Jimmy Shane passes the Detroit Yacht Club during a heat Sunday. (Steve Perez / Detroit News)
Detroit – The Gold Cup unlimited hydroplane final could be the closest finish in history if the final two heats are any indication.
Jimmy Shane, 28, won all four of his preliminary heats in the U6 Oberto boat, including his second of the day Sunday afternoon by three-boat lengths over Cal Phipps.
Then, J. Michael Kelly went out on the Detroit River in his U1 Graham Trucking boat and held off Brian Perkins by two-boat lengths in the next heat. It was Kelly's second heat win of the day.
The Gold Cup final usually has a six-boat field, but there will only be five boats in the 4:30 p.m. final due to boats driven by Jon Zimmerman (blowover), Tom Thompson (transmission) and Greg Hopp (mechanical) suffering from an assortment of problems.
Shane and Kelly will be joined by Phipps, Perkins and Mike Webster in the final.