Hopp rules Grand Prix West

July 28, 2013 

Greg Hopp likes the way he hits the starting line for a lot of his boat races.

But even he admits the one he had in Sunday’s Grand Prix West final was one of the best in his career.

“I about slayed that start,” Hopp admitted after he drove the GP-12 Fox Plumbing and Heating to the final victory. “That was dead-on, right at zero.”

All weekend long, the Grand Prix West drivers had provided fans along the shoreline with some of the better boat racing action.

Usually, though, it was Hopp crossing the finish line first.

In the final, Dustin Echols in the GP-17 Shockwave Racing presents Little Caeser’s Pizza Optima Batteries & Cleavite Bearings grabbed the inside lane by trolling early in the pre-race maneuvering.

Hopp jumped into lane 2, while Dave Warren, in the GP-19 Miss Everett Sahara Pizza & Ice Harbor Brewing, was in lane 3.

As the boats aproached the 1-minute score-up buoy, Warren was called for crossing the line early and given a 1-minute penalty.

“From my perspective, with my radio guy, we thought we hit it right on,” said Warren. “We’re gonna appeal it, but we may have been over.”

Echols, for some reason, thought that Hopp may have been over too.

And so he let up on the gas a bit.

“Greg must have nailed that start,” said Echols. “And us staying on the inside, that water was tough on our boat. But we’ll take second. We’re happy with the boat this weekend.”

Bob Schellhase, the GP-12 owner, said that while his team may have won three of the four races over the weekend, they were still struggling.

“We didn’t have a good propeller this weekend,” said Schellhase. “We don’t know where our good one is. One of our guys misplaced it.”

Still, it helped having a veteran like Hopp on his team.

“Greg told me earlier that he didn’t want to be in lane 1 because it was just too rough,” said Schellhase.

Echols finished second, while Hopp’s father, Jerry, placed third in the GP-15 Happy Go Lucky.

In the day’s first heat race, Echols got into lane 1 from the start, then held off the Hopps for the victory.

Once again, the three drivers, along with Dave Warren, were battling for the lead.

“Dustin had some chute speed on us,” said Greg Hopp. “We had some corner speed on him. But if you look at our qualifying times, we had three boats at 123 mph or better. We’ve got three to four boats who could ride up front.”

Echols agrees.

There are at least four boats here that can win at any time,” said Echols.

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