SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2010 - Well it's pushing midnight on Sunday night and we just got in from the APR SuperLeague Regional Championships in Marietta, OH where we experienced exactly the opposite racing luck that we enjoyed last weekend in Pittsburgh.
At the North American Championships last weekend things just kept getting better and better as the weekend went on. At Marietta this weekend we endured the opposite.
The first practice session on Saturday went great. We improved our lap times by about 2.5 seconds during the course of the 45-minute session, running times that were in the Top 5 of the F-3 boats which were competing. We made some setup changes for the qualifying runs and heat races and the luck quickly turned sour.
In single boat qualifying we turn the 9th quickest time, about a second slower than our practice times. In both heat races the boat just didn't handle the way it did in practice and the forward bite just wasn't there. You can tell that in boat racing by the height of the rooster tail the boat shoots from the prop and by the angle that the boat rides on the water. We needed more lift on the nose to get more of the boat up out of the water and we needed more depth on the prop to get more forward thrust which would help elevate the boat.
After we swamped the motor coming out of Turn 4 late in the second qualifier we changed the setup, lowered the engine and thought our performnace on Sunday would show better results. The problem was that our swamping of the motor led to problem after problem in the motor department including a blown coil and a blown head gasket. We went out for testing on Sunday morning and were down a cylinder. We replaced the coil and thought that would fix the problem thanks to some troubleshooting by F2 champion Mark Jakob. We went out to start the final and could tell all three cylinders were hitting, but we weren't able to get the RPMs up. That ended our day early and resulted in a motor teardown to see what was happening. We suspected a blown head gasket or a bad piston, but the inside of the Evinrude looked great except for a big blowout between the first and second cylinder on the head gasket. A big thanks to boat builder Gary Pugh who oversaw the engine teardown for us Sunday afternoon!
But our off the track events went great all weekend long. Greg and Krystal and their kids were on vacation this week and didn't make the race, but my Tonya and Hannah went to Marietta, along with Eric's Bethany, Allison and Emily so we had some help at the trailer with our outreach program. Hopefully Greg and Krystal will be back with us at Memphis and Jeramey's wife, Melissa, and son Spencer are hoping to come along as well.
Hannah and Allison made sure every passing kid got a Jesus Fish necklace and Bethany and Tonya talked to people about the team and our mission while handing out about 100 "We are Marshall" DVDs and some Christian outdoors videos. Everyone seemed to love the free movies so we owe a thanks to Marshall University for helping us spread the word of the university to those in and around Marietta.
We spent dinner Saturday night at a downtown Marietta restaurant with Dan Bunting and his Monster Energy Drink crew, as well as fellow F-3 pilot Toby Hood and his family. Thanks to Dan and Britt for inviting all of us out to dinner.
I'll try to blog a few times this week, but honestly, I have to work about a hundred hours this coming week to have any hopes of getting caught up at the office anytime soon.
We had a nice interview on a local NBC station which you can see on our Facebook page by clicking on the Facebook icon on the front page of the website. And, as you can see from the picture with today's blog, I was honored to have my photo taken with the Queen and Supreme of the Marietta Riverfront Roar. Normally Tonya wouldn't be real pleased if I posed for photos with the local beauty queens, but since these two beauties were about 5 years old I guess she'll let me slide.