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HomeStreet Bankk-Miss Madison Preview

Miss Madison team loses Shirley,
gains Hanson brothers

Driver Shane hits tops speeds
during May pre-season test

(July 2019) – Entering last year’s H1 Unlimited race season, the HomeStreet Bank-Miss Madison team was riding high, coming off a National High Points championship having notched victories at Seattle and Detroit’s Gold Cup race and hiring its first female crew chief in Cindy Shirley, who has been with the team 16 years.
The 2018 season did not go as well as hoped, however, it did take top qualifier honors at four race sites and won the Madison Regatta’s Indiana Governor’s Cup. As a result, the team finished second place in National High Points last year behind Jones Racing and driver Andrew Tate, snapping Miss Madison’s four-year winning streak.

Photo courtesy of Chris Denslow

Jimmy Shane takes the HomeStreet Bank-Miss Madison Unlimited hydroplane for test laps May 31 on the Columbia River in Tri-Cities, Wash., prior to the start of the 2019 H1 Unlimited racing season.

The Madison team also introduced a new race boat into the fleet at mid-season last year and hopes to find a sponsor to continue racing the older boat this year. The 2007 hull notched an impressive 22 victories and eight national championships. It remains in Tukwila, Wash., near Seattle, where it was taken when the new boat began racing there last season.
In late April, the team announced that Shirley was stepping down as crew chief, citing increased responsibilities at her job as director of the Office of Research for the University of Washington Bothell. To fill in temporarily, the Hanson brothers and both former crew chiefs for the team have stepped in. Mike Hanson guided the team as crew chief from 2004-2013. Larry served as crew chief from 2014-15.
Team manager Charlie Grooms said in a release of Shirley’s departure, “Cindy has been an integral and dedicated part of the sport and the Miss Madison racing team for years, and we’re sorry to lose her. We understand the need for Cindy to dedicate the time to her personal career and wish her all the best. She’s welcome back anytime.”
Grooms said a replacement for Shirley will be announced at a later time.
The Madison team began its 2019 campaign by participating in the H1 Unlimited Pre-Season Test Session, held May 31 on the Columbia River in Tri-Cities, Wash. The HomeStreet Bank-Miss Madison was one of six boats taking runs on the water. Driver Jimmy Shane took the boat on 21 laps during the test session, more than any other boat, and reaching a top speed of 164.775 mph.

Photo courtesy of Chris Denslow

Jimmy Shane returns for his sixth year as pilot of the HomeStreet Bank-Miss Madison Unlimited hydroplane race boat. His four-year series title win streak was broken last year by Andrew Tate.

“That’s a wrap from Tri-City,” Shane said.  “Amazing accomplishments today, three engine changes, two skid fin changes, two rudder changes, two canard changes and three propeller changes, all tested in a day. So thankful to be a part of a dedicated team.”
Shane will be up against a good competitor in Tate again this season to vie for the National High Points title. Tate, son of former Unlimited driver Mark Tate, will again steer the Jones Racing team’s Delta/Realtrac boat, based in Kent, Wash. Last year, Tate won five of six races on his way to the series’ driver and team points title.
Tate also participated in the Test Session in May, saying, “We tested a few motors and just practiced as a team this weekend. We don’t have a new crew after some crew retired last year, but we have a crew with new responsibilities.”
Eight-year team veteran Seth Parshall is serving as acting crew chief.
“Although we are last year’s national champion we are all at zero points going in to the start of the season and we are going to continue to keep the ball rolling and score as many points to repeat our championship,” Tate said.
The temporary race course on the Columbia River that dissects the state of Washington’s southeast Washington towns of Kennewick and Pasco is important because the testing is the only scheduled test session before the teams head to the season opener held at Lake Guntersville, Ala., on June 28-30.
Rob Graham, owner of two boats in attendance, the U-12 Graham Trucking with J. Michael Kelly and the U-98 Graham Trucking American Dream with Corey Peabody, logged a combined 31 laps.
The one-day test marked rookie Peabody’s first on-track action in the Graham Trucking Racing’s second entry, the U-98 Graham Trucking American Dream. Peabody has only one race under his belt in the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series after he raced in the 100th anniversary race of the American Power Boat Association’s Gold Cup race in 2016. The Test Session was his first turn at the wheel of the U-98 that ran last year as the U-99.9 CARSTARS powers Miss ROCK last year.
“We accomplished what we need today, the last run felt pretty good,” Peabody said. 
“I am pretty proud of my team. They worked their butts off to get this boat prepared for today and worked to overcome some of the morning’s set-backs.”
After struggling all morning with engine problems, rookie Peabody logged 12 laps. Peabody who is re-qualifying as a driver after sitting out, needs three laps at 130 mph plus, and one lap at cruising speed to complete his requalification.
Peabody’s teammate Kelly said, “Our fastest laps of the day was 167 mph.” Kelly in the U-12 had 21 laps on the river.
Two other teams were not as happy about the testing were Dustin Echols driving the U-440 Bucket List Racing and Tom Thompson driving the U-11 J&D’s presented by Reliable Diamond Tool.
Echols made only one lap when a fitting failed and stopped oil getting to the boat’s custom gearbox, causing it to over heat and break. They spent the remainder of the day on the trailer.
Echols said he saw shoot speeds the fastest the boat has seen prior to the gearbox damage. The team’s boat also suffered hull damage as well.
The U-11 and Thompson also had gearbox issues when a pulley to the oil pump was damaged after three laps. The team hopes the lack of oil pressure to the gearbox did not do major internal damage and sat the remainder of the day.
Thompson said,” We didn’t get to run hard but many of the offseason changes worked and the boat felt real good. I am pleased with the changes.”
The teams will regroup and begin additional preparations for the first race of the year Guntersville.

• H1 Unlimited contributed to this report.

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