July 5, 2015
MADISON, Ind. – J. Michael Kelly in the Graham Trucking won the Indiana Governor’s Cup H1 Unlimited Hydroplane race Sunday, pulling away from second-place finisher Jimmy Shane in the Oberto on the first lap of the winner take all championship. Kelly averaged 141.818 to take the title and ran a 144.701 on the first lap to secure the position.
“We were lucky just to make the final heat,” said Kelly. “We broke the front canard of the boat in the final preliminary heat and the team worked hard to get it back together.
“I don’t know how they did it, but it held together, and we were able to get the win.”
Kelly broke the canard in the second preliminary heat exiting turn one of the second lap in heat 2B. The broken canard allowed Jimmy Shane in the Oberto to catch the Graham Trucking boat in that heat, but in the championship final, Kelly grabbed the lead from lane one after a perfect start and led from wire to wire.
Shane took second in the final while Jesse Robertson in Graham Trucking II placed third. Tom Thompson in the Peters & May hydro did not start. Thompson’s boat was damaged prior to the start after hitting a piece of floating wood.
It was a wild weekend for the unlimited hydroplane teams and the drivers. Of the 11 boats that made the trip to Madison, only five boats raced due to the debris ridden Ohio River. The change also required a change in the racing format. A two-boat, three lap shootout for all four preliminary heats led to the championship winner-take-all final.
“We have been discussing for many years a way to race on smaller bodies of water,” said Steve David, H1 Unlimited Chairman. “With the amount of debris in the water, this gave us an opportunity to test the three lap shootout format.
“This format will open up other possibilities for new race sites on the H1 circuit.”
In the final heat, the boats also drew for starting positions instead of the pre-starting gun battle for lane positions. Kelly had lane one while Shane had lane two.
“The lane position draw helped me quite a bit, having the inside on lane one on the Oberto is always important but it also tough,” said Kelly. “I knew I had to hold that lane and get through the rollers in turn one if I even had a chance to win. I knew if I did that I could take control of the race.”
And that he did.
INDIANA GOVERNOR’S CUP FINAL STANDINGS
1st – Graham Trucking, J Michael Kelly, 141.818
2nd –Oberto, Jimmy Shane, 139.724
3rd – Graham Trucking, Jessie Robertson, 125.317
DNS – Peters and May, Tom Thompson
DNS – Miss DiJulio, Patrick Sankuer
Fastest Lap – J Michael Kelly, Lap 1, Final heat, 144.701mph