Deck2Deck.us: Fantasy Unlimited Hydroplane Racing

2017 Boats and Bios

U-1 - Miss HomeStreet Bank

U1 2016

Driver: Jimmy Shane – Sammamish, WA
Home Port: Madison, IN

Back in the cockpit of the 2016 National Champion Miss HomeStreet Bank (0706) is four-time defending driver champion Jimmy Shane. Shane, after having flirted with leaving the team prior to last season, now seems to be on very solid footing with the Madison Camp. The Indiana team announced the building of a new sled for Miss Madison Racing in 2018. Looking back to last season, the HomeStreet won in Madison and San Diego and captured two second-place finishes at Detroit and Seattle. The Madison has tested twice preseason, and also looked brilliant at the non-point Governor’s Cup exhibition on her Ohio River home waters. Shane’s fifth championship in a row is a real possibility in 2017 as the HomeStreet is still the cream of the H1 crop.

 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 1
Look for Shane to be at or near the front of the pack at every race this season.

U-3 - Go3 Cooper's Express

Managed production images 2014 u 3

Driver: Jimmy King – Wales, WI
Home Port: Evansville, IN

After running four fifths of the 2015 season, the 2016 season witnessed the return of Mr. Cooper’s big red turbinator (0203) for just two races in the State of Washington. The U-3 finished on the podium in Tri-Cities and showed it still can run with the Lycoming crowd. Although the team’s plans are still in flux for the season, we certainly hope the 3 gets wet at every stop on the circuit, as fans still enthusiastically root for the WWII Allison powerplant of the Cooper Team.

 
p. HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 7
As always, if the team can keep the old cranky Allison up and running, it can compete with the turbines. With good luck, a potential podium contender.

U-7 - Spirit of Detroit

U7 2016

Driver: Bert Henderson – Henderson, ON
Home Port: Detroit, MI

Dave Bartush and his Spirit of Detroit race team has purchased the ex Bud T-5 Hull, last campaigned by Ted Porter and Precision Performance Engineering as Graham Trucking II. The hull will run at Detroit in 2017 and will be driven by Bert Henderson of Brockville, Ontario. Henderson is a decorated and highly successful driver from Canada’s Hydro Racing League series.

U-9 - Les Schwab Tire / Jones Racing

U9 2015

Driver: Andrew Tate – Detroit, MI
Home Port: Kent, WA

During Andrew Tate’s rookie campaign, he did something that his legendary father, Mark Tate, could never do: He took checkers for the Seafair Trophy in Seattle. He followed that up with a solid second-place finish at San Diego. Young Tate, who appears to love to fly the boat like his pop, looks to be the next great shoe the sport will boast. Behind the reins of Mike and Lori Jones’ well-prepared race boat (92102.5), look for Tate to race hard against the likes of Shane and Kelly, the best drivers available. The Les Schwab tested at Tri Cities, WA and also edged the HomeStreet Bank in the non-point exhibition race in Madison, IN.

 
p. HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 2A
Team appears to be on level footing with most others both in the cockpit and in equipment.

U-11 - Unlimited Racing Group

U11 2017

Driver: Tom Thompson – Cambridge, MD
Home Port: Edmonds, WA

Veteran owner and team manager Scott Raney, along with veteran racer Tom Thompson, return to the hydro wars with a hull restored from a violent accident in its last race in 2013. Out is ex-Bud T-4 (9401) hull after a few seasons of futility, and back in is URG’s original hull (0925). Also out is longtime international supporter Peters & May and in is local sponsor J&D Hydraulics. Look for the hard-working Unlimited Racing Group to forge ahead with the rebuilt boat and new sponsor and scratch their way into a few final heats this season.

 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 8
Depending on who else is in the field, and racing luck, the 11 will have a chance of making a couple final heats.

U-12 - Graham Trucking

Managed production images 2014 u 1

Driver: J. Michael Kelly – Puyallup, WA
Home Port: Fife, WA

During the off-season a major-league shakeup occurred when the ex-Bud Beer Wagon T-6 hull (0001) was acquired from Ted Porter by long time boat sponsor Rob Graham. The legendary hull has been refreshed during the offseason but has not hit the water as of yet. J. Michael Kelly fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2016 when he captured the prestigious Gold Cup trophy, the oldest in motorsports and the pinnacle for a boat racer. The Graham Trucking entry and hot shoe J. Michael Kelly will be plenty capable of podium finishes and heat victories this season as they look to make Mr. Graham’s first as an owner a memorable one.

 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 2B
Look for Kelly to race deck-to-deck with Shane and Tate all season.

U-16 - Ellstrom Racing

U16 2016

Driver: J.W. Myers – Burien, WA
Home Port: Ballard, WA

Last season the Ellstrom team participated at the Washington races under the Oh Boy! Oberto banner. It appears that will be the case again this season. Back in the saddle is veteran racer JW Meyers. Out is veteran racer Jean Theoret. The boat showed plenty of speed in 2016 but mistakes, primarily driver error, cost the team a potential victory in Tri Cities. The U-16 (1496) will look to improve on the raw luck of last season as the teams boasts a depth of knowledge and equipment that most other teams covet.

 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 4
With the abridged schedule, it is tough to call, but look for at least one podium finish out of two races.

U-21 - Go Fast Turn Left

U21 2015

Driver: Brian Perkins – Maple Valley, WA
Home Port: Maple Valley, WA

The U-21 and driver Brian Perkins earned respect in 2016 with a solid fourth place in National High Points. Two podium finishes at Madison and Seattle, along with two fourth-place finishes in Tri-Cities and Detroit, demonstrated the team’s progress. Although never displaying the top-end speed required to be an upper-echelon boat, the 21 (0721) will be very much in play this fantasy season. Look for the performance of Team GFTL to continue on a skyward trajectory as they play the cards they’re dealt this season.

 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 6
Expect this team to be in the hunt to make most final heats this season.

U-27 - Wiggins Racing

U27 2015

Driver: Cal Phipps – Detroit, MI
Home Port: Gadsden, AL

After a successful maiden campaign for Milt and Charlie Wiggins in 2015, the 2016 season got off to a disastrous start with a catastrophic flip in Madison, IN. The former Our Gang racing hull (0717) returned to race in the season finale on Mission Bay but only garnered 60 points that weekend. Wiggins Racing has put the finishing touches on offseason repairs and tested the boat in Guntersville, AL. The Alabama-based team also participated in the non-points exhibition in Madison, IN with relief driver JW Meyers at the controls. The Motor City’s own Cal Phipps will again assume regular-season driver duties for Wiggins Racing. Team Wiggins will strive to recapture the magic of their 2015 season, although some doubt remains if the team will travel out west this season.
 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 5
The boat and driver are capable of podium finishes, and with the right breaks, their junior season might be very sweet for this Alabama team.

U-99 - CarStar KISW Miss Rock

U99 2016

Driver: Kevin Eacret – Snohomish, WA
Home Port: Kirkland, WA

The aging U-99.9 (9899) hull was partially refreshed in the offseason. A new transom, some new internal frames and stringers, and new decking were installed. Behind the controls will be wily veteran Greg Hopp, driving in relief for primary chauffeur Kevin Eacret who is recovering from an injury. Again, the popular Miss Rock sponsorship is back on the boat for the Washington races. It remains to be seen if the reworked boat will be lighter on her feet than in past years, when the 99.9 simply did not have enough beans in the engine compartment to race with the other boats in the fleet.

 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 0
The Leland camp is short on speed and equipment and will need something wacky to happen to qualify for a final heat.

U-440 - Bucket List Racing

U440 2017

Driver: Dustin Echols – Snohomish, WA
Home Port: Snohomish, WA

Kelly Stocklin returns in his familiar role as “David,” campaigning his undersized and underpowered U-440 (1218) hull, motivated by a T-53 turbine engine that makes about half the horse power of the T-55 “Goliaths.” The BLR Team attempted to run at Tri Cities last season with little luck, as gear box issues continued to plague the team. It appears some of the gremlins may be sorted out, as the team completed a successful pre-season test at Tri-Cities. Look for new driver Dustin Echols to stay out of the fray for the most part and attempt to finish heats.

 
HydroDan says: Preseason Rank – 0
The undersized and underpowered Snuskitush Enterprises boat lacks the speed necessary to compete with the rest of the fleet.