Early first-day hydroplane notes

Tri-City HeraldJuly 26, 2013 

Found this interesting note today.

Federal Way's Jamie Nilsen grew up racing since he was 12 years old.

"J-Stock hydroplanes, outboards," said Nilsen. "I've loved racing boats. My dad took me to Lake Washington to the Seafair races all the time."

But after high school, boat racing took a back seat for Nilsen.

He played shortstop for the Central Washington University Wildcats baseball team, and he was good too.

He was a two-time Great Northwest Athletic Conference player of the year at Central, and he hit .468 with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs his senior season in 2008.

To top it off, the Kansas City Royals signed Nilsen to a free-agent contract later that summer.

But he last just that season with the Royals organization.

"I could have tried to play independent baseball," said Nilsen.

But he got back into boat racing instead.

"I'd always sneak in a race or two between (baseball) seasons," Nilsen said.

But over the last few years, he's gotten more serious with the racing.

This weekend, Greg and Brian O'Farrell want to get Nilsen qualified as an unlimited driver, so the owners of the U-21 Snoqualmie Casino will give him the opportunity.

Brian Perkins will still be the main driver, and will race the U-21.

But Nilsen must get 15 laps in, with 10 of those at 130 mph or better.

If he qualifies, Nilsen will drive the U-48 for the O'Farrells at Seafair next week.

Spotted in the pits: Dave Villwock talking to the U-37 Beacon Plumbing crew about the team's boat. Villwock is the sport's winningest driver with 67 victories. But he retired earlier this season, and he's been consulting for the 37 team. ... U-57 Fedco driver Mark Evans said he'd like two more propellers this weekend. "That would make me happy," he said. "We broke two in Detroit." At $10,000 a prop, those are some pretty expensive breaks.

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