Changes in conditions force the crew to revamp its setup, but a fast start leads to a second win.
By RODNEY PAGE
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000
ST. PETERSBURG -- About the only drama in Saturday's Factory 1 race at the American Power Boat Association's World Championships came before the boats hit the water just off The Pier. Todd Syprett and John Miller, driver and throttleman for Raising Cain, woke to find the wind howling and the bay choppy.
That would have been perfect for the 30-foot Phantom, and the crew prepared the boat for rough water. But just before the race, the wind died and the Raising Cain team had to scramble to redistribute weight for calm water.
The way things went for the rookie twosome, it didn't matter what kind of water they raced on. For the second straight day of racing, Raising Cain took the lead on the opening straightaway and never looked back to claim the APBA F1 World Championship.
Raising Cain also won Thursday's first race.
"We were set up for rough waters, this is a rough-water boat," said Syprett, who grew up in Sarasota but lives in Atlanta. "Then it warmed up and flattened out. We had to change things again. But this boat has run good in any water, especially this week."
The F1-91 boat Team Warlock finished second. It also finished second Thursday. Driver Jim Arvis will have a second chance at a world championship today when he steers F2-75 Lake Cumberland, which finished first Thursday.
F1-23 Moral Hazard was third, six seconds behind Raising Cain, a lifetime in powerboat racing.
The race featured a rare false start. The boats weren't aligned at the start, forcing a red flag. After a 10-minute delay, the boats were lined up and speeded toward The Pier.
"Everybody was real bunched together on the first start," Syprett said. "Then on the second start we were a little to the outside but we managed to get a jump and worked our way to the inside. We got in position at the first turn."
Raising Cain finished fifth in the season standings. Team Warlock was F1 national champion.
"I was afraid to look back the whole race," Miller said. "There's some tough competition out there. This feels great. Todd drove a perfect race. We had clean water all the way around."
While the Factory 1 race was decided early, the Outlaw A boats took it to the last lap. Team Imco edged Xtreme-Motion for the checkered flag. Those two also were first and second in Thursday's opening races.
"It's about time," throttleman Fred Inman Jr. said. "We've been working very hard for this."
In Outlaw B, Motorola defeated Muscle for the world championship. P3-32 Imagine was the Outlaw Performance 3 champion. In Outlaw V, V-4 Just Pray beat V-94 Immaculate Conception.
The day's first races featured Performance Cat and Performance V Cat boats. Clearwater's Hugh Fuller guided Hydrogen Media-Fountain Mercury to the Performance Cat World Championship.
Outlaw Performance 4 had the most boats in the first race, eight. Motion Marine won the race over Make Impressions.
Racing ends today with the Super Cat, Super V, Super V Light, Factory 2, Factory 3 and Factory 4 races. Factory 2 will decide national and world champions today.
TODAY: 7:30-8:30 a.m.: racer physicals, Renaissance Vinoy. 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.: cranes open, Bayshore Drive hot pits. 8-10:30 a.m.: testing, Tampa Bay. 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.: Kids in the PARC, Straub Park. 9 a.m.-10 p.m.: dry pit festival, Vinoy Park dry pits. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.: wet pit festival, Vinoy Basin wet pits. 9 a.m: drivers meeting, Renaissance Vinoy. 11 a.m.: offshore racing: Factory 2, Super V, Super V Light, Super Cat, Factory 3, Factory 4. 1 p.m.: tailgate party, Bucs vs. Bears, giant video wall, Vinoy Park dry pits. 3:30 p.m.: winner's circle, Vinoy Basin wet pits.