KENNEWICK -- Jon Zimmerman went out on the Columbia River in the U-37 Miss Peters & May on Friday and qualified for the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup with a speed of 146.656 mph.
It wasn't the fastest in the field, but everyone was elated after the last two weeks.
It was in Detroit two weeks ago that the skid fin let go on the boat, and driver JW Myers lost control. The boat was headed toward the pits, but Myers did an admirable job of cranking it away from everyone.
It hit a seawall, however, at 100 mph.
"I can't believe he survived the crash," said Jane Schumacher, who owns the boat along with her husband, former race driver Billy. "Both sponsons were ripped off. Even the capsule was broken in two pieces."
Myers was lucky in that he only suffered a broken foot. He had successful surgery on Wednesday.
"He just got out of the hospital today," said Schumacher. "So I doubt he'll be here on Sunday."
After the crash, the U-37 team collected the pieces of the boat and headed back to Seattle.
"We got home from Detroit about Thursday mid-day," said crew chief Scott Raney. "Billy made a deal with Fred Leland to lease one of his hulls, and we picked it up last Saturday night."
Jane Schumacher realizes that the national championship is lost, but the team wants points to finish in the top 10 and qualify for the trip to Qatar in November.
Since Saturday, Raney and his crew have worked around the clock to put the salvageable parts of the crashed boat into Leland's hull, which didn't have much in it.
"There wasn't a lick of hardware in it," said Raney.
The crew chief is the only full-time employee, and he said he's had maybe 12 hours of sleep since last Monday.
"These other guys have full-time jobs, then they come to help rebuild this boat," Raney said. "They were putting in 20-hour days."
Then Zimmerman ripped off that qualifying speed.
"I'm feeling a lot better," said Raney. "I'm most proud about these guys. This team is a group of fighters. We had no massive expectations with this. But this exceeded our expectations."
The boat looks a little ugly right now, with the neon yellow parts from the U-37 mixed in with the blue of the Leland hull. Think about those ugly neon green Seattle Seahawks jerseys and that's what the U-37 looks like now.
They'll have the paint scheme right for Seafair in a couple of weeks.
As for now, Raney and his team take their victories in the small things, like getting a good qualifying speed.
"There are a lot of smiles on these tired faces," Raney said.
Meanwhile, Jane Schumacher said the team is already planning for a new boat this offseason, with Dale Van Wieringen designing the hull.
She's still upset with U-96 driver Dave Villwock, whom she claimed hit the U-37 earlier in the Detroit race, weakening the skid fin.
"That compromised the skid fin," said Schumacher. "Why he wasn't disqualified, I have no idea. Race officials fined him $100."
Villwock said that he slid out 10 feet in his lane, but he should have had 30 feet anyway.
Either way, U-96 team manager Eric Ellstrom said that JW Myers walking away with just a broken foot is a testament to Raney and the way he kept that boat in shape.
"He saved JW's life," said Ellstrom.
That's one thing Jane Schumacher can agree on with Ellstrom and his team.
"I would say so," said Schumacher. "Scott's the best crew chief around."