From H1 Unlimited
The early rounds of racing in the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities went true to the racing form as favorites Jimmy Shane in the 5 Graham Trucking and Steve David in the 1 Oh Boy! Oberto won heats 1A and 1B.
Shane was not challenged for the inside lane in the first Saturday prelim and the defending Columbia Cup Champion used the short way around the course to stay ahead of Jon Zimmerman in the 9 Team RedDOT who ran second all five laps.
Mark Evans' 57 FEDCO made a strong run in third place, staying ahead of Tom Thompson in the 11 Peters & May who ran fourth.
Shane said, "We're back!" The fuel problems that plagued the team during qualifying appeared to be solved.
Shane said he made a conservative start without really "trolling" adding, "I wanted to see where we needed to be in the Sunday heats. Now after watching 1B, I can see where Kip (Brown) wants to be."
Team owner Ted Porter added, "We worked so late solving our problems last night it took a second round of pizzas before we were sure we everything ready to go. Now we have several engine and gear combinations we can run."
Newly qualified driver Jamie Nilsen started on the outside and behind the field in the GoFastTurnLeft team's 21 and finished fifth.
Heat 1B started with Kip Brown in the 95 Spirit of Qatar parking in lane one very early and crawling through the first turn before reaching the score-up buoy. J Michael Kelly in the 37 Miss Beacon Plumbing joined him in lane two and kept it around to the start, forcing David out to lane three.
The lane proved to be no problem for the defending series high point champ as David established the lead on the first backstretch and drove the Oberto away from Brown and Kelly who battled for second place. Brown's inside advantage helped him to hold off Kelly who finished third.
David said, "Our guys set the boat up for a rough first turn and our plan was to run in lane three. Once I got the lead I just stayed wide and avoided any penalties. In the Sunday heats, we'll decide on a lane depending on who we are racing…and that's all I'm going to tell you."
Greg Hopp was fourth in the 14 Miss DiJulio and Mike Webster ran fifth in the 22 Webster Racing.
Racing resumes Sunday morning at 10:20am with the running of Heat 2A.
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