ULHRA's John Lynch moving on?

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The Last Lynch Line?

In a couple of ways, yes. It’s the last Lynch Line for the year 2008 and it’s the last Lynch Line to be written from my now former home of Auburn WA…….but the last Lynch Line ever? Is ULHRA's John Lynch moving on? Answer, below.

The new racing season commences at the end of April in Phoenix (Chandler) AZ. As I write this the Phoenix race is looking particularly good with sub freezing temperatures and snow here in western Washington State.

Lots of people think the economy right now is hazardous to motor sports. At the top end, maybe, with all of the job losses and sponsorship reductions at NASCAR teams and other series. Keep in mind the top NASCAR teams were commanding up to 25 million dollars a year from a single Title Sponsor. Here at ULHRA, according to Director of Marketing Wil Muncey, we’re finding exactly the opposite. Sponsors are stepping up. Wil and his wife-business partner-team owner Debi Muncey and other ULHRA officials have been traveling to the eastern and southern regions of the USA, meeting with media representatives, community leaders, government officials and local facility owners to build regattas for the ULHRA that are substantially east of the Pacific Time Zone…..specifically, North Carolina and Florida. Notable in this eastward reach is the revitalization of the Miami Marine stadium. The reception for ULHRA has been very good.

John Lynch
“Voice” of ULHRA Racing


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The Lynch Line continued...

On January 31st the annual ULHRA meetings and Awards Banquet will be held in Sequim WA at 7 Cedars Casino, close to the Strait Thunder race course in Port Angeles. The Board of Directors of ULHRA Inc. has been very active the past few months preparing for these meetings and setting a tone and direction for the future. At the meeting elections will be held for the expiring terms on the ULHRA Board of Directors. 7 Cedars Casino along with the official hotel for the awards banquet week, the Red Lion in Port Angeles, both have been longtime supporters of the annual Strait Thunder Regatta which closes the ULHRA racing season and has earned the moniker “Where Champions are Crowned”.

The new racing season commences at the end of April in Phoenix (Chandler) AZ. As I write this the Phoenix race is looking particularly good with sub freezing temperatures and snow here in western Washington State. Plus the racing world is dealing with an economic climate that’s also chilly, elsewhere. In contrast it’s certainly looking positive here as business is being done with current and new sponsors of ULHRA. Marketing efforts are moving forward and proving fruitful as more and more corporations are discovering the commercial value and benefit of being part of what we call Racing, ULHRA Style!

Lots of people think the economy right now is hazardous to motor sports. At the top end, maybe, with all of the job losses and sponsorship reductions at NASCAR teams and other series. Keep in mind the top NASCAR teams were commanding up to 25 million dollars a year from a single Title Sponsor. Here at ULHRA, according to Director of Marketing Wil Muncey, we’re finding exactly the opposite. Sponsors are stepping up. Wil and his wife-business partner-team owner Debi Muncey and other ULHRA officials have been traveling to the eastern and southern regions of the USA, meeting with media representatives, community leaders, government officials and local facility owners to build regattas for the ULHRA that are substantially east of the Pacific Time Zone…..specifically, North Carolina and Florida. Notable in this eastward reach is the revitalization of the Miami Marine stadium. The reception for ULHRA has been very good.

Meeting with current and potential ULHRA sponsors that help defray the costs of racing to all of our members is an ongoing effort of Wil & Debi. The reception has been very strong. Wil Muncey adds “we are negotiating with existing APBA clubs to try to enhance each others show and mutually benefit the clubs and ULHRA. The reception has been just like the reception from sponsors and media and community leaders…….very good! We are marching east and inviting eastern based racing teams to give ULHRA a try”. Interested parties can contact Wil Muncey at wmuncey83@aol.com

I saw a story published recently in USA Today detailing that racing crashes were reduced in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing by 12% in 2008 compared to 2007. That’s good news. It got me to thinking “what about ULHRA”? Our record is outstanding. First, there are few crashes. Secondly the injuries have been few and for the most part, minor. Yes there was the spectacular blowover by Paul Becker at Silverdale this year in which Becker sustained a cracked vertebrae. However he survived and id readying himself to return to flight status with his airline pilot career. There was the collision of the UL-929 and UL-13 at Richland which could have been disastrous, but wasn’t. UL-13 owner-driver J. Craig Fletcher was uninjured when Vince Xaudaro’s UL-929 slammed into the dead in the water 13 when the 929 lost steering control. The 929 went right over the cockpit. Just two years earlier, Fletcher, then a rookie driver, was admonished by then referee and current G-13 driver R.W. Dick Lynch after his UL-13 had gone dead in the water. Lynch made it clear to Fletcher that he stay in his boat when it’s stopped on the race course and racing is continuing. Had Fletcher not followed these instructions at Richland this year he could have sustained serious or worse injuries. Moral of the story: When the green flag is up and boats are racing, stay in the cockpit with the canopy closed! Yes there was the 2007 flip by Greg Hopp at Port Angeles and the “wishbone dive” by Vince Xaudaro’s former “all black, all the time” boat at Silverdale last year. Safety improvements have made a very positive impact for ULHRA teams since the accidents involving Rick Bridgeman at Tri Cities and Kevin Aylesworth at San Diego in 2005. Both drivers in 05 survived very close calls and what led to those close calls resulted in improvement to safety equipment and rescue procedures that are in place today. Racing is about pushing oneself and one’s equipment to the ragged edge and hopefully not going over the ragged edge. Racers know with the ULHRA safety improvements and the quality SAR (Search & Rescue) Team, they are in good hands.

Looking ahead, teams are making preparations and acquisitions. Darren Bartels reports that the UL-11 team has made a key improvement and it can be described as KW. No, not kilowatts; Kenworth! The team has acquired a new hauler and with the expanding ULHRA Racing schedule it is imperative to understand that in order to finish first, not only do they first have to finish…..they also need to get to the race course on time! This new hauler will not only tow the supercharged UL-11, it will be converted into a rolling race shop and equipment storage. It will also give the team’s sponsors impressive display space as the UL-11 team heads out on the road under the direction of John Flaherty, Crew Chief Scott Mains, and driver Michael Flaherty.

Odessa Texas’ Bob Scribner says his UL-39 program will return in 2009 with updates to the veteran Staudacher hull. The team is convinced they’ll display improved performance in 2009. The team wants to get the hull program up to the caliber of the engine program which driver “Smokin Joe” Souza was extremely pleased with in 2008, after it was acquired from the Alabama team of Milton and Charley Wiggins. Souza, from Lakewood WA returns behind the wheel along with Crew Chief Tom Bock, committed to getting the UL-39 team into the Top 10 in 2009.

After 35 years of racing, the venerable UL-98 hull of Greg and Lora Walden from Kennewick WA is getting rewired. Walden notes the oldest hull (and still competitive) in the Unlimited Lights’ fleet, built by Ron Jones Sr. as a 7 Liter Div II hydroplane in 1974, has had 5 owners in 3 ½ decades of racing, and among the previous owners; 5 time UL champion Jerry Hopp, and UL-39 Crew Chief Tom Bock. Now after all these years, owners, updates, repairs and corrections, Walden says the wiring really needs to be replaced. So it will be replaced along with the installation of new deck hatches to improve access and inspection. The team also wants to upgrade the cockpit interior and safety systems, and they’ve already installed a new windshield with new side windows also scheduled. Walden owns & operates Atomic Screen Printing which also sponsors the UL-98 and he says if they have a good winter (and so far they are) more racing is possible in 2009. Charles Xaudaro will return behind the wheel.

Rod Bourke and his NM/UL-5 team are working hard for an improved 2009. It seems that anything mechanically that could go wrong for the Bourke team in 2008 did…..and they were unable to enter any Unlimited Light events after having his most successful UL season ever in 2007. Both team engines have been rebuilt and the Bourke entry is a very competitive “small block” program, which won a heat at Richland in 2007, qualified for the Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair in Seattle, and finished 10th in the 2007 UL standings.

The “Little Boat that Could” isn’t done; not by a longshot. The two boat team of Muncey Racing includes the Lil’ 00 and the Big 00….the former Pegasus of Bob Larimore from the late 90’s through the 2002 season. Every weekend the Muncey race shop is busy with projects and both boats are expected to compete again in 2009 in a “horses for courses” scenario. The big boat will run the bigger, faster courses and the smaller boat takes the shorter, tighter courses.

The smaller boat is getting a new (still red) paint job plus repairing the rudder and upgrading the rudder bracket. The bigger hull will be getting a canard system upgrade, installation of a data logger and trailer modifications among other projects. The hauler is getting attention as well. Both boats will have 2nd engines built (one big block and one small block) so Muncey Racing will be the best equipped they’ve ever been going into their 4th season of UL racing. There’s plenty to report on other ULHRA teams so keep checking back to this website for further updates.

Now, about that headline: The last Lynch Line, ever? In a word, no; this is merely my last column scheduled to be written in Washington State. By the time you read this I’ll be in the process of making a career move to Nebraska…..actually making the 1700 mile drive. It’s that “real job” I wrote about last month that all of us in ULHRA return to on Mondays after a race weekend. Meanwhile, so long as they let me hang around here I intend to continue to produce the Lynch Line and perform as the “Voice” of ULHRA Racing. What about the Roostertales features on ULHRA race teams this winter? Good news there too. Four time UL race winner and retired owner-driver Dave Bender will handle the microphone duties with Jim Wilmot behind the camera and Karon Wilmot as the recording engineer and you’ll be able to enjoy their work soon, and often, during this the “non racing season”.

Can’t wait till the season opens, April 24-26 at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix!

John Lynch
“Voice” of ULHRA Racing