COEUR d'ALENE - Steve David would love nothing more than to notch a win at Coeur d'Alene's Diamond Cup unlimited hydroplane races this weekend, adding to his long list of victories.
"The win would mean a lot to me personally," David said Monday in an interview with The Press from Florida, where he lives and works.
He has 18 total unlimited hydroplane race wins, placing him fifth all time.
Just this year, as the driver for the Oh Boy! Oberto team and the Miss Madison hydroplane, he has won races at Sacramento, Calif., and the Tri-Cities, Wash.
He has a 663-point lead in the National High Points Standings for this year.
He has never raced on Lake Coeur d'Alene, but neither has anybody else in the field.
David, 59, has, however, visited Coeur d'Alene once, following a race in the Tri-Cities.
"It's just such a beautiful area," he said. He enjoyed, in his visit here, the combination of the people, the lake and mountains.
The team's sponsor is the Seattle-based jerky company, Oh Boy! Oberto, and Miss Madison is owned by the city of Madison, Indiana.
David had been a competitor of the city's racing team before joining them in 2001.
David was coaxed out of retirement by Robert Hughes, president of Miss Madison, Inc., and team sponsor, Larry Oberto.
"I'd always admired them, because they did what they could with the money they had," he said.
Madison, a community of 13,000 people has its own hydroplane races on the Ohio River, the Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup, sponsored by Lucas Oil.
He said the hydroplane, a major promotion for the city of Madison, is kind of like a "floating chamber of commerce."
It always was a feel-good deal driving for them, he said. "But now that we're national champions, first place is the only thing that's acceptable," he said.
When he's not racing, David, a resident of Lighthouse Point, Fla., is a real estate agent. He serves as chairman of a large brokerage firm that has about 700 employees.
He has been racing unlimited hydroplanes for more than 20 years.
In January of this year, David was inducted into the American Power Boat Association's Hall of Champions for the sixth time.
He captured the National High Point Driver Championship in back-to-back years - 2005-2006 and 2008-2009-2010, and again last year.
David holds the 2 1/2-mile competition lap world speed record at 166.221 mph, and the final heat (5 laps, 12 1/2 miles; 154.025 mph) world speed record. He set those records driving the Miss T-Plus for Harvey Motorsports.
This weekend, he estimated his qualifying speed would be in the low 150-mph range. His top speeds will be in the low 190s, he said.
"If we can get a win in Coeur d'Alene, that just gives us that much more momentum going into San Diego," the last event of this year's calendar for H1 Unlimited hydroplane races, David said.
"The competition level in the sport is the highest it's ever been," David said. "There are six teams who could definitely win (this weekend), and four other teams that are right there."
In the past, at Coeur d'Alene, there were probably two, maybe three, favorites in those races, he said.
"There are no secrets in the sport," he said.
The governing bodies of the sport strive to create boat-design standards and maintain a level playing field, he said.
Still, teams like his find a way to win more than others.
"There will always be those who excel," he said.