SuperBoats: Johnson takes Morrison in last second dash to
A-400: Hendrickson squeezes out win over Patrick with ailing engine
SuperMod: Wild crash secures victory for Werner over Hughes
By Jim DeFord
SAINT JOHN, Washington (June 19, 2012) —The USSBA Racing Series teams
were presented a 37-turn rotation Friday evening at Webb’s Slough.
Encompassing both speed
driver abilities in the same rotation this looked to be a barn burner. And
Right out of the box, Tim Cummings, along with birthday girl, Nicole
Michelle Brown got sideways in a tough chicane, flipped over a channel and
against the fence at the beer garden. Tim would have two more off-track
excursions and Miss Brown would have a total of six off track excursions in
two different boats.
For the day there were 52 DNFs, showing how tough this course was, along
with several significant crashes we will discuss later in this article. One
team finished DNF-free: The Jolly Rogers boat of Eric Werner and Jana
The team of Werner/Horton are the defending 2011 class champions. So with
that target on their backs they have a lot of work to do to defend this
Dennis Hughes and Matia Haskey would be all over them all day long along
with Dillon and Teri Cummings, Robert and Aimee McNeal-Cox, Ackerman/Hall,
Cummings/Brown, the Reicherts and Healy/Bernard.
In Q4, Healy/Bernard were on a fast lap looking to secure a spot in the
eliminations when the navigator shut the engine off due to a spike in oil
pressure. The problem with jet-pump powered boats is they lose steering with
no engine power. They slid off the track and heavily into a steel pole that
secures the safety fence. Fortunately, no one was hurt but the boat
sustained heavy damage to the nose.
SEE VIDEO HERE. They made the cut, but
could not continue.
The Canadian Reichert duo did make it into the finals but DNF’d in the 8-cut
as did Cummings/Brown and the Cummings duo. Werner, Hughes, Cox and Ackerman
would take it to the 4-cut to do battle.
Ackerman/Hall pushed hard and ran a 61.600 with Robert Cox running a 60.760.
With Werner and Hughes into the 50-second range that pushed both Ackerman
and Cox onto their respective trailers. It was a great finish for the
Obsession boat as this was Aimee’s rookie appearance as a navigator.
In the finals it was Werner vs. Hughes. Horton vs. Haskey. They had been
trading fast times through the day with Hughes having a couple DNFs pushing
his boat to the limit. Dennis and Matia were the first to venture below
60-seconds in qualifying, but Werner took the pole with a 57.520 in Q4.
In the 4-cut Jolly Rogers smoked a 56.620 with Overkill at 57.220 going
into the 2-cut. Hughes and Haskey came out first and were on a smoking hot
lap when they ran wide in a turn as they prepared for the hot run to the
The crowd, and everyone else, held their breath as the boat went onto the
island into a wild pirouette that had the boat standing on its nose for what
felt like 2-3 lifetimes. After the boat settled there was a typical, minor
exhaust fire that extinguished itself and fortunately, Dennis and Matia
emerged unharmed and the boat had non-significant damage.
Eric and Jana ran their lap comfortably at a 58-plus and took home the top
prize of the day.
Group A-400 Class
This season it’s Doug Hendrickson and rookie navigator Nichole Heaton with
the defending champion targets on their backs. Several teams have moved from
SuperMod and we have a new entry from Canada in the class. Not to mention
that Fat Buddy racings Scott Saxton ad Frank Farrand in a new hull after
spending much of last year upside down.
Kyle Patrick’s daughter and navigator could not make it this weekend due to
college graduation ceremonies (congrats Alex). So Kyle enlisted the services
of driver Scott Ackerman to navigate. I have talked with several drivers and
they detest riding in a boat. They hate not being in control of the vehicle.
So, one had to wonder where this was going to go! More on this later…
Another hot story in this class was the tribulations of Wayne Brown manning
the Twisted Racing boat. Wayne took his boat to the exhibition event in
Grants Pass, Oregon. There, they sucked up a monster rock in the pump
blowing apart impellers and blades. They tried fixing it, but things just
got worse when the pump caught fire after a bearing overheated and the
With two weeks to the 2012 season opener, Wayne was madly ordering parts
from Scott Pumps and having everything express-shipped across the pond.
Everything arrived except a vital carbon seal. Wayne waited for the part and
here comes Thursday and no seal. In back-tracking the shipping, the part
apparently arrived at the hardware store that Wayne manages on Tuesday.
Seems an employee thought it would be funny to hide the seal from Wayne. Not
so funny now that the employee is unemployed.
If that wasn’t enough, Wayne also wrecked his truck. Not too serious, but
not needed for sure. Off to the races!
In the qualifying rounds Patrick and Ackerman held to top rung of the ladder
once this class made it through no one having a successful run in Q1.
Hendrickson was having carburetion issues through the corners with the motor
spitting, sputtering and having low torque out of the corners.
That also left them vulnerable to the new 400 entry of Sling Shot Racing’s
Rick and Richie Henderson as they were hungry to prove themselves in their
first outing in the class. Saxton/Farrand were getting acclimated to their
new hull and kept a respectable pace. Watch out for these guys at Albany!
Olson/Gilder were nursing a slight down on power motor that was hydraulic’d
at the end of the 2011 season. Several bent rods and other repairs. The
motor made it through the race and Olson/Gilder qualified 5th.
Newcomers to the sport Bently/Lochner were just getting their feet
wet and were running in the 70’s along with Miller/Price and Brown/Brown who
did not make the 120% qualification requirement.
In the elimination rounds it was Patrick/Ackerman who had the legs on
Hendrickson/Heaton with Henderson biting at their heels. Could the defending
champ keep second place?
Unfortunately, the Hendersons fell prey to the massive DNF bug that kept
biting these teams and were on the trailer for the day along with Olson and
In the 4-cut Patrick pulled what would be their fast lap of the day at
59.760. This was the only sub 60-second lap in the class and would be the
fastest lap of the day in the class. Bently DNF’d and Saxton could only
manage a 64, putting them both on the trailer.
In the finals it was the driver/driver team of Kyle Patrick and Scott
Ackerman vs. the defending, multi-champion of Doug Hendrickson and his
rookie Navigator Nichol Heaton. And with the champion nursing a less than
Hendrickson was out first and ran his fastest lap of the day, with his
engine burping and sputtering in the corners at 60.010. The came Patrick
after his smoking 59 in the 4-cut and we all held our breath waiting for the
results from timing and scoring.
The 2011 400 class champion managed to squeak it by Kyle and Scott by .110
second and take the first win of the 2012 USSBA Racing Series season in the
During the last two runs there was oil smoke coming from the engine area in
Kyle’s boat and it worsened on the second run. In a post-race interview Kyle
did say that the smoke had distracted him and in racing this close one
little tick and you’re no longer leading. So with Doug being able to step it
up and Kyle dealing with his smoking motor that’s all it took. Great racing
by both teams.
The crowd was on its feet by now with the wild crash in SuperMods and the
ultra-close finish in the 400 class.
Canadian Cory Johnson and Gary McNeal rejoined the SuperBoat class after
being motorless in 2011. The engine blew up at the end of the 2010 season
and they ran Super-Modified in 2011. New to the class is Jerimy Brewer and
Presley Lollar in the SlipStream hull that Dean Lautenschlager drove quite
successfully in 2010. He acquired Don Smith’s monster motor, tweaked and
tuned and is ready to play with the big boys.
2011 SuperBoat Champion Dan Morrison and Cara McGuire return to defend their
championship against Cory, Jerimy, Lee Rice/Marvin Wright and newcomer to
the sport Reynolds and Chase running a 396ci carbureted drag motor. Wow!
Unfortunately Reynolds and Chase would not have much luck making it around
the track and DNF’d out of qualifying. We look forward to seeing this
monster at Albany and see what it can do on a fast track.
Another boat that just not like the tight, twisties is the supercharged
beast of Lee Rice. They also DNF’d out. The Screamin’ Eagle will spread its
wings at Albany. Grab your earplugs and hold onto your kids!
Jerimy Brewer and Presley did well on their first outing but fell short and
under the 120% qualifying rule. Jerimy was all smiles and looks forward to
the wide expanse of The Field of Dreams in Albany/Tangent.
In qualifying Johnson ran consistently faster and grabbed the top qualifying
position with a 52.830. The fastest time of any boat for the day. However,
in the finals he ran a 55-flat in the 4-cut with Dan running a 55.120.
Dan came out last pulling a 56.030 having a few cavitation bobbles and then
Cory came onto the track hot and fast. However, he had a couple of
cavitations and then stuck the boat for a few tenths on the inside of the
course before the last big sweeper. As Cory and Gary’s fans sighed at what
looked to be a definite loss, Cory pulled the boat out the muck and slammed
it to the floor all the way down to the start of the sweeper and held it
there until the spinout pool.
The crowd fell silent as they awaited the results: 55.300! Cory and Gary
managed to pull off one of the most amazing finishes ever and I do think
that the water on the track at Webb’s Slough is still steaming from that
last second run.
Quote of the Weekend
It was after the racing was complete. We were at the awards ceremony and I
approached Tim Cummings. We shook hands. I asked him, “What happened? Why
all the wrecks?” Tim then looked at me with that Tim Cummings look. I could
see the wheels turning…
“I did it for the fans,” was his matter-of-fact reply. “That’s my story and
I’m sticking to it.”
Well Tim, the fans did appreciate your good hard racing and the thrills and
spills. It was indeed an entertaining day of racing full of action and
The next event on the USSBA Racing Series calendar is: June 30th at the
Field of Dreams track in Tangent, Oregon just a bit south of Albany. The
track is right off and visible from I-5. See the Schedule for more
information and also visit the Oregon Sprint Boat website.
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