J. Michael Kelly wins preliminary heat, sets the stage for Sunday’s Race on Aqua Oval of Lake Guntersville
GUNTERSVILLE, ALABAMA (June 29, 2019)- Jimmy Shane, driver of the U-6 “Miss HomeStreet” unlimited hydroplane broke the qualifying course record established last year during the Guntersville Lake HydroFest on Saturday with an average speed 162.422 m.p.h. on the 2–1/2 mile race course.
Shane said that one of his goals for the weekend was to beat Andrew Tate’s course record of 157.866 m.p.h.
“We had a fantastic day, we had an extended qualifying session this morning from the big storm yesterday and luckily the water condition were about the same as yesterday,” Shane said. “The ‘Miss HomeStreet’ performed flawlessly and were able to top the qualifying record Andrew (Tate) did last year and that was one of our goals for this weekend.”
Shane also scored 400 national points after winning preliminary heat 1A with an average three lap speed of 153.490 m.p.h. Second place was J. Michael Kelly in the U-12 “Graham Trucking” based in Milton, Washington with an average speed of 152.664 m.p.h. Third place was Tom Thompson in the U-11 “J&D’s presented by Reliable Diamond Tool,” averaging 143.381 m.p.h. Dustin Echols in the U-440 “Bucket List Racing” rounded out the field with an average speed of 127.778 m.p.h.
Kelly said it was a really good preliminary heat race against Shane. “We went out and got lane one and fought it out to the very end and it was a very close finish.”
Shane and Kelly were neck-and-neck at the start before Shane stuck the nose of his boat out front of Kelly. Shane said, “I got ahead of Mike (J. Michael Kelly) just enough to control the course, and when you control the course, you can use the course and your roostertail as a tool. It was a good heat of racing and we’re glad we came out on top,” Shane said.
Shane had the fastest lap of the three lap preliminary heat with a lap average of 155.044 m.p.h.
With a second place in preliminary heat 1A in the books, Kelly went out to win the next preliminary heat. Kelly has a slight disadvantage coming into the first of five races on the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series because he did not attend the inaugural Guntersville Lake HydroFest last season.
Kelly said, “ I was pretty nervous going out the first time because we really didn’t get much testing time.” He continued, “I was kind-of flying by the seat of my pants because I didn’t have many timing marks.”
Kelly quickly adapted and finished with a heat average 149.732 m.p.h. He had the fastest lap with a speed of 154.836 m.p.h.
Before the heat start, Echols collided with Shane and the U-12 “Graham Trucking” but Kelly was able to regroup. “I got a good start anyway but I didn’t want to push it to hard because I didn’t know how much damage I had on my right sponson,” Kelly said.
The next thing Kelly knew was Bert Henderson in the U-7 “Spirit of Detroit” was about to pass him. Kelly said, “I saw that Henderson was about to pass me and said, ‘well I can’t let this happen,’ so I stuck my foot back into it and was able to stay out front and come away with the win.”
Henderson ended in second with an average speed of 144.669 m.p.h.
Echols in the U-440 “Bucket List Racing” and rookie-driver Peabody in the U-98 “American Dream” were side-by-side feet before the finish line until Echols inched forward ahead of Peabody.
Echols average third place speed was124.676 m.p.h. Peabody finished fourth at 124.416 m.p.h. in the U-98 “American Dream.”
Echols was fined 150 points and $300 because of the collision with Kelly, causing damage to both race boats. Both teams will work through the night to make the necessary repairs for Sunday’s final.
Kelly along with Shane hope their luck continue Sunday as they compete in more preliminary heats and the championship final, the Southern Cup.
“We are going to try to stay out of trouble, continue to win some heat victories, and points. And we don’t want to take ourselves out, that’s the biggest thing,” Kelly said.
Kelly and Shane are fierce competitors and are expected their dual on Sunday.
“We had some real good battles today and hopefully it is the same tomorrow,” Kelly said.
Preliminary heat races continue on Sunday on Lake Guntersville, Alabama with the championship final scheduled for Sunday at 4:50 pm (CDT).
Southern Cup Qualifying Results
1) U-6 “Miss Home Street”, Jimmy Shane, 162.442 m.p.h.; 100 points
2) U-11 “J&D’s presented by Reliable Diamond Tool,” Tom Thompson, 156.983 m.p.h.; 80 points
3) U-12 “Graham Trucking,” J. Michael Kelly, 154.506 m.p.h.; 70 points
4) U-440 “Bucket List Racing,” Dustin Echols, 150.082 m.p.h.; 60 points
5) U-7 “Spirit of Detroit,” Bert Henderson, 149.385 m.p.h.; 50 points
6) U-98 “Graham Trucking American Dream,” Corey Peabody, 139.790 m.p.h. 40 points.
Preliminary Heat 1A Results
1) U-6 “Miss HomeStreet,” Shane, 153.490 m.p.h.
2) U-12 “Graham Trucking,” Kelly, 152.664 m.p.h.
3) U-11 “J&D’s,” Thompson, 143.381 m.p.h.
4) U-440, “Bucket List Racing,” Echols 127.778 m.p.h.
Preliminary Heat 1B Results
1) U-12 “Graham Trucking,” Kelly, 149.732 m.p.h.
2) U-7 “Spirit of Detroit,” Henderson, 144.669 m.p.h.
3) U-440 “Bucket List Racing,” Echols, 124.676 m.p.h.
4) U-98 Graham Trucking American Dream,” Peabody, 124.416 m.p.h.