GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Corey Peabody of Covington, Wash., drove Beacon Plumbing to his second-straight race victory at Guntersville today, but he won the H1 Unlimited Racing Series event after the final heat had to be canceled due to an approaching thunderstorm. Peabody was the winner of the APBA Gold Cup in Guntersville a year ago and his Strong Racing Team has now won in the Alabama city three years in a row.
Officials got the final heat started despite the approaching storm, but the race was stopped only moments after it began when Andrew Tate’s Miss Goodman Real Estate went over and landed upside-down in the first turn. Tate, of Canton, Mich., was not injured, but the delay caused by the stoppage meant the race couldn’t be completed before the storm arrived.
With the final heat canceled, the event’s final standings were based on points earned in the preliminary heats. Peabody, who was driving a boat that was completely rebuilt last winter following a blowover accident last season, was victorious in all three of the preliminary heats he had entered. Tate earned enough points to place second and Jamie Nilsen of Gig Harbor, Wash., placed third in Legend Yacht Transport.
Peabody and Tate started today’s action with a thrilling deck-to-deck battle in Heat 2A. Tate grabbed the inside lane at the start and led the field for the first two laps, but Peabody was right on his outside and slightly behind. Then, in the final lap, Peabody pulled even with Tate headed down the backstretch, pulled ahead going around the final turn, and won the dash to the finish line.
Another close scuffle came in the following preliminary heat when Nilsen took the early lead in Legend Yacht Transport but was then passed by Jimmy King of Wales, Mich., who was driving the piston-powered Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware. The others in the race compete with boats that use turbine engines. King was later disqualified when officials determined he had gone too slow while setting up for the start, which gave the heat victory to Nilsen.
In the day’s third preliminary heat, Tate took the early lead over J. Michael Kelly of Bonney Lake, Wash., who was driving Beacon Electric, and held his advantage to the finish line. In the day’s last preliminary heat, Peabody did the same as Tate. He led the field across the starting line and remained in first place through all three laps while Nilsen finished second.
The H1 Unlimited Racing Series will continue on the Ohio River next weekend in Madison, Ind. Testing is scheduled to get underway on Friday and the boats will compete for the Indiana Governor’s Cup on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are available at madisonregatta.com.
HEAT 2A — 1, Corey Peabody, Beacon Plumbing, 160.880 avg. speed, 400 points; 2, Andrew Tate, Miss Goodman Real Estate, 160.181, 300; 3, Dustin Echols, Bucket List Racing, 155.868, 225; 4, J. Michael Kelly, Beacon Electric, 148.741, 169.
HEAT 2B — 1, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 150.631, 400; 2, Dylan Runne, Miss HomeStreet, 144.966, 300; Jimmy King, Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware, DSQ, 0.
HEAT 3A — 1, Andrew Tate, Miss Goodman Real Estate, 154.071, 400; 2, J. Michael Kelly, Beacon Electric, 152.513, 300; 3, Dylan Runne, Miss HomeStreet, 147.710, 225; Jimmy King, Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware, W/D.
HEAT 3B — 1, Corey Peabody, Beacon Plumbing, 158.132, 400; 2, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 155.419, 300; 3, Dustin Echols, Bucket List Racing, 152.866, 225.
FINAL — Heat was stopped when Miss Goodman Real Estate went upside-down in the first turn. Race was canceled due to an approaching thunderstorm.
ACCUMULATED POINTS — 1, Corey Peabody, Beacon Plumbing, 1280 points; 2, Andrew Tate, Miss Goodman Real Estate, 1070; 3, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 965; 4, J. Michael Kelly, Beacon Electric, 919; 5, Dylan Runne, Miss HomeStreet, 810; 6, Dustin Echols, Bucket List Racing, 719; 7, Jimmy King, Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware, 330.