Kelly inks multi-year deal with Porter Racing
DECATUR, Ind. – While the H1 Unlimited offseason typically brings change, J. Michael Kelly has made it clear he will continue to drive the U-5 Graham Trucking for the foreseeable future.
Team Porter Racing owner Ted Porter said today that Kelly has signed a multi-year agreement to serve as the team’s primary driver, after a spectacular season in 2014.
“It’s been a great second opportunity with Team Porter Racing, and to have the success we had in 2014,” Kelly said. “I’m happy to be back, and I wanted to show the whole team, the Porter family and everyone at Graham Trucking how much I appreciate them, by signing a multi-year agreement to stay with them.
“Winning four races last season, and coming as close as we did to another national championship, really says a lot about this team, top-to-bottom,” Kelly added. “I felt like the agreement Ted and I came to really does cement some consistency for the team, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Kelly, 35, returned to Team Porter Racing last season after a three-year stint in Schumacher Racing’s U-37. During his comeback year with Team Porter in 2014, Kelly won races in Madison, Seattle, San Diego and Doha. He has a total of five career race wins, all while driving for Team Porter Racing. He’s one of just two drivers who have won the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship twice (2009 and 2014).
“It has been amazing to have J. Michael back on the team,” Porter said. “Even more amazing are the results he and our team achieved in 2014. Having him endorse what we do and the way we race by signing a multi-year agreement is the icing on the cake.”
Kelly’s five career race wins ranks him fourth among active drivers in career wins, behind Dave Villwock (67), Jimmy Shane (8), and Jean Theoret (6).
Rob Graham, president of the team’s sponsor, Graham Trucking in Seattle said he’s been impressed by Kelly, and is excited to know the driver is staying put longer term.
“Having a guy like JMK in the cockpit is second-to-none, and I know Ted really wanted to keep him there,” Graham said. “He’s not only outstanding on the race course, and a really good person, he’s also a great ambassador for Graham Trucking so I’m excited that J. Michael has agreed to a multi-year contract with the team.”
The 2014 win in Doha capped a spectacular season at the helm of Porter’s T-6. Kelly not only won four of the six races on the tour, but he also finished second in the H1 Unlimited high points standings, just 421 points behind national champion Jimmy Shane in the U-6 Oberto.
Kelly drove for Team Porter as the pilot of the U-7 Graham Trucking (T-5 hull) in 2009-10, when he finished on the podium eight times in 12 races – one first, five seconds, and two thirds. His first career win in the unlimiteds was the 2009 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship victory, starting Porter’s dominance at the Oryx Cup. Kelly has been a fixture among the top drivers in the sport since breaking in to the unlimited ranks, when he was the 2004 unlimited class Rookie of the Year while driving for Jim Harvey.
The 2015 season will be Kelly’s 28th season of boat racing. During his career, he has set 25 world records in various classes, six of which are still current, and is a four-time American Power Boat Association Hall of Champions inductee (2003, 2004, 2010, and 2014). Kelly and his wife Angela have two sons, Brennan and Carson, and live in Bonney Lake, Wash.
ABOUT TEAM PORTER RACING
Over the last four seasons, Team Porter Racing has won 11 races, which is more than any other team in the sport over that same span. Team Porter Racing has also won five of the last six – and four in a row – at the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar.
In each of the last two years, Team Porter Racing has won four races on the H1 Unlimited Series. Since joining the H1 Unlimited series in 2006, Team Porter Racing has won a total of 16 races, placing Porter among the most successful owners in the sport’s history.
More information about the team can be found at www.u1racing.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.
- Team Porter Racing -
World Championship Apparel On Sale
Team Porter Racing, winner of five of the first six Oryx Cup UIM World Championship races — including the last four in a row — has introduced the opportunity for fans of the team, driver J. Michael Kelly, and the sport, to purchase shirts commemorating the 2014 World Championship, won by Kelly in Doha, Qatar.
Fans can select t-shirts, hoodies, and adidas men’s zip pullovers, as well as other styles.
Designs are by Team Porter Racing’s Corina Bakke.
Zazzle.com is a third-party from whom these shirts are purchased by the person doing the ordering. Team Porter Racing has no responsibility for quality of the garment, delivery, or refunds/exchanges.
New V-12 making progress
Kevin Braun and others affiliated with Kevin Aylesworth are making steady progress on a new V-12 Unlimited powerplant that is 1,200 cubic inches, and at 15 lbs of supercharger boost, and a single overhead cam should produce over 2,500 reliable HP. A working model is tentatively planned for viewing by the September San Diego race with dyno proofing complete by year end.
We look forward to seeing this powerplant in competition for the 2016 season:
Patrick Sankuer, Jr. to pilot Miss DiJulio in 2015
Centurion Racing co-owners Jay Leckrone and Denise Garl announced today (Wednesday, March 11, 2015) Patrick Sankuer, Jr. of Chesterfield, Mich. as the driver of the ‘U-12, Miss DiJulio’ on the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane circuit for 2015. Sankuer will replace Jesse Robertson who joined Ted Porter and the Graham Trucking team earlier this year.
“I am very excited to get this opportunity to race an unlimited hydroplane,” said the rookie Sankauer. “I wanted to race an unlimited since I was five years old when I first started watching the races on the Detroit River.”
Even though this will be Sankuer’s first unlimited ride, he started racing boats in 1990. Since then he has competed in four different classes (Grand National, Unlimited Light, Five-Liter and One-Liter) of the American Power Boat Association’s Inboard Division.
His best season came in 2009 when he piloted the Grand National boat ‘#6, Showtime’ to the Eastern Divisional crown in Waterford, Mich., and won the 2009 GNH APBA National High Point Championship.
“Boat racing has been a family affair for all of us,” said Sankuer. “ My father (Patrick, Sr.) ran the five liter ‘Spirit of 76’ in 1976 and then renamed it the ‘Stars and Stripes’ and ran that in the early 80’s.” Now his brother Jeffery is competing in the five-liter class racing the boat ‘E-17, The Modern Drummer.’
The connection between Centurion Racing and Sankuer started a few years ago when Patrick was a crew member on the Dave Bartush owned U-13 and Leckrone was the crew chief
“We got to know each other quite well and then last year when the U-12 was damaged in Madison, he called me to help him get the boat repaired in time for the Detroit Gold Cup, “ said Sankuer, who is President of Sankuer Composite Technologies of Sterling Heights, Mich. “We do a lot of work with hydroplanes and we were able to get the boat ready to race in Detroit.
“Then when Jesse left the team, he said I was one of four drivers they were looking at and I was fortunate to be selected.”
What is also ironic for Sankuer is the fact he repaired Robertson’s 2.5-liter hydroplane just a few years ago.
“Here I am replacing the driver who I helped fix his boat,” said Sankuer. “The nice thing for the U-12 team is not only will I be able to be their driver, I bring along composite fabrication experience when we need composite work done.”
The 45-year old Sankuer, Jr. is married to his wife Sara for 15 years.
Scott Liddycoat Will Drive U-9
Liddycoat was H1 Unlimited Rookie of the Year in 2011, and UIM World Champion. In 2012 he drove the 88 Degree Men for USA Racing Partners and drove the U-37 for Schumacher Racing for part of the 2014 season.
“I want to thank Lori and Mike Jones for giving me the opportunity to drive one of the fastest boats on the circuit and asking me to be a part of one of the most well respected teams on the beach.” said Liddycoat. “I think with Jeff Campbell and the knowledge, dedication, and teamwork surrounding the U-9 we will be a tough team to beat. The sport seems to be heading in a positive direction with the leadership of Steve David and I am glad I get to be part of it. My son Grant is super excited to be a part of the ‘snow cone’ team and is looking forward to Madison.”
Prior to moving up to the unlimited ranks, Scott was one of the country’s top inboard racers.
In 2010, he won both the Alton Pierson Memorial Trophy and the Eddie Cannon Memorial Trophy for Best Overall 5-Litre class performance, as well as the National High Points Championship in the 2.5-Litre class.
He also won series championships in 2007 (both 5-Litre and 2.5-Modified), 2006 (5-Litre), 2004 (National Modified), and 2002 (2.5-Litre Stock).
He is also an accomplished boat builder and used his experience from time with Jon Staudacher, Carter Parrish and Henry Lauterbach to design and build record-setting hydroplanes for himself and other drivers.
Big Crowd Honors H1 Stars At Annual Banquet
Chairman Steve David had a smile on his face and excitement in his voice Saturday night. More than 200 individuals in attendance along with emcee Brad Luce celebrated the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing at the Annual H1 Unlimited Awards Banquet at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59.
“I always enjoy the annual banquet, but this year it is very special,” said the new H1 Chairman David. “I believe we have a realistic outlook at the standing of our sport, and we had two days of high energy, team oriented meetings during our annual meeting. And tonight, we honor and thank the individuals and the teams who gave this sport an extraordinary effort in 2014.”
It was probably apropos that David in his first year as H1 Chairman and retired driver of the Oberto boat was able to hand out the top awards to the night to driver Jimmy Shane and the Oberto team. Shane won the 2014 National High Point Champion while his Oberto team was awarded the Martini and Rossi National High Point Championship Trophy for winning the high point boat championship. The Oberto brand was also named as H1 Unlimited Sponsor of the Year.
Larry Hanson, crew chief for the Oberto team, and Graham Trucking crew chief Tom Anderson were named co-recipients of the Mechanix Wear Crew Chief of the Year Award.
Ted Porter, the owner of the two Graham Trucking hydroplanes, also took home some hardware honored as the Owner of the Year. And the entire Graham Trucking crew was named Crew of the Year. The two Graham Trucking teams along with drivers J. Michael Kelly and Cal Phipps were runner-ups to the Oberto team this past season in the high point chase.
Director of Operations Ted Grange was honored for his outstanding contributions not only as the ‘Pit Boss’ but for all the extra work he provided helping teams with travel to and from Doha, Qatar and providing the plan and hard work to ensure the races run as a professional event.
Brian Hajny not only was named Chief Referee for 2015 on Saturday, he was also awarded the Official of the Year honor at the banquet while the Tri-City Water Follies were named Site of the Year as it prepares to host their 50th annual unlimited hydroplane race and the APBA Gold Cup, July 24 thru 26.
Kim Forsell was honored with Vic Nelawake Spirit Award. She attended her first race at the age of 14 and started volunteering at Seafair in 1995. To fill her time between races she takes on volunteer positions such as Royal Order of The Turbine (R.O.T.T) banquet coordinator, Seafair Boat Club Commodore, Seafair Milk Carton Chairman, Seafair Landside Section Chief as well as volunteering with Tastin’ & Racin’ and Mahogany & Merlot. And she also works as a volunteer for the U-17 team.
Steve Montgomery, the longtime broadcasting, media and PR man for the unlimited hydroplanes, was taken by surprise Saturday night when Luce not only announced Montgomery with the Lifetime Achievement Award, H1 Unlimited also named the annual media award for the Washington State alumnus.
Dave Goricki, a sports writer for The Detroit News and a graduate of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, was then named the winner of the Inaugural Steve Montgomery Excellence in Media Award.
Goricki has covered the Super Bowl, the World Series, the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup finals, a plethora of college sports including basketball and football and, of course, motors sports. A fixture at the auto races in Michigan, Goricki has also become a fixture in the Bill Muncey Memorial pits in Detroit over the last decade. Not only has he has helped publicize the sport of unlimited hydroplane for almost a decade with his outstanding coverage in The Detroit News, he is a journalist who cares about the sport and would like nothing better than to see the unlimited hydroplanes back on The Detroit River.
The 2015 H1 Unlimited season is scheduled to start with the Madison (Indiana) Regatta on the Ohio River, July 3-5.
THE 2014 H1 UNLIMITED AWARD WINNERS
Crew of the Year – Graham Trucking
Mechanix Wear Crew Chief of the Year – Larry Hanson (Oberto) and Tom Anderson (Graham Trucking)
Owner of the Year – Ted Porter
Race Site of the Year – Tri City Water Follies
Sponsor of the Year – Oberto
Official of the Year – Brian Hajny
Vic Nelawake Volunteer Spirit Award – Kim Forsell
Outstanding Contribution – Ted Grange
Lifetime Achievement to Steve Montgomery
Inaugural Steve Montgomery Excellence in Media Award – David Goricki
High Points 3rd Place Driver & Team – Cal Phipps and Graham Trucking 7
High Points 2nd Place Driver & Team – J Michael Kelly and Graham Trucking 1
National Champion Driver – Jimmy Shane
Martini and Rossi National Champion – Oberto
Annual H1 Meetings Held In Seattle
The annual H1 Unlimited winter meetings got underway Friday in Tukwila, South of Seattle. Meetings will continue on Saturday and the weekend of activity will conclude with the Annual Awards Banquet Saturday night at the Seattle Aquarium.
David’s personality and energy provided those in attendance with a glimpse on how he plans to lead the sport. The next Chairman’s Corner blog will provide some of the details of this weekend’s meeting.
H1 Works To Keep Detroit Race
With the Detroit River Regatta Association (DRRA) announcing Friday (February 15) that it will cease operations effective Saturday, February 28, H1 Unlimited Chairman Steve David is already working on a plan to keep unlimited hydroplane racing on the Detroit River.
“The DRRA has been the host organization for the Detroit APBA Gold Cup unlimited hydroplane since 2003 and we need to thank the DRRA for their support for the past 11 years,” said H1 Unlimited Chairman Steve David. “It is important to recognize Bill Rands, Tom Bertolini, Mark Weber and all the volunteers who worked and sacrificed so much to keep the boats racing on the Detroit River.
“Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan outlined ‘revitalization initiatives’ for the city during his State of the City address, and we too are putting our ‘revitalization initiatives’ together for the boat races in Detroit,” added David. “DYC’s (Detroit Yacht Club) immediate past Commodore Fred Carr will co-lead a new organization that will work to bring the unlimited hydroplanes to Detroit in 2015. We owe it to our fans and the Motor City to do what we can to keep this great Detroit tradition going.”
The nearly century-old boat racing tradition for Detroit started in 1915. Johnny Milot and Jack Beebe piloted the community-owned Miss Detroit (designed by the legendary boat designer Christopher Columbus Smith of ChrisCraft fame) to a Gold Cup victory on Manhasset Bay in upstate New York. By virtue of this victory, the City of Detroit earned the right to defend the trophy on its home water in 1916.
Since ’16, the City of Detroit hosted a boat race until the onset of World War II. From 1941 until 1945, the boats did not race in the Motor City.
In the years following WW II, Detroit reigned supreme as the hub of big-time power boat racing in North America. Between 1946 and 1961, the Motor City traditionally hosted two Unlimited events per year. The Detroit Yacht Club sponsored the Silver Cup, and the Windmill Pointe Yacht Club offered the Detroit Memorial Regatta. Both the DYC and the WPYC dropped out of the sport when prize money became mandatory at all Unlimited races, starting in 1962.
With the sport facing extinction in Detroit, the Spirit of Detroit Association was hurriedly formed in the summer of 1962. Jack Adams (General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings), Joe Schoenith, Jack Love, and other community leaders formed the organization and within the space of two months, SODA hosted the Spirit Of Detroit Trophy on the Detroit River.
SODA was the host unlimited organization until 2003 (changing its name to Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest in the mid 90’s) when internal financial issues took down Thunderfest and placed the event in jeopardy once again.
Boat racing legend Tom D’Eath and his wife Judy returned to Michigan from Florida to spearhead the creation of the Detroit River Regatta Association in 2003. The race didn’t take place until August of ’03, but the race remained a part of the city’s sports tradition.
“We are going to need another effort like we witnessed in 2003, but I am confident we can keep Detroit as a race site for our series,” said David. “Detroit has a tradition of hosting boat races going back to 1916, and this city is important to the sport.
“The boat owners, drivers and everyone involved in H1 will work with local business and community leaders to keep hydroplane racing alive in the Motor City for the thousands of fans who have made this race a Detroit tradition.”