By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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The area team with the biggest following, Port Angeles-based Wicked Racing No. 10, encountered a deja vu scenario at the American Sprint Boat Pro Racing Series event at Webb Slough in St. John on Aug. 23.
Driver Dan Morrison and navigator Cara McGuire shook off a Did Not Finish in their first qualifying lap to post the fastest qualifying time and earn the most qualifying points in the Unlimited class.
But just like at August’s Sprint Boat Race in Port Angeles, the area duo was bested in the Unlimited final by the Tacoma-based Rum Runner No. 15M, driven by Jerimy Brewer and navigated by Presley Lollar.
Morrison/McGuire posted a finals time of 43.181 seconds, good for second place and 75 points to Brewer/Lollar’s 42.652 seconds and 80 points.
The Wicked Racing duo remains in first place overall, 26 points clear of the Rum Runner boat.
Another area boat, the TNT Jeepers Creepers No. 99, a Modified class boat piloted by Sequim’s Dillon Cummings with his mom, Teri Cummings, serving as navigator, didn’t compete in the St. John race.
The Cummings’ crew placed sixth out of 12 teams at the season-opening race in June at Webb’s Slough in St. John and fourth at the first race in Port Angeles.
Jeepers Creepers is in eighth place, 111 points back of the Modified leaders.
Paul Gahr and his daughter Taylor, a recent Sequim High School graduate, will compete in the 400 class in the TNT Live Wire No. 2.
The Gahrs finished third at St. John in August, fourth in June and received a DNF in the semifinals of the first Port Angeles race.
They are third overall, 35 points shy of first place.
The five-event series wraps with a National Finals contest at Toutle’s Riverdale Raceway on Sept. 27.
Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday with races starting at 10 a.m. at the Extreme Sports Park, 2917 W. Edgewood Drive.
Boats reach speeds of up to 90 miles per hour on straightaways and breakneck cornering as drivers and navigators hurtle around the course’s man-made maze of islands.
With tight handling capabilities, racers can pull up to three G-forces around corners, the same force applied to a space shuttle on launch and re-entry.
The watery race track includes circles, figure-eights and some straight-aways to help build speed.
Qualifying time trials are held across three classes: Modified, which allows boat engines up to 368 cubic inches; 400, with engines ranging from 400 to 412 cubic inches; and Unlimited, with no restriction on engine size.
More than 20 boats are expected to compete across the three classes at Extreme Sports Park Saturday.
All boats have four chances to qualify for the next level of races.
The top eight boats in each category advance to the elimination rounds where the field is whittled down to the final four.
The class races conclude with the top two boats in each division facing off in a race against the clock in the finals, set for the afternoon.
All boats accumulate race points that go toward the season-ending standings.
The boats never race together, as the 14-feet wide track is too narrow for multiple boats.
Tickets are $25 for those 15 years and older, $20 for military members with ID and seniors older than 55, $15 for children ages 6-15 and children younger than 6 are free.
The ticket price includes parking and a pit pass.
Tickets can be bought at the gate on race day or in Port Angeles at Coco’s Market, at Laird’s Corner at 242811 U.S. Highway 101; First Street Chiropractic, 1217 E. First St,; Lincoln Street Shipping Center, 403 S. Lincoln St., Pen Print Inc., 230 E. First St.; and Sunset Do It Best Hardware, 518 Marine Drive; and in Sequim at Doghouse Powder Coating, 503 S. Third Ave.
They also can be purchased online at www.brownpapertickets.com by searching for “ASB Racing Pro Series.”
Onsite camping is available for tents, campers and RV’s for $20 for the weekend.
Camping opened at noon on Thursday.
A Sprint Boat Show and Shine and tech event is planned on Laurel Street, between First and Front streets, today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This is an important event for race teams, the first time they receive the course route and begin the crucial process of memorizing each twist and turn in the track.
Drivers and navigators have the night to memorize the specific route they must take through the course and have no chance at practicing the route before qualifications begin, making crashes common as boats run aground on dry land after missing turns.
The race’s technical inspector also will check the boats for safety.
Fans can attend the free event and take pictures with drivers, navigators and the boats themselves, before the Saturday races.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.