The Sunday half of Round 3 of the US Title Series at Lake Springfield began with a day that would reach 97 on the thermometer and hot on the water as well. My thanks to all the USTS staff and volunteers, with a big thanks to Todd Brinkman our President and Slider Simonson were invaluable. Rick Jedwabny working the Pits with Todd, kept the show going and Susan Sailer and her staff are the best at keeping us on the straight and narrow.
As I said action was hot on the water today and started off with a bang as Mike Werner and Brad Dygert dueling for the top spot in 125R came across the starting line side by side and headed off to the 4 laps, only Brad’s ended just a might early as that runabout snapped up in the air, twisted and threw Brad clear and then came down right side up somehow. Mike went on to win the rerun of the heat and was never headed until the last heat when Brianna Payn got some gremlins figured out and had a good run with Mike in the 3rd heat. Mike ended up taking all three heat wins for a perfect 1200 points and sets himself up in the Saxvik entry as the team to beat at the Nationals. Never say done as we all know in boat racing, but they are cooking. Lyndsay McGrath driving for the Chance team took the 2nd spot with 3 good finishes and Brianna finished 2nd. Brad was able to come back in the 2nd heat, but suffered catastrophic damage to the engine and ended his day in 125R.
175 Hydro was fun to watch especially since Brad Dygert was kept busy jumping from the 125R and right into the hydro. But, this young man is a stalwart in his efforts wit the USTS. He and David Tenney traded heat wins and then each of them found themselves watching the action from the water as each suffered an engine problem in one of the three heats, but Brad had enough steam to take the win overall, with David Tenney finishing 2nd and Kristi Ellison putting together good runs in two of the heats finished on the podium as well.
700R was spectacular as Austin Van Over and Jason Sailer, driving for the Thirlby Automotive fought it out with Jared Gryskiewicz all the way out from Loveland, Co in the first heat with Austin finally able to catch Jared on the backstretch of the last lap got around him and finished out front, with Jared and Jason chasing in behind.
The next heat, Jared could not get the engine to fire and was left on the beach to watch. Andy Kirts who had some trouble firing up his 700 in the first heat, beat the one-minute gun by about 2 seconds only to swap ends going into the first turn. No fun going backwards at 80mph. Andy was ok and was ready to do battle in the second heat. At the start, Andy was over the start line by about 1 second and DQ, but he had to be a happy man as he and Austin battled it out, out front the whole heat, side by side and when you can do that, you are moving when up against that Thirlby power and Austin’s driving. Another driver who has to be happy going into the Speedweeks and the Nationals is Joe Franck as Joe drove two good heats to take the podium in the 3rd spot. Nice work Joe
K-Pro was interesting today as Cooper Thompson, a fifth-generation driver from the Eldredge family had taken the first two heats on Saturday with Brandon Payn finishing second in each heat. Brandon knew what it would take to try and overtake those two wins and in the first heat, he got a great start and was never headed. That set up the 4 heat as a possibility if Brandon could take it to tie Cooper and then it would be on time. Cooper though knew what he needed to do and that was to get the great start he needed and off he went and did just that, keeping Brandon behind him the whole heat. Hudson Gryskiewicz improving with every race and every start finished in the 3rd spot but watch out as he gains experience. These youngsters may not be going 100mph, but they are not bashful about what they need to accomplish. Love it.
1100H’s four heats had Doug Hall blow through the field with precision in the Rex Hall prepared Rossi motors. He won the two heats on Saturday and took the 3rd heat on Sunday. Eric Van Overdriving the big black M-14 Thirlby entry was down on horsepower this weekend and it manifested itself in the third heat when the motor finally gave up the ghost and that is totally an unusual occurrence for that team. Doug chose to not run the 4th heat as he already had the win locked up and Dan Kirts took that heat win. So much fun to be able to call Dan’s name as growing up in DePue and the area and have watched a hero for all these years
250H was its usual hold your breath and head on a swivel watching the action everywhere. Chris Hellsten went out and ran away with the first heat win, only to suffer some kind of boat issue at the beginning of the 2nd heat and pulled in. Kurtis Nydahl who finished 2nd to Chris in the first went out and took the win in the 2nd heat by overtaking Kevin Ellison who drove a fantastic 3 heats in the bottom corner of the last lap. JP Jedwabny has to smile Mike ing from ear to ear as he finished 3rd in all 3 heats to some powerhouse teams and his starts were fantastic. Well the 3rd heat comes up and Kevin hit the start beautifully and off he went with the lead. Kurtis got a start that had him somewhat trapped in the back and had to come through 4 or 5 competitors before he could see the rooster tail of Kevin. Slowly but surely Kurtis began the march forward and once again it took the last lap pass to take the 3rd heat win as well.
The last class of the weekend was 350R with Mike Krier and brother Rich fought out the first two heats with Mike winning the 1st heat and Rich the 2nd heat. That set up the 3rd heat for a winner take all between them as Mike with a great start and Rich in behind the group at the start watched his brother run away from the field. Paul Bosnich who pipe came off in a heat put together good finishes to take the 3rd podium spot.
Congrats to our winners and to everyone who helped out to make this a successful race. We look forward to speedweek at Constantine and our Nationals at DePue in a few weeks.