

The 1-liters can get up to 91 mph on laps, said Bononcini, who is in his fourth year racing in this class.

“Someday I’d like to race an unlimited,” he said. “But I’m 25, and they just don’t throw you in an unlimited.”

So he’ll keep on getting his seat time for experience.

“I’m happy with what we did this weekend,” said Bononcini. “We won three races. Time to go celebrate with a non-alcoholic drink.”

Mallory finished second in the final, followed by Corey Peabody in third, and Ryan Mallow in fourth.

• Bob Schellhase, the owner of the GP-12 Fox Plumbing & Heating, might have found a pit crew if he ever starts an auto racing team.

Schellhase said his team had two tires blow out on their trailer on the way to the Tri-Cities this weekend.

“It was just past Yakima,” he said. “I want to thank those guys at Les Schwab in Wapato. They got the tires replaced, and got us here in time for some promotions. It took them less than an hour from the time it happened for the tires to get fixed.”

Quick hits: Water Follies President Mike Denslow handed the Oberto team a trophy with a key on it, calling it the Key to Bernie’s Tree trophy, given to the team who wins the Columbia Cup and then earns the right to set up camp the following season under the tree in Lampson Pits as defending champion. The team must give the trophy back to the Water Follies board when it arrives next year. ... Oberto driver Steve David sees a bright future in the sport with all of the young drivers. “Unlimited hydroplane racing is in great shape with these young guys,” said the 59-year-old David. “But right now, I’m enjoying kicking these guys’ butts.”

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