From H1 Unlimited
For Defending National Champion Steve David in the 1 Oh Boy! Oberto and defending Columbia Cup Champion Jimmy Shane in the 5 Graham Trucking, the 2013 Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup was all about the "fight for lanes" before the start.
Neither was able to win from lane two when the two were in the same heat and when David got the inside for the final it was enough to make the difference and return the Oberto team to the top of the Tri-Cities podium. Shane stayed on David's hip the entire five laps, but David built a two second lead by the end of the third lap and kept that advantage to the checkered flag.
One minute before the start, David was in lane three, outside Kip Brown in one in the 95 Spirit of Qatar and Shane in two. At the start, David had moved into lane one and explained, "We put in the acceleration package and it paid off. I was able to get the overlap on Kip and Jamie and take the lane."
On the importance of being inside, David added, "It really is. Jimmy is the future of the sport and he is really fast. That team gives him a great boat and he is going to be out front for a long time."
Brown arrived at the score up buoy too early and was penalized back to seventh place. Jon Zimmerman in the 9 Fox Plumbing presents Team RedDOT got the third spot on the podium.
Sunday racing started out routinely with no one challenging David for the inside at the start of Heat 2A and cruising to a victory over Zimmerman who finished second.
But Heat 2B had to be stopped when J Michael Kelly blew over in the 37 Beacon Plumbing as he entered turn two running outside Shane and Brown.
Kelly was checked out and allowed to stay in the pit area but damage to the boat was severe. "I'm alright. I feel terrible that the guys are going to have to spend this next week repairing the boat. We lost a prop, but we are not sure when. We could have lost it at impact. The boat got light. I had full canard, but I couldn't do anything else. I closed my eyes because I thought I would get hurt on this one. Fortunately, I didn't," said a sore Kelly.
In the restart, Shane took the inside lane away from Brown on the backstretch before the start and controlled the heat with Brown second and Brian Perkins third.
Heat 3A matched Shane and David for the first time in the weekend. Shane timed his run around to the one minute "score up" buoy perfectly and used lane one to hold off David for all three laps, scoring an impressive heat win. Zimmerman ran third with Perkins fourth.
Heat 3B saw the second blowover accident of the day. Kelly Stocklin replaced Ryan Mallow in the 100 Leland Unlimited early in the day and was racing Mike Webster for fourth place when he went completely over on the backstretch. The boat went past 360 and landed on the transom. The heat had to be stopped.
Up ahead, Brown was in a close race with Thompson and Evans but had moved out to a lead before the accident. With more than two laps completed, the heat was called completed with Brown first, Thompson second and Evans third.
Perkins drove the 21 to a win in the provisional heat over Hopp and Webster, earning a spot as the trailer boat in the final. He then turned the boat over to Jamie Nilsen who needed one more heat of competition to become fully qualified as an unlimited driver. Nilsen will drive the team's 48 Snoqualmie Casino in next week's Albert Lee Cup at Seafair on Seattle's Lake Washington.
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