Inboard Nationals

Celina, Ohio

August 22-24, 2008

J and Fae Report


     Well alrighty then! (Thanks Ace) A strong field of Inboarders rolled into Celina, Ohio and what followed was simply mah-vellous. (Thanks Billy Crystal) Eight deep classes were in town trying to capture the title of "National Champion". Kudos to the Celina Race Committee led by Tom Saddler and Louis Schiavoni for a fantastic job of organizing a superb event, as they do annually. Yes race fans, Celina proved to be an excellent choice to host the Nationals. Mark Weber brought a ton of APBA officials and added top notch Region Six volunteers to cover every detail flawlessly. The Porter Unlimited team sponsored the event and thrilled the crowd with Jeff Bernard's (U-5) Formula Boats exhibitions. (120 mph laps on a one mile track) The weather and water conditions were generally good allowing for some unreal racing in all the classes. Celina has taken the idea of local sponsors on individual boats to a higher level. Fans who ventured into town saw several business windows proudly displaying pictures of "their" boats. That is cool. The town is very involved in the Regatta and the crowds were gigantic. It was a happening!

    Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-7) (Y-8) (S-17) (A-9) (E-16) (NM-4) (JS-6) (GNH-6) (U-3)(Vintage-17) Total-93.

    T boats had three top dawgs ready to run for the title. Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What is having a great season. Alexis Weber (T-10) Flirtin With Disaster has been coming on strong as has Jimmy McMullen in Doug Hagatha's (T-5) Trophy Hunter. The Shane's highway mishap cost us a front runner as Kelly's (T-17) Tangled Up In Blue was damaged in a crash on I-70 close to Columbus. Thank goodness everyone was all right. Brandon dominated the qualifiers but he got boxed in big time coming off turn two just before the start. As the field thundered down to turn one he was making up ground coming down the inside. A major traffic jam occurred at the entrance pin with boats flying in every direction. Brandon (T-1) escaped and took off after Alexis (T-10) who was flying along enjoying first place. In the end Brandon (T-1) proved too much as he drove by to take the title ahead of Alexis (T-10) and Jimmy (T-5). Now, officials studied the situation from the turn one chaos and deemed it legal so the finish stood. Brandon took the title and later was awarded the Governor's Cup for outstanding performance for the whole weekend. You da man Brandon!


    Y boats had the usual suspects on hand this weekend. Four boats were favorites by past showings. Dan Kanfoush in Jim Sechler's (Y-1) Fast Eddie Too is always the top pre-race pick. In Las Vegas he would go off at odds slightly better than Michael Phelps. Keith McMullen in Bob Wilson's (Y-80) Outlaw, Sean Bowsher (Y-52) Casual Threat, and Justin Squires in Travelin Man Dave Archiable's (Y-91) Trafficade Knot Rod My Mistress have shown great speed in past races as well. Ok, they ran three heats. (two qualifiers and a final) The finishes were: Dan (Y-1) (1-1-1) Keith (Y-80) (2-2-2) Sean (Y-52) (3-3-3) I think you get the picture of how these three fine hulls stood at this race. Dan just might be headed to the Hall Of Champions. (Duh, ya think?)


    JS boats had a couple of new hulls on hand. Rob Garratano, that's right the legendary one, brought out his (JS-62) Smoke On The Water and Trevor Kirsh/ Dave Paraskeva came to play as well with their (JS-100) Summer Storm. The field of six was very even with Tom Pakradooni in Dave Greenlaw's (JS-99) Veri Cheri as the favorite, winning the qualifiers. The final got wild before the start as Jimmy Stewart (JS-721) G'on Skiffin Crazy pulled some sort of sideways flop into lane one. However, this failed as it seemed the boat hesitated when he hit the gas for the run to turn one. Tom (JS-99) roared away to an apparent victory but penalties scrambled the field. James Buterla (JS-712) Flyin High, flew high to the title. Jimmy (JS-721) and Trevor (JS-100) completed the podium. The skippers were crazy. What's new?


    NM boats had three bombs and one potential bomb in town. The problem with that is if anyone breaks your heats are not legal. Why no A boats were recruited for insurance is a legitimate question since the final saw only two boats answer the bell. Mike Movinsky (NM-116) Rockstar Sports Drinks and Tony Black in Ken Bowyer's (NM-928) Illusion could not make the final so Terry Troxell (NM-33) Mack's Out and Marty Wolfe (NM-93) Desperado squared off. Plenty of room with only two boats? Not for these two hard chargers as Marty (NM-93) took lane one with Terry (NM-33) in lane one and a half. They ripped up the backstretch at manic speed until something went terribly wrong exiting turn two. Terry appeared to hook slightly as Marty corrected to the inside. Terry then cranked the wheel to the right spinning violently. Marty was able to continue and was declared the champion. That was scary.


    Vintage boats packed their pit area behind the judge's stand. They had an impressive group of seventeen blasts from the past. The crowd loved these historic vessels. Here was the roster: (T-59) Scraps, (T-2) L'il Hillwinds, (H-1) Miss Crazy Thing, (GP-200) Lauterbach Special, (E-76) Country Stoves, (H-266) Miss Supersonic, (E-102) Tijuana Taxi, (H-202) Heavy Duty, (F-128) Miss Jean, (F-126) Flying Tiger, (F-333) Aqua Flyer, (F-77) Barracuda, (S-123) Ron Jones Special, (GP-111) Advanced United, (N-56) Justa Pest, (N-72) Tiger, and (F-37) L'eau Reves.


    Future drivers in the J class did some real racing as more boats made the water than at past events. Starts were a little funky but these kids had a blast showing great potential for the future. Here was the roster: Kyle Koskowski, Jacob Anderson, Josh Stahl, Jacob Zerkel, Kelly Thiel, Jacob Stahl, and Erin Burns. Brad Luce's interviews were priceless. One superstar called his timing runs the key to victory.


    GNH boats are a strong class in Region Six. To win here a team has to overcome two "belligerent beasts". Super Cal Phipps (GNH-41) Happy Go Lucky and Steve Kuhr Jr. in Jimmy Deel's (GNH-8) Deel Me In are always ready to set a blistering pace. They proved it by running a scintillating qualifier with Steve (GNH-8) winning in a photo finish. Thom Heins (GNH-115) MAS Epoxies led a strong group of challengers. Great anticipation turned sour in the final warm-up as Steve (GNH-8) stopped abruptly in the infield. Cal (GNH-41) roared down to turn one and blasted away to a super victory. Thom (GNH-115) gave a good chase before a sponson let go. Get out the epoxy Thom. Michael Horvath in John Griggs' (GNH-52) Wannabe and James Coan (GNH-869) Rubber Ducky completed the podium with Patrick Sankuer (GNH-61) not far behind. Cal reigns again! He is recognized as one of if not the best big block driver in the Country.


    S boats had an absolutely sick field going by this year's results. There were several major favorites in town. Six boats came in having won an event in 2008. They were Mark Johnson in Greg Barker's (S-9) Rewinders, Keith Anderson (S-17) Bad Habit, Doug Martin (S-33) Keen's Sunday Money, Dutch Squires (S-83) Mega Bucks, Justin Squires (S-47) Toolin and Bobby Kennedy in Sam Horner's (S-88) Playin Again. Mark (S-9) won two elimination heats so he became the "hunted" for the final. The start was a picture with twelve boats hitting the line virtually together. Mark had lane one but appeared a tick behind trying not to jump the start. Could he get through turn one? It was an unbelievable wall of water. Mark (S-9) did sneak through and led a five boat stampede to turn two. After a while things spread out a little as Mark (S-9) came home with a great win for the Barkers, a longtime legendary racing family. Keith (S-17) solidified his standing as a Region Six stalwart taking second. Bobby (S-88) eked out a third over Justin (S-47) in a close and disputed finish with Dutch (S-83) taking fifth. The racing was as good as you will ever see.


    E boats once again proved an old axiom. In this class what you see may not be the truth. That isa final story so let's back up. The field was loaded. Sixteen vessels packed the pits in a virtual who's who of North American power. Wally Johnston (E-98) Agitator and his son Travis in the Weymouth's (E-20) Silver Clouds Inn represented Western hopes. Patrick Haworth (CE-57) Sinray and Marc Lecompte (CE-104) Primeau Performance stood for Canada. The Eastern contingent was stout as well featuring Joe Less (E-500) Centsless 14, Tom English (E-75) Fat Chance, Tommy Thompson in Donnie Thompson's (E-1) Batt Boat, Gordon Oakley (E-990) Hot Flash, Mark Burkhart (E-726) X-Ray and Jim Martin (E-43) Keen's Machine. Six other speedsters completed the field. Four elimination heats produced four winners. (Patrick (CE-57), Gordon (E-990), Wally (E-98) and Tom (E-75)) Joe (E-500) took his Eastern Divisional seed to the final. Ten boats in the final led to hysterical anticipation. During the score up Mark (E-726) pulled a cagy move. He waited until the last micro-second and pulled a leap frog to take lane one. The start was insane as the field stretched across the line and ripped into turn one. How turn judges sort out this chaos is a good question. The top group headed to turn two in about a five way tie. Mark (E-726) emerged in the lead after one with Joe (E-500) on the chase. It stayed that way until Mark's engine expired on lap four. Joe, who has been incredibly fast all summer, took the win. (Put it in pencil, right Jeff Ayler?) Travis (E-20), Jim (E-43), Marc (CE-104) and Wally (E-98) followed him home. Ah, the axiom. Joe's (E-500) did not pass inspection apparently due to an eighth rod issue while Jim (E-43) and Marc (CE-104) got course infractions. Therefore, Travis (E-20) took a hard earned title with a great drive. Wally (E-98) and Tommy (E-1) completed the podium. Whew, what a race!


    A boats had arguably (nice word, huh Norm?) the best field in modern history. Well, at least about thirty years worth. Listen to this group! Tommy Thompson in Randy English's (A-25) Fat Chance is freaky fast. Jim Aid in his and Norm Cameron's (A-33) In Cahoots Again is a legendary driver in a legendary boat. The Mashburn "navy" showed up with Nicky Pellerin (A-60) Mr. Bud, Dan Kanfoush (A-600) Mr. Bud 2, and Buster Graham (A-66) Mr. Bud 3. Rob Hall (A-1) Marine Dream is not (A-1) for nothing. Round it out with Mike Monahan in Debbie Welte's (A-23) Jack's Geezerboat, Kevin Kreitzer (A-64) Blue Devil and Steve Kuhr Jr. in Tony Black's Jamakin Me Crazy. Whoa! Calm er down J, you are hyperventilating again. Yea, ok, I'm ok now. Jim (A-33) and Rob (A-1) sat on their Divisional seeds while seven boats slugged it out in wild qualifiers. Tommy (A-25) looked fastest but it was very close. That Tommy is one smooth driver. He rarely beats himself. The final arrived late in the Sunday program. The start saw scary speed everywhere as four boats were literally tied after three quarters of a lap. Uh oh, there was not enough room in turn two as Jim (A-33) got caught in a ton of water leaving him broken. As the heat continued Tommy (A-25) took the lead with Buster stalking him until the (A-66) took off in turn one of lap three in a blow over. Buster sustained a leg injury and the (A-66) was wounded as well. The restart saw Tommy (A-25) hold off Jim (A-33) in a classic duel that crowned Randy English's (A-25) the champion. Rob (A-1) took third as Nicky (A-60) took a penalty. The 2.5 Mods are screaming these days and many teams are moving away from the Sprint car engines to Ecotec and other less exotic power plants. This bodes well for the future of this class.


    Wow, what a weekend! This town truly embraces this Regatta and Mark and Lori Weber have to be so proud of bringing back a race site that started in 1958. J's dad raced his Crosley powered (Y-29)Flying Chip here in those early days. We met another lovely lady this weekend who certainly was there too. Billy Noonan's mom, 90 years young, is in her sixty first year of watching the hydros. Here are a few final thoughts. Jeff Ayler and Brad Luce recreated their APBA Gold Cup announcing tandem. They are an awesome team. (Brad in the pits and Jeff on the start/finish lone) We were blessed with three top notch referees in Billy Noonan, Mike Weber and the veteran Bruce Brussaird. Along with a giant group of volunteers, they put on a fabulous show. Oh, and Mike Bruns' (E-6) Quantum Leap made a great poster advertising the event from its parking space on the road before race day. Celina, you did yourself proud!   See ya at Hillsboro.  J and Fae