MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011 - We got the SST-120/F-2 boat delivered yesterday and spent a good bit of time today and tonight getting it cleaned up and ready to rig. Other than the typical road grime that would be expected from a 1,600-mile cross-country trip and some goo left over from previous decals the boat is surprizingly in excellent condition. We went over it from stem to stern tonight covering every inch of the bottom, peaking into the sponsons and going through the capsule and fuselage of the boat. Other than bolting on a powerhead, mid-section and gearcase, this boat is pretty much ready to race.
We will make some minor improvements, replace the windshield which is a little worn, rig it with a breathing air system and move some weight around and do some paint touch up, but overall I am more than pleased with the Miller machine. I was surprized at one thing, the capsule is smaller than the Pugh capsule on the SST-60 boat we raced last year so it will be a tight fit. But after I got used to the Pugh last year I kind of liked being in there tight. It seems that once those seatbelts are pulled down I didn't move around much at all and I think the tighter fit in this F-2 boat will be something I will like even more.
Our next venture is rounding up some cash to get us a top-of-the-line mid-section, gearcase and powerhead which is where the auction of our NASCAR stuff in early March will come into play. That gives us about six weeks to find the equipment we want and work a deal for the purchase.
That leads me to the sneak peak I promised to you during our last blog. Tomorrow, Herd Racing will be announcing a 2011 sponsorship agreement with Herr Foods. Herr Foods manufactures and distributes hundreds of different types of snacks and is well known nationwide for its potato chips, pretzels, cheese curls and other bagged snacks.
We are very happy to have Herr's on board with us this year. Their decal will appear on both our F-2 and F-3 race boats as they will support not only our racing efforts, but have donated several hundred bags of product to our charitable efforts that will be distributed to those groups and individuals our team comes in contact with during our charity visits to hospitals, shelters and other places. A sizable story about the Herr Foods agreement will appear on our website tomorrow. If you want to thank Herr Foods for their involvement with our team and their interest in powerboat racing in general it would be great if you dropped them on a line on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/herrs.
Finding a major corporation with nationwide appeal to get involved in powerboat racing is very encouraging. There are very few teams with major corporate sponsors in powerboat racing today. It wasn't like that 20 years ago, but powerboat racing in general has dropped off significantly from what it was a few decades ago. The announcement tomorrow brings me confidence that many race teams are going to get tunnel boat racing back to the forefront of the minds of advertisers in the next few years and pick up some of those companies who have been priced out of sports advertising markets by other forms of racing in recent years.
Finally, I dropped by Downard Racing today in West Portsmouth, OH to see fellow F-3 pilot Gordon Downard. Gordon builds motor covers and pans for the SST-60 boats and I took him a used one for him to refurbish and paint to match the other new one we bought from him a few months ago. That will let us have brand new motor covers on both F-3 boats when the season starts later this summer. If you ever want to tour a homegrown museum of boat racing then you need to spend a few hours at Gordon's place. There are photos on the walls of tunnel boats all the way back in the 80s that he has built, worked on or raced. His shop is packed with boats, cars, hot rods and about everything you can imagine, including a 1974 Corvette which he has refurbished. Quite a guy that Gordon is.