7/7/2014 3:00:00 PM REGATTA Oberto gun-jump gives Kelly Governor's Cup Start Finishes Shane
Jimmy Shane’s Oberto/Miss Madison was first across the line at the start of Sunday’s final heat (below) but it was too early by 15 feet and J. Michael Kelly scored the win in the Graham Trucking. The victory was the second of Kelly’s career and his first since November 2009. An emotional Kelly gets a hug from his father Jeff Kelly (above) after the win. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
"My 4-year-old asked me, 'Daddy, why don't you win? Now I can tell him I'm a winner." - A tearful J. Michael Kelly -
Jimmy Shane spent last season feasting on other driver's mistakes. On Sunday, it was Shane who delivered the meal.
Shane's penalty for an early start in the final derailed what was a perfect debut in the hometown boat and allowed J. Michael Kelly to roll to a win in the 64th running of the Madison Regatta's Indiana Governor's Cup.
Kelly, who was in his first race back with Ted Porter's Graham Trucking team, picked up his second career win and first in more than five years.
"Oh man, what a great feeling. I have to thank Ted Porter for believing in me and giving me another opportunity," an emotional Kelly said. "Not a lot of guys get that second chance and I made the most of it today.
"My 4-year-old asked me, 'Daddy, why don't you win?" a tearful Kelly added. "Now I can tell him I'm a winner."
The victory in the final heat ended what was a roller-coaster weekend for Kelly. Gearbox issues plagued the team throughout testing on Saturday and caused Kelly to get hit with an N2 violation that was later rescinded.
But once racing started the boat rounded into form. Kelly won his first two preliminary heats but failed to answer the bell for the third due to an electrical problem. The team had enough points to make the front line in the final, but barely.
Shane, who was driving the hometown Oberto/Miss Madison for the first time, used a slick manuever to grab lane one and made what he thought was a perfect start. He had Kelly covered through the first two laps but on lap three it was announced that Shane had jumped the gun by half a boat length and had been assessed a one-lap penalty.
Shane never disputed the call and took the blame for the mistake.
"My timing marks were right on and I thought I nailed the start," said Shane, who ended up fourth. "I haven't seen the video or the pictures, but apparently I must have been a split-second over. But I knew I was right there, I was going for the win."
With Shane penalized, Kelly only needed to hold off Jon Zimmerman to pick up the win. That he did easily, pulling away from Zimmerman on lap three.
"I thought I was kind of reeling Jimmy in. I about wore it going into the turn and I lost a lot of momentum," Kelly said. "I started picking it back up and then I found out he jumped the gun and then it was more survival mode. I couldn't tell how far Zimmerman was back there so I had to drive it somewhat hard. We stayed clean, had an awesome start. I couldn't ask for more."
Zimmerman steered his Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar to a second-place finish while Kelly's teammate, Cal Phipps, finished third in the Graham Trucking II. It was the first podium finish for Phipps in his career and came on a day in which seemingly nothing went right for the team.
"I really got to take my hat off to everyone of those guys in the black shirts," Phipps said. "This entire crew worked so hard to give me this boat. We're in one piece, we got a podium and we've got something else coming too I think."
Only four boats made it on the water for the final as attrition played its part on what was already a small field.
The biggest loss of the final came to rookie Jamie Nilsen, who sat second in points after the preliminary rounds in just his second race as an Unlimited driver.
Nilsen's big moment was Heat 3A when he picked up his first career heat win, a victory that came at a cost. Nilsen's GoFastTurnLeft Racing took a big hop in turn two and ended up cracking the right sponson. The damage was enough to keep the team out of the final.
"(The win) feels great, especially with the challenge that this river presented today," Nilsen said. "It's a huge confidence booster for me. This is only my second full-time weekend in the Unlimiteds. To know that I can get through that water and survive it is a huge confidence booster for me."
Tom Thompson picked up two second-place finishes in preliminary heat action but failed to finish the third heat when the engine blew on his Peters & May. He was listed as the second trailer in the final but the team opted not to run.
Driver Greg Hopp arrived in town nearly two days before his boat did and work late into the night on Saturday by the crew gave Hopp a boat that was able to finish a heat, although he was black-flagged off the course once when his canopy lid came open during a heat.
The Webster Racing Team never solved an engine problem that surfaced during testing on Saturday morning. The boat left the pits twice for heats but failed to reach the first turn both times.
All qualifying was held on Saturday and Shane clearly had the fastest boat, pulling an average lap speed of 148.692 mph. Zimmerman and Kelly finished second, tied at 146.520.
"It was a great ride. We wanted to get a good, conservative run in, make sure we were legal on all of our marks," Shane said of the top qualifying lap. "It was a great run."
Thompson was fourth at 143.067, Nilsen was fifth at 140.367 and Phipps was sixth at 138.805. Hopp and Webster both failed to record official runs.
Despite the loss, Shane holds a 189-point lead over Kelly heading into the second race on the 2014 H1 schedule - the American Power Boat Association Gold Cup in Detroit this weekend. None of the eight current drivers have ever won the prestigious trophy and only the Miss Madison (1971) and Jones Racing/Spirit of Qatar (2001) teams have ever hoisted the Gold Cup.
Indiana Governor’s Cup Results INDIANA GOVERNOR'S CUP
Ohio River, Madison, Ind.
Length: 2 miles
Sunday, July 6
1. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 129.071; 2. Jon Zimmerman, 9 Spirit of Qatar, 124.215; 3. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 112.290; 4. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto/Miss Madison, 130.168.* Jamie Nilsen, 21 GoFastTurnLeftRacing, DNS; Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, DNS.
*-penalized one lap for early start
1. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 137.415; 2. Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, 129.487; 3. Jamie Nilsen, 21 GoFastTurnLeft Racing, 116.441; Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, DNS.
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 137.130; 2. Jon Zimmerman, 9 Spirit of Qatar, 133.571; 3. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 122.759; Greg Hopp, 12 Miss DiJulio, DNS.
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 126.517; 2. Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, 105.013; 3. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 123.339; Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, DNS.
1. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 125.781; 2. Jamie Nilsen, 21 GoFastTurnLeft Racing, 113. 753; 3. Jon Zimmerman, 9 Spirit of Qatar, 114.715*; Greg Hopp, 12 Miss DiJulio, DSQ.**
*-penalized one lap for striking a course buoy
**-disqualified after canopy came open
1. Jamie Nilsen, 21 GoFastTurnLeft Racing, 123.043; 2. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 108.011; 3. Greg Hopp, 12 Miss DiJulio, 98.032; Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, DNF.
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 119.198; 2. Jon Zimmerman, 9 Spirit of Qatar, 113.846; J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, DNS; Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, DNS.
FINAL QUALIFYING RESULTS
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 148.692; 2. (tie) J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 146.520; Jon Zimmerman, 9 Spirit of Qatar, 146.520; 4. Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, 143.067; 5. Jamie Nilsen, 21 GoFastTurnLeft Racing, 139.941; 6. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 138.805. Greg Hopp, 12 Miss DiJulio, no speed; Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, no speed.
CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS
(after 1 of 6 races)
1. Jimmy Shane, 6 Oberto, 1,469; 2. J. Michael Kelly, 1 Graham Trucking, 1,280; 3. Jon Zimmerman, 9 Spirit of Qatar, 1,205; 4. Cal Phipps, 7 Graham Trucking II, 1,015; 5. Jamie Nilsen, 21 GoFastTurnLeft Racing, 975; 6. Tom Thompson, 11 Peters & May, 660; 7. Greg Hopp, 12 Miss DiJulio, 225; 8. Mike Webster, 22 Webster Racing, 0.