KENNEWICK -- For all of the new blood in unlimited hydroplane racing, all of the new changes happening, two things seem to remain constant.
Dave Villwock and Steve David.
The two elder statesmen of the driving community were again 1-2 in qualifying Friday at the 46th running of the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup.
Villwock led the way, topping the 14-boat field with a fast time of 160.892 mph in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar.
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"The boat is running pretty good, so far so good," said Villwock. "As much as we fight ourselves, we pride ourselves on being consistent."
To be sure his team stayed on top of the qualifying ladder, and to get the 100 points that go with it, Villwock stayed on the dock to watch the rest of quallifying -- ready to get back in the boat if someone were to top his speed.
Alas, it did not happen.
David, driving a repaired U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, got close at 159.204.
"We tried," said David, who along with the boat missed the APBA Gold Cup two weeks ago in Detroit after he and Villwock collided in the season opener in Madison, Ind. "That was my fault. I was concerned about going over on the N2 violation."
David said there is a gauge that notifies him when that happens -- too many RPMs on the engine, which would disqualify him during that trip out on the water.
"When if flashes, I have to count to two and back off, and I'm OK," he said. "I counted way too fast, and that was the difference (in our speeds). Dave beat me fair and square."
Qualifying anymore doesn't mean anything at a race except for national high points.
"It doesn't do anything for starting positions," said U-17 Miss Red Dot Kip Brown, whose boat leads the season standings. "But after six or seven races, that swing of points adds up. We need to put our best foot forward in qualifying."
Brown did, placing third with a 156.565.
JW Myers, driving the U-11 Stevenson Roofing presents Peters & May, had the fourth fastest qualifying speed at 153.149.
"We made a couple of changes," said Myers. "We hadn't run it at full throttle until now."
Team owner/crew chief Scott Raney agreed.
"JW's right foot is tired tonight," Raney said. "That's a good thing."
In all, five boats were faster than 150 mph, and 13 boats ran the minimum speed of 130 mph.
That's become the norm on the Columbia River, considered by boat racing fans the equivalent to the NASCAR super-speedway of Talladega.
Only the U-99 Miss HAPO Community Credit Union, which arrived in the pits while qualifying was going on, did not hit the water.
It will get a chance today.
Because there are so many boats, H1 Unlimited officials agreed to run an extra heat race today. So there will be a Heat 1A, 1B and 1C. Officials had not yet adjusted the schedule Saturday night.
But Heat 1A was scheduled for 2:50 p.m. today.
H1 officials will wait to see how the fleet shakes out today to determine whether extra heat races will be needed Sunday.