SAN DIEGO-- Andrew Tate drove U-9 Realtrac to the top qualifying speed for the HomeStreet Bank Bayfair Regatta on Mission Bay in San Diego. Tate’s best lap was 160.972 mph around the 2-1/2 mile oval course. Jimmy Shane, driving U-1 Miss HomeStreet, tried to match Tate’s speed but fell short. He averaged 159.900 mph.
“I think the team’s happy. Crew chief Mike Campbell said he thinks this is the first time the boat has turned a lap over 160 mph,” Tate observed. He was careful to avoid setting expectations too high, however. “The fastest boat doesn’t always win,” he said. “We proved that in Seattle.” That time, Shane was the fastest qualifier for the Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup in early August. Tate won the race however, holding off Shane in the final heat.
J. Michael Kelly, winner of the APBA Gold Cup two weeks ago in Detroit, was third fastest qualifier at 158.061 mph, at the wheel of U-5 Graham Trucking. He was followed by Cal Phipps in U-27 Dalton Industries, who averaged 156.813 mph. Next was Brian Perkins driving U-21 All Access Racing who averaged 153.722 mph. Jeff Bernard turned a lap of 149.422 mph aboard U-7 Graham Trucking II; Tom Thompson averaged 147.926 mph in U-11 Peters & May, and Kevin Eacrett’s best lap in U-99.9 Miss Rock was 141.783 mph.
Cal Phipps was back in the cockpit of Dalton Industries for the first time since a serious accident at the opening race of the 2016 season in Madison, Indiana, on July 3. Phipps escaped injury in the mishap, but the boat was heavily damaged. “It feels great,” he said about returning to action. “We have some work to do. We’re going to double check everything. Safety is first, before speed. We were a little sluggish.” A smile crept across his face and he added, “The crew may have turned it down a little so I can’t go too crazy just yet.”
The first set of preliminary heats will be held Saturday. Heat 1A, which will go at 4:45, has Miss HomeStreet, Peters & May, Graham Trucking, and Miss Rock. Heat 1B, scheduled for 5:15, will feature Dalton Industries, Realtrac, Graham Trucking II, and All Access Racing.
Additional preliminary heats will be held Sunday, with the winner-take-all final for the HomeStreet Bank trophy, at 4:30 p.m. PDT.