David denies Auburn's Villwork in Seafair showdown

Dave Villwock and the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, left, chases Steve David and the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto during the Albert Lee Cup on Lake Washington last Sunday. David held off Villwock for the victory. - Courtesy photo
Dave Villwock and the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, left, chases Steve David and the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto during the Albert Lee Cup on Lake Washington last Sunday. David held off Villwock for the victory.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

First it was a hot dog. Now it might be a steak.

Unlimited hydroplane racing legend Chip Hanauer said he would buy Steve David the former after he defeated Auburn's Dave Villwock on July 25 in Kennewick. Now Hanauer might have to do a little more after David, who drives the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, staved off Villwock again last Sunday at the Albert Lee Cup at Seafair on Lake Washington.

A win would have given Villwock, who pilots the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, his 61st career victory, which would have tied Hanauer for second. The late Bill Muncey holds the record with 62 wins.

“When do you remember at Seafair seeing two boats that close together for all five laps?” David said. “This is my 22nd year, and I just don’t recall it. He was driving the race of his lifetime, and I was driving mine.”

It was the 12th career win for David, who is first in the National High Points standings heading into the season finale Nov. 20 in Doha, Qatar. But David, who has a 506-point lead heading into that race, was more concerned about preserving another record.

“I told Chip, ‘I’m guarding you buddy, I’m guarding you,’ ” he 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 last competed in 1999 and now serves as a television color commentator at Seafair, said he will not be disappointed when Villwock eventually ties or surpasses his mark.

“There’s nothing I would change about my career,” he said. “The fact that I’m totally happy with my career makes it really easy to root for Dave.”

Villwock took the lead twice during the race, but struggled to keep pace with David into the turns and trailed most of the way.

“I had him caught up once or twice, but I just 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. He bounced out a couple of times and I had to avoid him. That’s just the way it goes.”

Rules dictate an inverted start in Heats 2A and 2B based on qualifying speed. Villwock had the fastest qualifying time and had to race from Lane 6 in Heat 2A, while David’s second quickest time placed him in Lane 5.

David finished third in that heat, while Villwock was fourth. That gave David his lane choice for the final.

Hanauer felt that was the difference in the final as Villwock’s boat was faster and “he would’ve just driven away."

David agreed.

“I was just waiting,” he said. “When is that choo-choo train going past me?”

But Villwock was not so sure.

“Hard telling, but I guess,” he said.

The rivalry between David and Villwock, both 56, does not appear to be ending anytime soon. David, who also teaches in Naples, Fla., denied the retirement rumors that have surrounded him lately.

“I’m coming back for another 30 or 40 years,” he said. “I will kick these young guys’ (behinds) for as long as I can.”

Reach Chris Chancellor at


Albert Lee Cup at Seafair final results

1, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David, 143.288 average mph, 400 points; 2, U-96 Spirit of Qatar, Dave Villwock, 142.714 average mph, 300 points; 3, U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance, Brian Perkins, 128.469 average mph, 225 points; 4, U-5, Jeff Bernard, 123.831 average mph, 169 points; 5, U-37 Miss Peters & May, Jon Zimmerman, 112.215 average mph, 127 points; 6, U-7 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly, 0 mph, 71 points.

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