D2D Pre-Season Boat Rankings – 7 through 10
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10: U-100 Leland Unlimited Driver: Greg Hopp – Snohomish, WA
With deep sadness after losing long-time legendary owner Fred Leland to cancer, Leland Unlimited continues to race in his name in 2012. Expect to see the (9899) hull driven by Hopp during the final two races of the season in lieu of the (9701) Casper hull that competed at the first four races of 2011. Veteran Greg Hopp will again drive for Leland in 2011. “The Hopper,” a plenty capable and aggressive driver, still seeks his first unlimited victory after debuting in 1999.
9: U-13 Spirit of Detroit Driver: Cal Phipps — Sterling Heights, MI
After spending 2011 on the beach, the U-13 Spirit of Detroit returns to the circuit in 2012 with Cal Phipps behind the wheel. Phipps acclimated himself well to Unlimited racing in 2010 and should only improve in 2012. It appears Dr. Ken Muscatel will combine resources with the U-13 Team which will only bolster U-13 team equipment and crew support. The former Winston Eagle (8700), the oldest hull in the fleet, underwent a substantial off-season rebuild. Expect a gutsy performance out of this team in 2012. Unfortunately, the aging hull just doesn’t have enough beans to run with the more modern boats in the fleet.
8: U-9 Jones Racing Driver: Jon Zimmerman
After a one-year hiatus from the sport, the U-9 returned in 2011 as a leased back-up boat for the defending National Champion U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto for the Detroit Gold Cup. The boat, with Jon Zimmerman at the wheel, collected 726 points as the stand-in U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto. The Jones’ continued to campaign the hull (92102.5) as the U-9 at Tri-Cities and Seattle. Zimmerman has proven to be an impressive relief driver over the last two seasons and will be back at the controls for the refreshed and refurbished U-9 sled in 2012. The hull received offseason upgrades, which included a new “Bud-style” safety capsule and cowling. Look for a steady performance by Zimmerman and the recharged U-9 team as they run the full circuit in 2012.
7: U-11 Peters & May Driver: JW Myers – Burien, WA
The veteran duo of crew chief Scott Raney and pilot J.W. Myers return in 2012 with the solid backing of David Holley and Peters & May. The Ron Jones Jr.-built hull (0925), under Raney’s guidance, continued to exhibit teething issues throughout the 2011 season. The U-11 team conducted pre-season testing which revealed a mechanical issue that will be corrected prior to the first race of the season in Madison. The U-11 team has the guts, will, and know-how to succeed. All that remains is for the underachieving hull to display the promise it is believed to possess. The U-11 Peters & May is likely the biggest question mark in 2012. Will the boat finally produce, or will it continue to falter due to mechanical gremlins?
Posted on: Jul 02 2012 04:26 PM UTC Edited on: Jul 03 2012 03:12 PM UTC
It’s funny but I think you should slide the 100 right in there just above the 11. Who knows how fast the 11 can be, but that 100 hull can run and better on the bigger coarses…neither is a fantasy pick but both may surprise…
Posted on: Jul 03 2012 07:15 AM UTC
The 100 will not be anywhere near the capability of the U-11. I’m not sure how close you follow the sport or keep up with crews or teams……but the 100 team is not going to stand much of a chance and will probably win the golden tow rope award this year. They do not have a team as they fired multiple key people after the death of Fred. This boat is just another back marker this year. Their motor program is shot since they fired their main person who built them, but what do I know. I’ll place a side wager to say they may even be on the outside looking in as far as making it to Doha and if they do it will not be a competitive boat.
Posted on: Jul 03 2012 11:09 AM UTC Edited on: Jul 03 2012 11:11 AM UTC
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I think both of you bring up valid points. I know there are concerns regarding resources and crew, but something tells me this boat might be capable of a little magic in honor of the late Fred Leland. Thanks, both of you for your input and comments. Keep em comming!
Posted on: Jul 03 2012 06:18 PM UTC
Well, J2919, as they say, that is why they run the race. I think Dan has done a great service by providing us fans that love the sport an outlet to both communicate and speculate. I have always enjoyed hearing the inside information that others have because I make most of my observations from ears open and history of watching these boats. I believe we are in the friends of U-3 league together good luck. First I heard of the firings,
My fingers are crossed that the 11 will stand up. LET’S GET IT ON!!!!
Posted on: Jul 04 2012 06:12 PM UTC