LEGEND LIVES ON
Budweiser team to
continue under direction of Joe Little
Budweiser team pays tribute
to Bernie Little and looks to the 2003 season
for a 23rd World Championship
SEATTLE (May 2003) The Miss Budweiser team announced
May 20 that it will be business as usual this year after Unlimited Hydroplane
racing icon and team owner Bernie Little died April 25. The team will
be under the direction of Joseph Little, president of Bernie Little
Distributors and vice president of Hydroplanes Inc., thus ushering in
the next generation of Unlimited Hydroplane leadership.
Joseph (Joe) Little, 45, son of Jane and Bernie Little, has been around
the Unlimited Hydroplane circuit most of his life and now assumes the
team ownership responsibilities. Dave Villwock, driver and team manager
will continue his role with the team for the seventh consecutive season.
Mark Smith returns as the crew chief of the Miss Budweiser for his sixth
Miss Budweiser team is here to stay, said Little. Dad put
the procedures and processes in place so that the team could continue
even when he was no longer able to run things. Unlimited competition
was dads passion. He was larger than life in the sport. I cant
be my dad; I can only be myself. My goal is to provide the best leadership,
direction and support to the team so we can continue to win races and
show value to our great sponsor, Anheuser-Busch.
Anheuser-Busch has renewed its commitment to sponsor the team for the
41st consecutive year, making it the longest running sponsorship in
Bernie Little and my father, August Busch III, forged a friendship
and one of the most successful sponsor and team relationships in history,
said August Busch IV, president of Anheuser-Busch. Joe Little
and I have known each other since we were kids and we are going to continue
the long and proud tradition of the Miss Budweiser team with a new generation
of passion, competition and success.
Little said, I look forward to what our generation can add to
the sport. Working with August Busch IV, Anheuser-Busch and the Miss
Budweiser team will be a rewarding experience. However, well always
remember it as Bernie Littles Miss Budweiser since he started
all this business 41 years ago.
Returning for its 41st consecutive year of competition, the Miss Budweiser
team has a record in Unlimited Hydroplane racing that is unrivaled with
134 victories, 22 world championships and 14 APBA Gold Cups. The team
has entered a record 354 races and finished in the top three a total
of 230 times in 40 years of competition. The crew of the Miss Budweiser
has a combined 286 years of experience.
We cant replace Bernie, but he wouldnt want us walking
around looking at our feet and kicking rocks, said Villwock. Bernie
would want us to go out and be all we can be, and thats what we
are going to do this season. Bernie taught us well. He wanted us to
move forward and the best way we can honor his spirit is to go out and
Villwock, who has been racing Unlimited Hydroplanes since 1992, has
39 wins, six series championships and five APBA Gold Cups to his credit.
The other teams should not discount us this year, Villwock
said. This Miss Budweiser team is here to compete. Bernie Little
never taught us how to play defense, and Joe Little is working from
the same playbook, so we wont. Every heat and every race will
be run with the goal of victory. We want to win, pure and simple.
Littles Miss Budweiser: By the Numbers
22 Unlimited Hydroplane World and National Championships.
39 Career victories for Miss Budweiser driver, Dave
41 Consecutive years of Unlimited hydroplane competition.
41 Consecutive years Anheuser-Busch has sponsored
the Miss Budweiser.
134 Career victories for the Miss Budweiser team
286 Years of combined experience on the Miss Budweiser
354 Races that the Miss Budweiser has entered.
230 Number of top three finishes in 40 years of competition.
2002 Bernie Littles 40th consecutive year of competition.
2003 A new generation takes charge with Joe Little.
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