Shane rides Tate’s miscue to fiercely fought Seattle win
It ended up being all for naught, but Sunday’s Final Heat the Albert Lee Cup in Seattle was one of the most exciting the sport has seen in many years. Jimmy Shane piloted the U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank/Miss Madison to victory, but not before finishing second physically on the water after defending race champion Andrew Tate and the U-9 Les Schwab Tires completed a furious comeback on the final lap to cross the line first by half a boat-length. But Tate’s victory was already over before it began. A pre-race penalty for dislodging a buoy netted Tate a one-minute penalty and relegated him to seventh place while Shane was awarded the win. “This is incredible. Obviously this is not the way I wanted to be up here,” said Shane, who won at Seattle for the first time since 2013. “Winning Seafair in front of the world’s greatest fans is an amazing feeling. Today’s victory puts us in a strong position. Next step: Detroit.” Shane almost didn’t need Tate’s penalty to pull off the win. Starting from lane two with Brian Perkins and the U-21 Albert Lee Appliance on his inside, Shane led the field through the first turn and quickly began pulling away. Over the next three laps, Shane extended his lead to leave the field behind and by the third lap only one driver had a chance to catch him, and catch him he did. Tate, starting from lane three, had kept Shane within striking distance while waiting for his chance to pounce. He finally got that opportunity on the second turn of the fourth lap when Shane hit a patch of rough water, caught some air, and came down hard. Shane’s brief flight scrubbed off enough speed to allow Tate to make up the necessary ground and by the start of the fifth and final lap, the two were racing deck-to-deck and by the time they reached the backstretch Tate was in the lead. Shane wasn’t finished and drew even with Tate as the two boats exited the final turn, but Tate mashed the throttle and again pulled away, crossing the finish line some 10 feet ahead of Shane. “The start was great. We were right on our timing marks, right where we wanted to be,” Shane, who posted a winning speed of 138.482 mph, said. “I had a good head of steam heading down there. There were four boats side by side. We all made it through clean, I came out of the first turn in the lead and never looked back. It was a hell of a final heat.” As it turned out, none of that mattered. Nearly two minutes before the start of the heat, Tate dislodged a course buoy while making a cut through the infield. A penalty was called on the infraction immediately and nearly as quickly, Tate’s Jones Racing team filed an appeal. Knowing that penalties don’t always stick in boat racing, neither Tate nor Shane took anything for granted and raced until the end. While Tate and his team celebrated the win on the docks, talk was already under way on the appeal. Eventually, word began to circulate from other teams that Tate’s penalty would indeed stand but it wasn’t until Shane was later awarded the first-place trophy that his win was made official. H1 announced the decision after the awards ceremony. “This had to be one of the most exciting races people have ever seen here,” said Shane. “I don’t know how Andrew caught me that last lap and a half. I thought I had him covered. I never let off on the throttle, yet he was coming on the outside. But the Miss HomeStreet Bank boat ran great. We’ll take the win and the 400 points.” Tate’s lap speed of 144.274 mph on the final lap was nearly 4 mph faster than Shane’s 140.411. It was also the fastest lap of the race weekend. J. Michael Kelly officially finished second aboard the U-12 Graham Trucking. Kelly, who won last week’s race at Tri-Cities from lane four, had won two of his three preliminary heats from lane three. But he couldn’t repeat his magic from last week after again starting the final in lane four. “The crew worked days and nights on this thing and have never stopped giving me a boat to go out and race,” said Kelly. “We’ve been trying to win from outside and today it didn’t work but we sure gave them a run for it. Next time, we might try to move in a few lanes.” Brian Perkins placed third, an impressive finish for a team that wasn’t even sure if it could make the race. A broken propeller last week caused massive damage to the underside of the boat, but the team spent the week making repairs to have the boat in the Seattle pits for qualifying on Friday. “Thank you to the team for putting the boat back together. This is your trophy,” said an emotional Perkins. “I’m speechless. We wanted to come here and qualify, that was it. That was our goal, to qualify our boat and we’re up here with a third-place trophy.” Tom Thompson was fourth in the U-11 J&D’s, J.W. Myers placed fifth in the U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto, Greg Hopp was sixth in the U-99.9 Miss Rock and Tate placed seventh. Kelly won all three of his preliminary heats while Shane claimed two wins and Tate one. Tate’s lone victory came, ironically, thanks to a penalty on Shane when the HomeStreet driver was assessed a one-minute infraction for dropping below the 80 mph minimum speed twice before the start of Heat 1B. The victory was the 15th of Shane’s career, moving him into historic company. He is now tied with legendary Miss Pepsi and Tahoe Miss driver Chuck Thompson for 10th on career wins list and is just three wins shy of former Miss Madison pilot Steve David, who sits in sixth. The win was also the 29th for Miss Madison Racing Inc., allowing the team to move into a second-place tie with the great Bill Muncey for most wins by an owner. Former Miss Budweiser owner Bernie Little owns the all-time mark with an astonishing 134 wins. The H1 Unlimited fleet now returns east for the running of two races at Detroit later this month. On Saturday, Aug. 26, the site will play host to the President’s Cup with the traditional APBA Gold Cup being contested the following day. Both event are full H1 Unlimited points races. Shane carries a narrow nine-point lead over Kelly in the National High Points standings into the Detroit doubleheader. Tate is currently third just 354 points back. --- H1 Unlimited Series ALBERT LEE CUP Lake Washington Seattle, Washington Length: 2 miles Results FINAL HEAT Sunday, Aug. 6 1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank/Miss Madison, 138.482; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 131.088; 3. Brian Perkins, U-21 Albert Lee Appliance, 127.884; 4. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&D’s, 123.809; 5. J.W. Myers, U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto, 121.680; 6. Greg Hopp, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 114.542; 7. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 112.755*. *-penalized one minute for dislodging a buoy. Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 5, 144.274. --- PRELIMINARY HEATS Saturday, Aug. 5 HEAT 1A 1. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 137.853; 2. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&D’s, 137.552; 3. Brian Perkins, U-21 Albert Lee Appliance, 122.966; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Snuskitush Enterprises, 93.998. Fast Lap: Thompson, U-11, No. 3, 141.576. HEAT 1B 1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 132.258; 2. Greg Hopp, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 122.901; 3. J.W. Myers, U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto, 117.688; 4. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank, 98.906*. *-penalized one minute for breaking 80 mph rule. Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 2, 138.224. HEAT 2A 1. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 136.656; 2. J.W. Myers, U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto, 130.783; 3. Brian Perkins, U-21 Albert Lee Appliance, 129.900; 4. Greg Hopp, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 113.678. Fast Lap: Kelly, U-12, No. 2, 140.113. HEAT 2B 1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank, 137.840; 2. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 133.135; 3. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&D’s, 131.092; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Snuskitush Enterprises, 89.746. Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 140.496. --- Sunday, Aug. 6 HEAT 3A 1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank, 136.845; 2. Brian Perkins, U-21 Albert Lee Appliance, 126.413; 3. Greg Hopp, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 122.433; 4. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&D’s, 95.793*. *-penalized one minute for jumping the gun. Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 139.394. HEAT 3B 1. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 135.057; 2. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 130.672; 3. J.W. Myers, U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto, 129.004; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Snuskitush Enterprises, 102.913. Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 2, 138.142. --- CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS (After 2 of 5 races) 1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank/Miss Madison, 3,274; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-5 Graham Trucking, 3,265; 3. Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 2,920; 4. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&D’s, 2,113; 5. Greg Hopp, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 1,684; 6. Jimmy King, U-3 Grigg’s Ace Hardware, 1,435; 7. Brian Perkins, U-21 Go Fast Turn Left Racing, 975; 8. J.W. Myers, U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto, 937; 9. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 507.