Story by Gregg Mansfield / Photos by Jeff Gerardi/123freeze.com
The right setup made the difference for offshore teams at Offshore Powerboat Association’s Michigan City, Ind., race.
An offshore race can be won or lost before the boats even go into the water. Set up is the difference between bringing home the checkered flag and cleaning up the rear in the class.
The racers knew this as the weather would be the deciding factor at the Offshore Powerboat Association’s PlayTradez Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City, Ind., in early August. The typical Midwest summer weather turned the 60-plus teams into amateur meteorologists, pulling out their phones to study weather and radar apps.
OPA organizers managed to get the races in between thunderstorms, while racers were left trying to figure out the water conditions on Lake Michigan. The teams that did figure it out, such as Jackhammer in the Super Stock, were rewarded with a checkered flag.
Jackhammer crew chief and throttleman Ricky Maldonado opted for a setup he used at the start of the season in Coco Beach, Fla., and the move may have been the difference as Maldonado and driver Reese Langheimas held off CMR Roofing’s Shaun Torrente and Sean Conner for the Super Stock victory.
When it came to the Super Cat class, Graydel’s throttleman Billy Moore and driver Chris Grant made a similar call on the weather setup. After watching the Super Stock race, Moore decided on different props for the Skater Powerboats 388.
The team dominated with the setup cruising to a win over second-place finisher M-Con as the rain was intermittent during the race. Pro-Floors finished third.
In V-bottom action, Stock Vee had its largest showing of the year with eight boats in the class. Wazzup left off where it had a week earlier in St. Clair, Mich., by holding off Laticrete (second) and You Gun Learn (third). With the bulk of OPA’s 2022 season in the rearview mirror, Wazzup has a 50-point lead in the standings over Shocker. Both teams have run all the races this season.
The Modified Vee race had five boats in Michigan City and when the start flag dropped it was BoatFloater.com/Scott Free Racing, 151 Express and XInsurance/Phantom mixing it up. BoatFloater’s Steve and Stephen Kildahl outlasted Nick Imprescia and Ian Morgan in 151 Express, who spun out in a turn early in the race, for the victory.
ClassONE also competed in Michigan City with the 222 Offshore Australia catamaran driven by Darren Nicholson and throttleman Giovanni Carpitella in the four-boat class. Steve Curtis and Travis Pastrana were second in Huski Chocolate, while Good Boy Vodka celebrated third place.
Other class winners include Klovar Motorsports (Factory Stock), Knucklehead Racing (Vee Extreme), Team Woody (Class 3), Predator (Class 4), Team Woody (Class 5), Rum Runner (Class 6) and Goofin Around (Class 7).
After a September race in Morehead City, N.C., OPA wraps up with its National Championship Oct. 6-8 in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., and its World Championships in November.