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Downard to crew chief #66 at Huntington . . .
Downard to crew chief #66 at Huntington . . .

SUNDAY, July 19, 2015 - Veteran pilot and team owner Gordon Downard will crew chief Herd Racing's #66 SST-120 team this weekend at the Huntington Classic, filling in for 2015 crew chief Dan Bunting who will be serving as director of the championship race.

Bunting, owner of Powerboat Nationals, the company conducting the Huntington Classic's North American Championship events, has overseen the team's Formula 1 operations in 2015, but is unable to be involved with the team during the next two SST-120 events due to his duties with PN.

Downard, who retired from racing as a pilot in 2013, and served as team owner for his daughter's rookie year of racing in 2014, is building a new boat for his daughter to race in 2016.

Our Herd Racing team will run our Lamb/Caniff hull at Huntington and Rising Sun, powered by an engine we ran last year.  We had the heads cut and a little porting done over the winter to pick up a little more compression and horsepower, but it is the same engine we ran at Huntington and Portsmouth last year, originally built by David McCormick the prevoius winter.

The big challenge we face this week is getting our hull rigged and ready by Friday's report date to Huntington.  I have an extremely busy week at work with out of town travel most of the week.  The boat is back at our shop after having the sponsons tightened up, but we still have a lot to do, including putting the engine on, plumbing, wiring, air system installation and some other stuff.  A good full day of work lies ahead and may not get done until we get to the race site on Friday morning.

The Formula 2 portion of our race schedule is here, ready or not.  See you Friday in Huntington!

Dana Tomes

Passports to determine team's fate . . .
Passports to determine team's fate . . .

SUNDAY, July 5, 2015 - We planned on spending this past weekend racing our F1 boat at Pittsburgh but Mother Nature had something to say about that.  We plan on racing our F1 boat at Valleyfield next weekend but the U.S. Government holds the permission slip for our inclusion in that event.

As most know, due to the events of 9/11, all U.S. citizens who wish to re-enter the country after a trip to another must have a passport or North American travel card in their possession.  Prior to that event more than a decade ago a picture ID would do it.  Now, if you don't have a passport you won't get back home, period.

Two of our crew members are still waiting approval from the U.S. Department of State to receive their passports.  The government's ability to proces those applications quickly will determine whether our team is off to Valleyfield as planned on Wednesday or if we are starting our preparations for the Huntington Classic a week earlier than planned.

Regardless, our F1 plans for 2015 haven't gone as we had hoped.  We started off well at LaPorte in our season opener but things soured by the end of the weekend.  Those gremlins continued at Bay City as we struggled with engine and electrical problems the entire weekend.  Both weekends ended in horrible finishes for our team.  The Pittsburgh race, chance for a rebound, got cancelled before it ever got started.  Now, we're nearing the end of our USF1 race season still looking for a decent finish.

Hopefully that is in the cards this coming weekend at Valleyfield.  Only the U.S. government can stop us from finding out.  We'll keep you posted.

Dana Tomes

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