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Shane captures dramatic Bayfair final; David retires | Hydros
Jimmy Shane pulled off a remarkable comeback to take the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane National High Points championship with a win Sunday on San Diego's Mission Bay.
For Shane, driving the U-5 Graham Trucking hydro, it was his third consecutive final heat win, following up victories at Seafair in early August and Coeur d'Alene on Labor Day Weekend.
"This has just been an incredible experience driving for this team," he said afterward. "I always know I can drive the boat as hard as I need to because they are going to have everything working right."
Shane denied Steve David of his seventh drivers championship and prevented the Kent-affiliated U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto crew from securing its fifth team title.
David, who announced his retirement on Friday, entered the weekend with a 63-point lead in the season standings. But the Floridian was penalized after crossing the starting line too early in the final.
Despite leading the championship heat all five laps, David was forced to settle for fourth place.
A disappointed David was quick to praise the 28-year-old Shane.
"I have known Jimmy since he was born and I am really proud that young guns like him have come along," David said. "They are great people and great drivers and I am confident with the future of the sport in their hands."
The day started well for David in the Oberto, racing Shane in Heat 2A and finishing first, adding 100 points to his high points lead. The two held serve the rest of the day. David won again in 3A and Shane took the checkered flag in 3B. With David's lead at 163 points going into the final, he only needed a second-place finish to take the season championship.
Kip Brown was the other Sunday prelim winner driving the U-95 Spirit of Qatar.
The final heat provided more drama. Before the start, David moved from Lane 2 to Lane 1 in front of Shane, who got high in the air going through the Oberto roostertail. From that point, David led all the way. But a review of the start showed he had "jumped the gun," crossing the line at the start too soon. The one-lap penalty moved David to the back of the field before penalties during tech inspection moved him up to fourth.
Shane, who thanked his owner Ted Porter and sponsor Rob Graham for a championship ride, told the crowd: "Get used to seeing me here. This is the best place in the world for a boat race and I will be coming back every year for a long time."
David ends stellar career
David leaves the competitive waters as the sport's winningest active driver. He accumulated 18 wins, six drivers championships, four national championships and 11 top qualifier poles in 25 years racing unlimited hydroplanes.
David, who turns 60 years old in January, had been contemplating his retirement for some time. He had hoped to win one race on the hydroplane circuit that he doesn't have in his trophy cabinet – the Detroit Gold Cup. But after a heartbreaking loss this year, having battled for the Gold Cup 22 times, placing second 12 times, David said he felt maybe the 109-year-old trophy and motorsports' oldest active trophy just wouldn't fit in his trophy cabinet or his record book.
"I have dreamed for years of winning the Gold Cup," the modest David said, "but it wasn't meant to be. I believe that God didn't give me what I wanted, but rather what I needed. It is fully acceptable to me."
David continued: "(What) I needed from boat racing was to have met the thousands of fans and friends that have supported me through thick and thin, wins and losses, and some painful crashes. Everyone I have met in my 44 years of boat racing is part of my record book and in my trophy cabinet. To me that is better than the Gold Cup."
SAN DIEGO BAYFAIR
at Mission Bay, San Diego
Length: 2.5 miles (no speeds available)
1. Jimmy Shane, 5 Graham Trucking; 2. Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May; 3. Greg Hopp, 14 Miss DiJulio; 4. Steve David, 1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison*. Kip Brown, 95 Spirit of Qatar, DSQ**; Mike Webster, 22 Big 5 Sporting Goods, DNF.
* penalized one lap for jumping the gun.
** disqualfied for flagrant fuel violation.
2013 FINAL POINTS STANDINGS
1. 5 Graham Trucking, 10,532; 2. 1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, 10,464; 3. 95 Spirit of Qatar, 8,234; 4. 9 Team Red Dot, 5,926; 5. 37 Miss Beacon Plumbing, 5,841; 6. 11 Peters & May, 5,586; 7. 57 FEDCO, 4,806; 8. 22 Webster Racing, 3,639; 9. 14 Centurion Racing, 3,349; 10. 21 Go Fast, Turn Left Racing, 1,440.
1. Jimmy Shane, 5, 10,532; 2. Steve David, 1, 10,464; 3. Kip Brown, 95, 8,234; 4. Jon Zimmerman, 9, 5,926; 5. J. Michael Kelly, 37, 5,841; 6. Tom Thompson, 11, 5,586; 7. N. Mark Evans, 57, 4,031; 8. Mike Webster, 22, 3,639; 9. Greg Hopp, 14, 3,349; 10. Brian Perkins, 21, 1,440.