Notes from Lampson Pits from the morning session of testing:
• Talking with people in the media trailer, if all 13 boats qualify today, we could have six boats in one heat and six with a trailer boat in the other on Saturday.
• Patrick Sankauer is the rookie driver for the U-12 Miss DiJulio this year. He’s raced Grand Nationals before, but this is bigger in size. “The biggest difference is the inertia from the weight,” said Sankauer. “The visibility is better in the unlimited though. I have a much smaller window in my Grand National.”
Kevin Eacret, who is the rookie driver for the U-100 Grill on Gage presents Miss Carstar, understands Sankauer’s feelings.
“I’m feeling good,” Eacret said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been in this boat. They’re both super fast boats. The Grand Prix’s that I’ve driven are a lot lighter. It’s like going from a Cadillac to a Go Kart. You’re moving in these things.
“But until you go into the turns in these things, that’s when you feel the G forces.”
Eacret has to complete four more laps at 130 mph or better in qualifying, and he becomes certified.
Sankauer has six in, so he needs nine more laps.
• Jimmy King knows where he was when he found out that he was going to drive the U-3 Grigg’s presents Miss Ace Hardware in a competitive race for the first time in six years.
“We were in Valleyfield, Quebec, two weeks ago and I was racing there,” said King. “I won and I was more excited about driving this boat again. This is one of the best things ever to drive. We were conservative this morning, testing things out. But we did get a lap of 150 mph.”
• Cal Phipps wasn’t excited about the U-27 Dalton Industries in testing. He said he was fighting the boat, so a lot of work needs to be done as far as adjustments. This was work the team had hoped to get done in Madison on July 4-5. But because of heavy debris on the Ohio River, the race was turned to a non-points exhibition, with a match-race style. The U-27 owner, Charlie Wiggins, elected not to risk the boat. ... Jimmy Shane went out and got some timing runs down for starts. He said the water was a little choppy on the Franklin County side of the course. As far as temperatures, 90 degrees is better than 80, which is what’s expected for Saturday and Sunday. “When temperatures drop down in the 80s, the wind picks up.” That’s not good for boats driving 180 mph and upwards. ... Here’s the longest named boat for the weekend: The U-21 Fasteners of Washington Idaho Montana presents Lakeridge Paving and Windy River Meats. I dare anyone on KONA radio to say that every time the boat runs by them. Driver Brian Perkins said the team should be ready for qualifying this afternoon. Crew members were busy putting on decals on the boat in the morning session. ... Mike Webster, who drives the U-22 Darrell Strong presents Payne West Insurance, likes the way the boat was running on the river in the morning session. Webster’s team was another one that decided not to run at Madison because of the debris. ... Jean Theoret is one of just two drivers in the field who has won a Gold Cup (the other being Shane). He says he’s still getting to learn the U-96 Ellstrom Elam Plus Racing boat that he started driving late last season. But he likes what he’s seen so far.