H1 Unlimited will present an ongoing discussion by notable observers of the sport during the 2023 season, and we begin with impressions of the driver changes that occurred in the off-season. Please give us your opinion in the poll below:
Since September there have been four driver changes (Dylan Runne, Andrew Tate, Dustin Echols, and Brent Hall). Which driver will have the greatest impact on their new team?
Craig Fjarlie (Unlimited News Journal Writer & H1 Unlimited Volunteer)
Each of the four drivers has a special talent and ability to bring to their team. Dylan Runne is known for his driving ability in smaller classes and his outgoing personality. Dustin Echols overcame odds while driving the 440 and impressed people with his persistence and focus in an underpowered boat. Andrew Tate won the National Championship and the Gold Cup when driving for Mike and Lori Jones in 2018. Brent Hall has marketing skills and is motivated to succeed in the Unlimited class. Overall, I believe Andrew Tate will give his team valuable feedback about the boat’s performance, so it can truly be a favorite to win at every race. His family’s long-term involvement in racing gives him the background and legacy needed to continue in that tradition.
Andy Muntz (Unlimited News Journal Editor & H1 Unlimited Board Member)
I’m most excited about the potential for Brent Hall’s involvement. Not only will he have an impact on his race team, but on the sport in general. I’ve known Brent for many years, since we both served together on a marketing committee for United Way. That’s when I learned that we shared a passion for boat racing. I then began to follow his career in the limited ranks and have often thought that he’d be an ideal candidate for an Unlimited ride.
He comes from the same mold as Bill Muncey, in that he brings to his role as a driver a thorough understanding of the importance of reaching the fans on the beach. He understands the art of publicity and the importance of marketing our product. And, as a special bonus, he also represents a segment of our population that our sport has not been reaching for far too long. So, I’m thrilled that Brent now finally has a chance to drive an Unlimited and to be an effective part of our sport.
David Newton (Publisher of Roostertail Talk Podcast)
The 2023 H1 Unlimited season will look quite different as almost half of the boats on the circuits will have new drivers piloting them. The future is bright for these drivers. It is great to see Brent Hall finally get a shot and join the Unlimited ranks in the U-440 Boitano Homes, Dylan Runne will have a large learning curve racing Unlimiteds for the first time with the fastest hydroplane in the fleet and Dustin Echols will be right there with the others in the quick U-40 Bucket List Racing (let’s just hope that team’s luck is much different this year).
With a short season the one driver that will make the biggest impact has to be Andrew Tate. He has the most rounded racing resume with the most experience in the Unlimited ranks out of the 4 drivers on the seating carousel. He will enter this season with 9 career victories in H1 Unlimited (9 more than Dylan, Dustin and Brent combined). The U-91 Goodman Real Estate might be the Miss Madison Racing Team’s number 2, older and heavier boat but what the team will lack in qualifying speed Andrew will make up for with his experience on the course. He has proven himself to be a dynamic driver that can get every ounce of speed out of anything he drives. Look for some big wins for Andrew Tate and the U-91 Goodman Real Estate this year.