SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 2010 - It only took about 15 laps into the morning practice today for Herd Racing to experience it's first wreck of the 2010 SuperLeague boat season. It wasn't a huge wreck for us, but the boat we hit will go home tomorrow without an opportunity to race.
Veteran driver Chip Wavro in the #10 boat was in the outside lane in the middle of turns 1 and 2 when he trimmed down too far, hooked his front picklefork into the water and barrel-rolled the boat. Then, the boat caught the water and it shot up onto it's side and darted right in front of us. All I saw was a black #10 on the bottom of a boat fly in front of my eyes and then I felt the impact. No time to even consider how to react. It was all over before I even processed that it had happened.
We got to the dock and I thought we had broken the whole front of our boat off, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been, as you can see in the attached photo. As for Chip, if we had not hit him he would have rolled on over onto his lid and been under water. While our hit devastated his boat, knocking a hugh hole in his sponson, it kept him out of the drink which is the good think. Going upside down in a muddy river at 70 miles an hour is everyone's fear. Luckily, Chip landed upright and was unhurt.
Kudos to Jeramey Wentz, our crew chief, and his guys. They went right to work getting the repairs made so we could go back out for qualifying in just over an hour. They got it done with some help from veteran drivers Bill Mastro and a some tools and wood, compliments of fellow competitors Jeff and Carole Reno. Boat racers are truly one big family, which is nice. Everyone chips in to help get their competition back in the race which is really neat. Once we got our boat back on the water our guys went right to Chip to see if we could get him back going again for tomorrow but his crew chief decided that the repairs might be too much to take on at the track.
I'm not sure what we finished today in qualifying or either heat race. I think we qualified about 9th or so in single boat laps at about 34.5 seconds which was somewhere in the middle of the pack, but I don't have a clue where we finished in either heat race. I would suspect around 8th to 10th which should get us in the Top 10 for tomorrow's finals, but there were so many breakdowns, wrecks and freak things happening today that I have no clue who finished where. Mike Hooper lost his hood in qualifying off of the #52 boat, he and Tammy Jakob in the #8 boat got together, knocking holes in both boats, and Dave Henzel in the #99 boat snagged a buoy and drug it with him for nearly half a race. What a day!
I'll get back to you Monday and let you know where everything shook out this weekend. If you want to see the in-boat footage from the crash you can find it at our YouTube channel here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fry0azXjcHc&feature=player_embedded. Notice Chip's boat flying over our boat out the left side of my window about 5 seconds into the clip. You also can keep up to date from our crew posts on our Facebook link here http://www.facebook.com/HerdRacing.