Hydro Racing

Perkins stays perfect in unlimited lights

Kayleigh Perkins is still perfect in 2009.

The 21-year-old won the Graham Trucking Thunder Cup on Sunday for her fourth victory in as many races this season.

"I can't believe it," Perkins said.

With three races left in the season, the question is: Can she sweep out?

"I don't know. I can't imagine that," she said. "I'm just so thrilled to be where we are."

Driving the UL-72 Foster Care-Change A Lifetime, Perkins won the race after starting in Lane 4, and outdueling Greg Hopp in the U-1 Graham Truckin-Happy Go Lucky for the victory.

Hopp, because his boat is super-charged, had to start out in Lane 7 of the eight-boat race, and stay in that lane for the first full lap.

Yet Hopp was the first driver to the first turn, and he still came out in first on the backstretch.

But Perkins had nearly flawless turns and made up real estate in a hurry until she had the lead at the end of the first lap.

"We don't have the horsepower those guys have," Perkins said. "But I think we have the best turning boat. My crew did a great job getting the boat ready. I didn't do my job with the late start."

It didn't matter. She never really was threatened again.

"You give up so much real estate out there in Lane 7," said Hopp. "It's a long ways around and I'm surprised I didn't run out of gas. Even so, I was driving to win the damn thing."

Hopp hung on to beat Tacoma's Ryan Mallow in the U-19 Interstate Batteries for second place. Mallow finished third.

"I beat him by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin," joked Hopp.

"It's not as good as first or second," Mallow said. "But I'll take it."

Perkins was perfect this weekend, winning both of her preliminary heats and the final.

With the victory, how was Perkins going to celebrate?

By getting out of the sun.

"I want to probably go where there's AC (air conditioning)," said the Seattle-area driver. "I can't wait for Seattle next week where it's 60 degrees."

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