KENNEWICK -- Kudos to the U-17 Miss Red Dot team and driver Kip Brown, whose 156.565 mph qualifying time was third-best Friday at the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup.
The U-17 comes into this weekend as the national high points leader with 2,682 points.
And a big reason is the boat has gotten faster.
"The major difference is the change we made in our underwater gear," said Brown. "We had a really good machinest work on our fin."
Now, Brown says, it's like driving a Cadillac.
"We've thrown everything but the kitchen sink at it to get this boat to handle," he said. "And probably from the get-go it was the fin."
Now, he says, the boat ride is enjoyable.
"Previously, I needed help getting out of the boat after a race," he said. "I was wiped out. Now, I'm ready to go race right again."
Even the Red Dot team has been mentioned by other camps as a team they would like to emulate, along with the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto and the U-96 Spirit of Qatar.
"That's a nice compliment," Brown said. "It's great to be put in that category. Truth be told, though, we're a couple miles per hour short to be put in that upper echelon. But several teams here are better funded than us. This is a testament to how hard we work."