The World Championship series resumed in 2004 after a 20-year hiatus. In contrast to 1984, all of the entries in 2004 were turbine-powered.
Madison, Indiana, the host city, had staged a World Championship Race once before in 1972 when flooding and debris nearly forced cancellation of the event. This time, the weather and the river cooperated.
The 2004 Unlimited hydroplane season was seen as a farewell tour for the MISS BUDWEISER team, which was retiring from the sport after 42 consecutive years of participation. Team founder Bernie Little had passed away in 2003. His son Joe Little now managed the team.
MISS BUDWEISER driver Dave Villwock had a perfect day at Madison in 2004. He dominated the racing action by winning all four heats on the Ohio River. This marked the second victory in the World Championship series by an Anheuser-Busch-sponsored craft. An earlier MISS BUDWEISER had won the 1981 race in Acapulco with Dean Chenoweth in the cockpit.
The start of the winner-take-all Final Heat at Madison in 2004 saw four boats on the front line, closely bunched. Steve David in OH BOY! OBERTO/MISS MADISON struck a buoy in the first turn and was penalized a lap.
BUDWEISER, LLUMAR WINDOW FILM with J.W. Myers, and OBERTO ran one-two-three down the first backstretch as the crowd roared its approval. By the end of lap-one, MISS BUDWEISER had a clear lead, which she maintained to the checkered flag. LLUMAR conked out after one and a half laps.
Greg Hopp in MARIANN TRAVEL INN was a distant second, while Terry Troxell took third with MISS E-LAM PLUS. OH BOY! OBERTO, physically second on the race course, was officially fourth in the corrected order of finish.