SNHL Indiana Governor's Cup Race Recap
2018 Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup Race Recap
It was a sensational weekend in Madison, Indiana as 18 of the fastest Unlimiteds showed for the first ever Indiana Governor's cup for SNHL. With the largest field to date, we saw more action on the water with 4 heats per flight instead of the normal 3 like we saw in Guntersville. Entering race day, Eddie Kanfoush had an impressive lead in national high points over tough competition including Nicholas Miller, Cei Bowen, and Beau Rarig among others. Madison also saw 2 debuts in the SNHL; Peyton Hopp in the U-88 Degree Men and KC Duncan in the U-60 Miss Thriftway. The Ohio River proved to be quite the course as the hairpin corners made for some intriguing deck to deck action along with the never ending straightaways where we saw speeds well over 200 MPH at times. The sight of seeing the field rumbling up underneath the bridge for the start was something the behold. Despite a rough and unpredictable Ohio river, many of the drivers were able to adapt quickly to the courses unique challenges that it presented.
The preliminary heats provided some fantastic action, with battles for position in nearly every heat. Some interesting storylines developed as the final of the Indiana Governor's Cup approached, including Eddie Kanfoush's rebound from his gunjump in 1D, Peyton Hopp getting his 1st heat victory in his inaugural debut, Kelsey Best's monstrous preliminary heat win streak, and a solid showing from Nicholas Miller and Cei Bowen with both drivers racking up 1000 points entering the final. With the prelims finished, we saw the top 5 in points get an automatic berth into the final; Cei Bowen in Tide, Eddie Kanfoush in Llumar Window Films, Nicholas Miller in Les Schwab Tires, Quinton Miller in Skyway Park Bowl & Casino, and Kelsey Best in Spirit of Qatar.
The Consolation heat saw 5 boats enter for a final shot at making the final as the trailer. Matt Johnson had a perfect start after a shaky preliminary performance as he maintained the lead all the way to a flawless finish to be the final competitor in the Madison Regatta final. 2nd was Peyton Hopp in the Degree Men, 3rd was Beau Rarig in the Miss Budweiser, 4th was Jake Bell in the Kellog's Frosted Flakes, and 5th was Cale Bruce in the Smokin' Joe's. After a booming start, Peyton Hopp was left disappointed after a penalty in 3C cost him a guaranteed spot in the final and an awful start put any hopes of making the final to rest. Despite the agony of defeat, Peyton was satisfied in his SNHL debut and seems optimistic for the future.
"Overall, I'm pleased with the promise I showed at Madison. The U-88 Degree Men hull handled the Ohio River exceptionally well, we were able to secure a hard fought win in 2C against a tough Tide boat and the crew was ecstatic. 3C is where the tables turned for us, had a great battle with Eddie until I misjudged turn 1 and the steering went away from us as we literally ran over the Llumar. I take full responsibility of that incident as it completely threw our weekend off course. All we can do is lock away our defeat and look forward to Tri-Cities. We've got a lot more to show this season and am eager to rebound and improve."
The Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup final was one to remember as we saw some peculiar storylines take place both during the milling period and race. As the field was warming up for the final timing starts and all, we saw contact made in the backstretch in the final between Quinton Miller in the Skyway and Kelsey Best in the Qatar. During the final minute, the Skyway made a bold move to try and secure lane 3 but swung out into the Spirit of Qatar as he was slapped with a lane violation penalty. As the field passed the commitment bouy, Team Wurster predominately secured lanes 1 and 2 with the Llumar in 1 and Tide in 2. Most of the field was slightly early as Nicholas Miller in the Les Schwab had an excellent flying start on the outside which would come to play into his advantage in the end. Unfortunately for Kelsey Best, his race ended abruptly when he got caught up in the wake of the Skyway and blew over. The whole field bashed into a rough turn 1 with Eddie Kanfoush coming out in 1st and eventually sailing away with a dominating victory. Cei Bowen was skipping the hull across the water in an attempt to catch the Llumar but to no avail as he finished with a solid 2nd. Close behind was an intense 3 1/2 lap battle for 3rd between the Les Schwab and Albert Lee Appliance from the trailer position. Matt Johnson held the inside lane tight all race long but Nicholas Miller edged him out at the line with a fierce flighty run from the outside lane. 5th was Quinton Miller in the Skyway and an unfortunate DNF for Kelsey Best in the Spirit of Qatar.
After an opportunity wasted in Guntersville, Eddie Kanfoush came back with a vengeance in the final leading wire to wire. With a nearly 600 point lead in points over Nicholas Miller, Llumar Window Films is off to an electric start to the season with no intentions of slowing down. We caught up with Eddie Kanfoush and asked how it feels to get his first victory in SNHL and extend the points lead.
"It's a great feeling. Getting the win was really fun, albeit a bit stressful and challenging. To extend the points lead is just an added bonus!"
Proving that he is a serious contender for the national championship, he looks to continue his dominating campaign with a focused drivers mentality after being questioned if his mentality changes now that he's in the hunt.
"It doesn't really change anything. The end goal was always to try as hard as I can to win the championship. My mentality has always been to drive to the best of my abilities, as outside of that there's nothing I can control."
One driver who became a victim of the agony of defeat was Kelsey Best who, after a perfect preliminary heat weekend, fell victim to being in the wrong place in the wrong time. Despite a DNF in the final, Best has been on a hot streak the past 2 races and currently holds an impressive 4 preliminary heat win streak. Currently sitting 4th in the point standings, Best gave his take on how the season has gone and how he can build upon his recent success.
"All things considered the team is happy where we're at heading into Tri-Cities. In the first race we had to deal with a lot of distractions, we weren't quite ready for the season to be honest. We won the first two heats on the water, but jumping the gun and dislodging a buoy left us little to show for those first heats. We finally ran a clean race in the third heat and ran a clean conny to get in the final as trailer. Unfortunately we pushed the trailer start a bit too much in the final heat and were unable to take advantage of several other gun jumpers to take home the apparent race win. Heading into Madison the team goal was not beating ourselves and we were able to run 3 clean preliminary heats and take home 3 wins. Unfortunately we had a a few incidents with the Skyway team in the milling period of the final which lead to a poor effort and result for the U-96 Qatar team.
Having lost only two heats on the water we are confident moving forward that we have what it takes to compete with this year's front runners. Unfortunately it looks like the damage sustained in that Madison final may keep us from making it to Tri-Cities, which will definitely make us a long shot to compete for the high points championship. Regardless, the team is aiming to get a lot more heat win's this year and at least a race win before the season ends. Hopefully some of this success will also rub off on some my #TeamEllstrom teammates"
Madison provided an extremely unique course for every driver that attended with some excelling, and others struggling. The course layout was a hot topic entering the weekend, with many pondering how they would be able to master such a challenging course. For Beau Rarig and the Miss Budweiser, the team was able to perform well but not meeting the expectations as a DNF hurt his chances of making the final and a 3rd place finish in the consolation sealed the deal. Beau Rarig was able to give his opinion on what was a major difference between Madison and the previous Guntersville race.
"The tight turns ultimately proved more difficult for me than Guntersville's wide turns. I'm used to flying the boat all the way around the course, which is something you can't do at Madison. You have to settle the boat down quite a bit to make it around Madison's turns without incident. Miss Budweiser scored a heat win at Madison, but the boat ahead of us jumping the gun is what handed us that win. Heat 2 is what proved fatal for us in Madison. I settled the boat down too much, and she pitched sideways and barrel-rolled. This wreck was 100% avoidable. Going into Tri-Cities and Seattle, we won't have to worry about tight turns, but in order to be the best, you have to be able to adapt to different racing conditions. Budweiser Racing is looking ahead to a big points weekend in Tri-Cities, and we intend to win."
With an entertaining Madison Regatta behind us, the points standings has been shaken up and we're getting more of a sense of who the contenders for the championship will be. Madison was a drivers course, with only the most skilled making the final and the best of the best conquering the hellish waters of the Ohio River. Overall, Many SNHL drivers proved their worth in Madison, showcasing their hardcore driving abilities and proving that the Madison Regatta is one race that you don't want to miss.
Another great article Peyton! I really like these