KENNEWICK — The mental games between Steve David and Jimmy Shane were apparent Sunday down on the Columbia River.
When David zigged, Shane zagged. When Shane moved one way, David would be there too.
In the end — on a day that fans witnessed two hydroplanes blowing over — it was the 59-year-old veteran David, driving the Oh Boy! Oberto, outdueling the 27-year-old Shane in the Graham Trucking for the 48th Columbia Cup title.
It was the Oberto team’s first chance to win a race after losing the Detroit Gold Cup two weeks ago on a controversial decision by a race official. And the Oberto team showed Sunday that it means business.
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“We’re here to win every race from here on out and all three heat races each weekend,” said David. “We also have a 237-point lead over the Graham team going into Seafair (this weekend in Seattle).”
Earlier, in heat 3B, the only other time this weekend the two titans went up against each other, Shane got the inside lane at the start and held off David for the victory.
“So we had a feel for what we wanted to do in the final,” said David. “I said (to crew chief Mike Hanson) just give me a box ratio with top-end speed for the final.”
As the final was getting ready to start, Shane shadowed David’s moves throughout the pre-race milling period, but David put his foot on the gas and found his way into the inside lane at the start.
“If we drug them all the way to the end, I knew (Shane) would slow down,” said David. “I raced him all the way down the backstretch, but then I shut things down at the entry pin (before the start).”
For four laps, Shane stayed within striking distance, riding on David’s hip within a few boat lengths, but David had too much speed and Shane could never catch him.