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Summer’s Zenith in Seattle…

August 12th, 2014 · No Comments

Ah, how time flies by, and I feel somewhat guilty to have been sitting inside on what was a brilliantly sunny and relatively HOT day in Seattle… Hey! 88+ degrees Fahrenheit is pretty hot for us Western Warshintonians’, having just endured either the second or fourth hottest July on record, depending how Yuhs slice it. Especially since the majority of us don’t have AC. Which is pretty funny, compared to Indianapolis having just had its coldest month ‘O July, albeit still warmer than Seattle; but I digress…

July finishes as 2nd warmest on record at Sea-Tac

And ironically, whilst ex-Seattle Seahawks All Pro Walter Jones was wearing his gold jacket upon being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, along with the NFL’s Hall of Fame game commencing Pre-season action, the day in question is affectionately known here in the Northwest as Seafair Sunday, traditionally capped by the Navy’s vaunted Blue Angels performing over Lake Washington, where thousands jam the log boom and shores nearby Stan Sayre’s pits to watch the Unlimited Hydroplanes dazzle us with their monstrous rooster-tails!

Yet Seafair is more than just the Blue Angels and Hydroplanes - with the cities annual summer festival filled with yearly traditions such as Solstice Day parade, the arrival of the Seafair Pirates, the Torchlight Parade, Milk Carton Derby, etc, along with now including the 4th ‘O July fireworks celebration.

Seafair is presided over by its royalty, which features King Neptune and Queen Alcyone, primarily selected in regards to their philanthropic work, as I recall that former Seattle Supersonics great Slick Watts was chosen as King Neptune last year, with this year’s King being ex-Seattle Seahawks defensive standout Marcus Trufant, while this year’s Queen is our former Governor Christine Gregoire, while there’s also a Miss Seafair crowned…

But back to what I’ve taken to calling the “Blower Boats” in deference of their utilization of Lycoming T-55 turbine engines, which have unfortunately replaced the iconic World War II piston aircraft powerplants of Allison and Rolls Royce’s Merlin and the ‘Uber powerful and dominant Griffon, as I previously previewed this year’s Seafair regatta over at No Fenders in;

Seafair 2014: Blue Angels return Sparks renewed interest on shores of Lake Washington..

Yet the carnage that began a week prior in the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup, (July 27th) held on the eastern side of Washington continued on at Seafair - with the most controversial part being the sport’s winningest driver excluded from competition after another collision with arch-nemesis Jimmy Shane and the sport’s current top hull, the Oh Boy Oberto.

Dave Villwock suspended for rest of Seafair after collision

And having read the story about Kip Brown’s rough goings the past year, fighting back from a broken leg and broken boat, I was surprised when hearing the news whilst watching the final preliminary heats; 3A & 3B - had been pushed back due to Brown’s Spirit of Qatar boat being involved in another nasty Blow-over accident; YIKES!

Kip Brown seeks Seafair victory in new Spirit of Qatar

As the Seafair weekend was somewhat bittersweet for the Brown’s, as Kip’s uncle Nate Brown, owner of the U-17 Our Gang Racing Unlimited Hydroplane, which featured Kip’s brother-in-law Jeff Bernard at the controls, was running its last race under Nate’s ownership - going out in style by having had fans sign the boat during its final two race outings in Washington…

Brown provides final hurrah for fans at Columbia Cup

As I’ve never seen such a chaotic ending to a Seafair Sunday finals, as first the F1 boats, the warm-up finale for the B-I-G boats, nee Unlimiteds was Red-flagged after one of the competitors boats disintegrated in a mighty crash! Which delayed the Unlimiteds race, which was even more wild, as both “the Voice of the Unlimiteds” and local Unlimiteds legend Chip Hanauer claimed that the first three boats had jumped the start! As it would take an agonizingly long 15mins after the finale to decide that the winner had indeed won the race, while pondering if he’d driven the Oberto too wide…

Graham Trucking wins Seafair Cup for second straight year

Meanwhile, not all of the local racing action was happening on the water, as simultaneously on Seafair Sunday, (August 3rd) the Floppers’ (Funny Cars) and their Top Fuel nitro-methane Dragsters plus Pro-Stock cars were contesting the NHRA’s Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA.

As the legendous’ John “Elvis” Force, 16-time NHRA national champion was the top Funny-car of the entire weekend, capping his astounding 150th fastest qualifier (P1) position over daughter and team-mate Courtney, the winningest female NHRA Funny-car driver, with five career wins to date with another win light.

As the elder Force, at 65 met up with 67yr old Gary Densham in the NHRA’s oldest ever finals, which John Force won for his record extending 141sth victory!

Tony Sarge’ Schumacher was tops in the Dragsters, while in the Pro-Stock ranks, Alan Johnson was quickest in cars with the Bikes’. nee motorcycles not racing.

Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalita took the victory at Pacific Raceways over No Fenders ‘Straightliner favourite Antron Brown, while an intra-squad scrum between Summit Racing’s Jeff Line and Greg Anderson saw Lime taking the win light, while current Pro-Stock Cars points leader Erica Enders-Stevens breathed a sigh of relief over second placed Johnson not surpassing her tenuous points lead over the weekend.

As Enders-Stevens didn’t make the trip to the “Jet City” due to financial constraints, thus missing racing at Sonoma, California and Kent, WA - which I personally feel is a travesty! Although her team owner claims it was always in the plans since they’re running on limited sponsorship.

But even more baffling is the fact that longtime supporters Ford and Castrol of John Force Racing are leaving the sport at the end of this season - as the 16-time NHRA Funny-car champion will be left without anything to drive, unless somebody else steps up to the plate; Hmm? Perhaps the “Motormouth” of Floppers’ would look good underneath the skin of a Dodge Challenger? Just speculatin’ here though…

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