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An unfortunate casualty from Unlimited Lights Spring Training is the loss of the UL-929 for the Phoenix event. Vince "X-Man" Xaudaro and Jim & Karon Wilmot who own the hull are very encouraged by what they've seen so far, however drive line damage that occured at Spring Training couldn't be repaired in time for Phoenix. The 929 team will open the season next month at Richland WA for Desert Thunder II at Howard Amon Park, May 17th & 18th. The 929 hull is the former Thunder Valley UL-21 that launched supercharged engines in the Unlimited Lights series with driver Nick Badolato back in 2001.


Source: John Lynch, ULHRA
Photo: Chris Denslow (Spring Training, 2008)
More UL Season Opener news in comments

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HydroInsider.com said...

Testing and Qualifying will be held on Friday (4-25) with racing on Saturday and Sunday as Trafficade Presents ULHRA at Firebird International Raceway. The narrow 1 1/4 race course is situated around the 1/4 mile drag boat race course and both ULHRA and the IHBA Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series will be competing this weekend.

ULHRA Video will have live coverage throughout the weekend here at www.ulhra.org. Because of contractural arrangements ULHRA Video can show only ULHRA racing; not the IHBA drag boats.

It's one thing to race in your home state. It's something else entirely to pack up one's "shop" and raceboat and haul it 1500 miles one-way to a race site, as was discussed in a recent Roostertales feature on this website by Muncey Racing Crew Chief Chris Drewees. Twenty ULHRA teams in three divisions are doing exactly that and for the first time outside of the state of Washington, Unlimited Lights (UL), Thunderboats (G), and Lighter than LIGHTS (LTL) will be competing at the same venue.

All eyes will be on 19 year old Kayleigh Perkins of Black Diamond WA to see if she can repeat a phenomenal first season of Unlimited Lights racing. She won the Driver's title and Rookie of the Year plus the UL-72 Miss Boat Electric team picked up their 4th Unlimited Lights Championship in 2007. The team also won the title with co-owner Phil Bononcini driving from 2000 - 2002. Leading the charge of competitors at Phoenix will be the UL-15 Graham Trucking GT-Happy Go Lucky of Jerry & Greg Hopp. The Hopp Racing Team, along with Schellhase Racing won the UL title from 2003-2006. This year Hopp Racing will field their familiar Jamie Auld hull and Schellhase Racing will also race their UL-12 Jones-Droullard hull. However with the UL-12 still being repaired from last year's Port Angeles flip, Greg & Jerry Hopp are concentrating now on the UL-15. The 12 hull is not expected to be ready to compete until July when the series moves to Cha mberlain-Oacoma SD for the debut of the Pepsi Power Cup.

Watch for Paul Becker in the UL-14 Miss Critical Logic. His team had the most impressive performance at the recently concluded Spring Training test session. A second year with this hull, which won 4 times from 1999-2003 with Ohio's Randy Haas driving and is a "sister hull" to the UL-15, should result in improved performances.

It's down to cases for the UL-11 team owned by Buckley WA's Darren Bartels. The Michael Flaherty driven supercharged hydroplane team is in "thrash mode" with several items to complete before pulling out of town, hopefully Wednesday night (4-23). It looks promising. Flaherty, a 4 time winner in Unlimited Lights racing has a veteran crew led by ex UL-72 Crew Chief Scott Main and Consultant John Flaherty.

Oregon's Bob Smets enters his second season of Unlimited Lights racing with the UL-20 Smetco-Overtime. Smets was one of the first to arrive in the Phoenix area, along with Wil & Debi Muncey and the UL-00 Trafficade. For the Phoenix event the Muncey's will race their familiar "Little Boat that Could".....formerly the UL-83. Muncey is confident the smaller hull will perform quite well on the narrow race course, while retaining their 2007 acquired former UL-23 hull for the bigger course at next month's Desert Thunder II. The ex-23 hull is about 4 feet longer and at more than a foot wider.

Florida's Mike Sadlon and the UL-89 Lake Trash Apparel will be at Firebird, along with Randy Hurst in the UL-93 Desperado from Illinois. The Desperado showed last November during the Firebird ULHRA exhibition that it will be a contender on this race course. The Kennewick WA based UL-98 Miss Atomic Screen Printing with second year UL driver Charles Xaudaro will compete with the oldest hull in ULHRA racing; originally built by Ron Jones Sr. in 1974. In addition, ULHRA's first Texas based team debuts the UL-39 Rouly Heat Exchangers "Pressure's On", driven by Lakewood WA's "Smokin Joe" Souza.

An unfortunate "casualty" from Spring Training is the loss of the UL-929 for the Phoenix event. Vince "X-Man" Xaudaro and Jim & Karon Wilmot who own the hull are very encouraged by what they've seen so far, however drive line damage that occured at Spring Training couldn't be repaired in time for Phoenix. The 929 team will open the season next month at Richland WA for Desert Thunder II at Howard Amon Park, May 17th & 18th. The 929 hull is the former Thunder Valley UL-21 that launched supercharged engines in the Unlimited Lights series with driver Nick Badolato back in 2001.

For the Thunderboats series, it should be an interesting season opener. The "G" class boats are larger than Unlimited Lights and have larger, more powerful superchnarged engines which the drag boat crowd should really enjoy. Marty Wolfe in the G-93, Dustin Echols in the Checker Auto Parts G-17, David Warren in the G-329 Block Head Machine and Dick Lynch in the G-13 Tempo should provide a glimpse of the future of this growing class.

On the Lighter than LIGHTS side, two-time defending eight cylinder champion Bud McKay leads the field in the E-10 Geiko of Lakewood WA presents Namron Racing. Both 8 cylinder and 4 cylinder stock teams will be competing this weekend.

John Lynch
P.R. Director and "Voice" of ULHRA Racing