Miss Beacon Plumbing Driver: Dave Villwock

In 2021, Dave Villwock returns to unlimited racing after a five-year hiatus. “When Kelly and Sharon bought the boat, the opportunity to return to the cockpit of Miss Beacon Plumbing.”

Villwock’s resume places him it the rarified air of drivers; he has won 67 H1 Unlimited races, 10 APBA Gold Cups, and 10 H1 National Driving Championships.In a ten-year span, he won 145 heats of the 223 started. Dave’s take on his success puts his career in perspective. “I don’t know where my record stands, but if there is a Mt. Rushmore for unlimited hydroplane drivers, I think I’ve earned a place with all-time greats and that’s pretty cool!”

Before he became a driver, Miss Circus Circus team owner Bill Bennett hired Villwock to sort out his boat. Within two years, Villwock and his crew helped Chip Hanauer drive to the national championship.

After many years of success on the flat-bottom circuit, Dave Villwock was offered to drive Ron Jones Jr’s Coor’s Dry at the 1992 San Diego race. Much to the surprise of the experts, Dave Villwock became the second driver in history to win his first unlimited race. Little did those who saw the win realize that they had witnessed the beginning of Hall of Fame career.

Two years later, Villwock joined Fred Leland’s PICO American Dream racing team. In addition to driving, Villwock worked his magic, turning Leland’s middle-of-the-pack team into a winner. 1996 was a breakthrough year for Dave Villwock. He won six out of eight races and secured the first of his ten driving championships. Racing on the Detroit River, Dave Villwock won the first of ten APBA Gold Cups.

In 1997, Miss Budweiser team owner Bernie Little hired Villwock to drive and improve his boat’s performance. Little expounded on the selection of Dave Villwock. “He is not just a great driver, but he has a lot of knowledge that he can use to make Miss Budweiser even better.” While at the Budweiser team, Dave Villwock brought in Kelly Stocklin to develop a propeller program. That year, Dave rewarded Bernie Little with an APBA Gold Cup and the national championship. By the time Miss Budweiser retired, Villwock owned the record for most career wins for the legendary team. When Budweiser left the sport in 2004, his career seemed uncertain.

Villwock joined Erick Ellstrom’s Miss Elam Plus team in 2005. During his time with the Ellstrom’s, Dave Villwock won five straight APBA Gold Cups and multiple national championships. At the end of the 2013 season, Villwock parted ways with Ellstrom, leaving with his record-setting total of 67 career wins.

Dave Villwock’s first experience with Bill Cahill came in 2014. “Bill was sponsoring Billy and Jane Schumacher’s Miss Beacon Plumbing. The boat had some serious handling issues, so they brought me in to help make the boat better.” He made the boat better, but at the end of the season, his driving career appeared to have ended.

“I am looking forward to bringing Miss Beacon Plumbing into the winner’s circle in 2021.” If hard work and determination count, Miss Beacon Plumbing’s future looks bright!