U-11 – Peters & May
Driver: Tom Thompson – Cambridge, MD
Veteran owner and team manager Scott Raney returns to the hydro wars with his beautiful ex-Bud T-4 (9401) hull once again dressed in Peters & May chartreuse. The hard working Unlimited Racing Group was only able to manage a ninth place finish in National Points in 2015. Driver Tom Thompson has piloted the U-11 since the end of the of the 2012 season but has yet to experience much success at the Unlimited level. With other competitive boats like the U-3, U-22, and U-96 on the beach it appears the U-11 should finally be able to climb the points ladder in 2016.
U-9 Les Schwab/ Jones Racing
Driver: Andrew Tate – Detroit, Mi
The son of legendary hydroplane pilot Mark Tate will take the reins of Mike and Lori Jones’ great white race boat (92102.5) in 2016. Andrew Tate will be required to complete rookie driver qualifications as the season opens in Madison, Indiana. Expect a slow start for the rookie shoe who will be relegated to race on the outside initially, but by the west coast swing don’t be surprised if young Tate is flying the 9 to podium finishes just as his father did some 20 years ago.
U-7 – Graham Trucking
Driver: Jeff Bernard – Kent, WA
After a season on the outside looking in, Jeff Bernard returns to the Unlimited ranks to chauffeur Team Porter’s second string entry. Initially the U-7 hull will be the former U-57 (9210) that was last campaigned by N. Mark Evans in 2013. It has been reported that once the repairs to T-6 are completed, it will return to being the primary U-5 driven my JMK. T-5 will then once again be renumbered the U-7. The timing of the repairs to T-6 and the hull swap will be important as it is expected the performance of the U-7 entry should fairly dramatically increase.
U-99.9 – CarStar KISW Miss Rock
Driver: Kevin Eacrat – Snohomish, WA
Hydroplane fans are excited for the return of the Miss Rock sponsorship and to see the familiar black paint scheme with red and yellow trim back out on a lake or river near you. Unfortunately, the fan favorite and once very successful Leland Unlimited Team is a shadow of its former glory. The aging U-99.9 (9899) hull will again be driven by second year shoe Kevin Eacrat. The 99.9 may not have enough beans to race with most of the other boats in the fleet but with only 8 National Boats something whacky might happen that could open the door for Miss Rock to collect respectable points.
Posted on: Jun 24 2016 05:04 PM UTC
Edited on: Jun 24 2016 05:18 PM UTC