KENNEWICK -- One week from today someone will hoist the trophy of the 45th Lamb Weston Columbia Cup.
And according to H1 Unlimited, the champion will come from one of 11 teams entered.
* The U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto and driver Steve David.
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* The U-5 Formulaboats.com and driver Jeff Bernard.
* The U-7 Graham Trucking and driver J Michael Kelly.
* The U-13 Spirit of Detroit and driver Cal Phipps.
* The U-17 Miss Red Dot and driver Nate Brown.
* The U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance and driver Brian Perkins.
* The U-22 Matrix Systems and driver Mike Webster.
* The U-25 Superior Racing and driver Ken Muscatel.
* The U-37 Miss Peters & May and driver Jon Zimmerman.
* The U-96 Spirit of Qatar and driver Dave Villwock.
* And the U-100 Leland Unlimited and driver Greg Hopp.
What's not listed is just as interesting.
The U-3 Go3 Race Team, the circuit's only piston-powered unlimited, isn't making the trip out West this year. In fact, the team isn't racing at all this season because of a feud between U-3 owner Ed Cooper Jr. and H1 officials.
The problem stems from the Madison, Ind., race on the Fourth of July weekend.
H1 officials announced at a drivers meeting on Friday that there would be no qualifying allowed on Saturday because heat races were already scheduled.
Cooper argued that the H1 rulebook allows two days of testing and qualifying at a three-day event; and that there should be a minimum of six hours of qualifying and testing per day. But H1 officials cancelled qualifying for Saturday, and Cooper withdrew his boat from racing.
Later, he put a statement up on his website:
"The Go3 Race Team withdrew from competition at the Madison Race because the leadership of H1 refuses to follow the written rules of the organization. There is a reason why rules are written and precedents under the rules are followed. One reason for this is that the leadership of an organization cannot change the rules with a 'new interpretation.' For me the actions of the leadership of H1 are no longer tolerable."
Cooper did not return a phone call to the Herald on Saturday. But it looks like there will be no thunder coming with the unlimiteds.
-- Meanwhile, the U-37 Miss Peters & May team announced Saturday that Jon Zimmerman has been hired to drive the boat for the rest of the season.
He replaces JW Myers, who suffered a broken foot when he crashed the boat into a seawall at the Detroit Gold Cup last weekend after a skid fin broke.
The video, which can be found on Youtube, is pretty frightening. But it also showed a great piece of driving by Myers, who could have easily driven the boat into the pits or onshore and crash into boats and fans.
Instead, he cranked the boat to the right and hit the seawall at 100 mph.
The collision pretty much destroyed the boat, and team owners Billy and Jane Schumacher have leased a boat from Fred Leland's fleet for the rest of the season.
Zimmerman is a rookie driver who got seat time in Madison with the U-25 Superior Racing and Dr. Ken Muscatel.
Muscatel, who brought his boat to the Tri-Cities in May for testing, had planned on sharing the cockpit this season with Zimmerman. He'll have to do all of the racing now in the U-25.
ROUNDUP: The U-9 Jones Racing team had announced earlier this year it had planned to run in both the Tri-Cities and Seattle. But it looks as if racing in the Tri-Cities won't happen. ... It looks as if 12 Unlimited Lights will also race in the Tri-Cities next weekend. ... It wasn't on the schedule this year. But Evansville, Ind., officials finally announced last week that there would not be any boats racing at the annual Thunder on the Ohio in August. ... Myers is scheduled to have surgery on his foot Wednesday. ... Villwock is driving the U-96, sponsored by Sheikh Hassan, who brought the boats to Doha, Qatar, last year and will do so again. It's still Erick Ellstrom's operation (the old U-16 Miss Elam Plus). Just a different number and paint scheme. ... The top three teams coming into the Tri-Cities? Oberto and David in first with 3,305 points; Villwock and the U-96 next at 3,107; and Kelly and the U-7 in third at 2,800.
* Jeff Morrow: 509-582-1507; firstname.lastname@example.org