On his final lifeline, Jimmy Shane needed not one, not two, but three big performances Sunday to etch his name into Seattle’s unlimited hydroplane record books.
With just 70 points heading into the final day of the Albert Lee Appliance Cup at Seafair, Shane, in the 5 Graham Trucking boat, blazed through his first two heats and set up the final he had longed for all weekend — one with archrival Steve David and the 1 Oh Boy! Oberto.
Shane executed his plan of attack to perfection and stole the inside lane from David before building a lead that proved insurmountable.
“We were saving something special for the final and it all worked out; the whole package came together,” Shane said after celebrating with crew members.
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Entering Sunday’s final, David, the national points leader, hadn’t left any points on the board after placing first in Friday’s qualifying, Saturday’s 1A heat and Sunday’s 2B and 3B heats. His goal: to win a fourth consecutive Seafair title and surpass the record held by hydros legend Bill Muncey.
Shane was in a different predicament. The 27-year-old earned 70 points after finishing third in Friday’s qualifier, and a broken bleed band forced him to withdraw from Saturday’s 1B heat.
But he turned things around in a hurry and won Sunday’s 2A heat before finishing second in the 3A heat.
He was paired with David in the final, just as he was in the final of the previous weekend’s Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, where he conceded the inside lane to the Oh Boy! Oberto. Shane had no intention of making the same mistake twice.
“We were going to have to do everything we could to try and get position on him,” Shane said. “That was the key to this race, getting to lane one, getting the position. I thought if got inside of him I had a really good shot.”
David’s kryptonite proved to be a mediocre start — something he’d had no problem with all weekend — as he allowed J. Michael Kelly in the 37 Miss Beacon Plumbing and Kip Brown in the 95 Spirit of Qatar to slip into the second and third lanes.
“I guess that record’s just meant to stand for a while,” David said of Muncey’s mark.
Stuck in lane four, David zipped past Kelly and Brown but couldn’t track down Shane, who won his fourth career race and second of the season in claiming the first Seafair title for Graham Trucking.
“I just should’ve moved over and protected that position,” David said. “We had speed on him but it just took too long… The kid was fast, there was just no way in four we were going to get him. Three, we had him.”
Sunday wasn’t all bad for David, who has won four of the last five national championships. Shane’s early-weekend struggles left him in a major hole in the national-points standings race and the chase for unlimited’s biggest prize will be an even more daunting task for the Graham Trucking boat after the Oh Boy! Oberto finished with 1,600 points on the weekend to the Graham Trucking’s 1,170.
David held a 233-point advantage after the Columbia Cup and increased it to 663.
Brown finished third, while Kelly was fourth. In the trailer boat, Jon Zimmerman erased his 5-second deficit — a result of winning the provisional heat — and finished fifth.
The unlimited tour continues at the Coeur d’Alene Diamond Cup, starting Aug. 30 on Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho, and concludes Sept. 13-15 at the San Diego Bayfair.
|Final heat results|
|5 Graham Trucking||Jimmy Shane||142.874|
|1 Oh Boy! Oberto||Steve David||139.924|
|95 Spirit of Qatar||Kip Brown||133.441|
|37 Miss Beacon Plumbing||J. Michael Kelly||127.075|
|9 Team RedDOT||Jon Zimmerman||124.918|
Theo Lawson: email@example.com.