Billy Schumacher Racing announces a new associate sponsor for Seafair: welcome American Family Insurance to hydro racing U-37 style!

More info plus details about some really cool prizes from a U-37/American Family Insurance contest for a one-of-kind hydro experience at >>

U13 Prepares for Season Opener

With less than one week away from the start of the 2008 American Boat Racing Association season, J Michael Kelly, driver of the U-13 Graham Trucking, took a few minutes to speak on the winter season and preparations that the team has done to further their chance at a run for the U-1 designation.

"We have done a few modifications to the boat. We had great chute speed, but we would scrub it off in the turns. So we changed a few things to make us faster in the turns. I think we are in the best shape boat wise that we have ever been. Hopefully we can get it dialed in in Evansville and then go racing from there."

"My biggest concern in racing is not getting a DNF. I am going to stay out of trouble and finish the heats. Be conservative get into the final and then let her fly. With Elam out of the picture for the east coast races that allows some of the other teams to be in a better spot for winning races. You know with Elam trying to further the sport more internationally I think that's great. It's a bummer that they are not going to be there. But, I think in the long run it will be better."

During the winter season Mike has kept busy with his carpentry business, "with the economy in a downturn I have been doing more remodeling and that has kept me real busy. I also go to my girl friends sons' baseball games. I also have been spending time working out on the couch watching television," joked the 29 year old driver.

"I have been racing for 21 years this year. I started when I was 9 and I enjoy this sport. It has become more and more expensive for teams to field a team team. I think that the sport is headed in the right direction and with the Elam excursion into the middle east I think we have a lot more chances of this becoming a world class sport."

With the Evansville race next weekend the team will be leaving their shop in Washington state tomorrow morning. Kelly will join them Wednesday. More to come!

Associated Press reports the Unlimited Lights races in Chamberlin, SD will be broadcast on tape-delay on The Speed Network.

Here's the AP story:

CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. (AP) Boat racing will be revved up a couple of notches when the Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association's Pepsi Racing Power Cup Challenge takes place on the Missouri River near Chamberlain next month.

The races, which feature boats reaching speeds of up to 160 miles an hour, are set for July 12th and 13th.The races will be filmed for broadcast on the Speed Channel.

Tom Davis, chairman of River City Racin' Incorporated, expects up to 5,000 people at the event. He says the association will run circuit races for the next three years at Chamberlain and that he hopes it will become one of the biggest annual events in central South Dakota.

(c) 2008 - The Associated Press

Excitement fueled Thunder - even when gas was a $1

"John Wayne had just died, the Evansville Triplets (top farm team of Detroit's Tigers) were beating up on Denver and Indianapolis in the American Association, and things weren't looking so good in the Middle East in the wake of the revolution in Iran. The University of Evansville had formed a new basketball league with Butler, Xavier and four other independent universities. Oh, and I'd just written a front-page story about gas prices hitting $1 a gallon. That was our world as the first Thunder on the Ohio arrived in June 1979. Skeptics called it Blunder on the Ohio, but to its fans it was just Thunder."

Ed Cooper Jr. and Tom Sawyer have each played a major role in the 30 successful years of the Thunder on the Ohio hydroplane races.

"Ed Cooper Jr. is never shy about voicing his opinion, whether it bucks the tide of conventional wisdom or not. Although his U-3 Master Tire has been nicknamed "The Turbinator," Cooper insists he's not a traditionalist.As the lone owner of a piston-powered unlimited hydroplane in a turbine-dominated field, the retired North Posey Junior High School geography teacher puts the thunder in Thunder on the Ohio out of economic necessity."