With roughly half of the 50 slots taken for the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club Atlantic City Poker Run on Friday June 21 and an estimated 35 to 40 teams committed to the Offshore Powerboat Association/ New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association Atlantic City Offshore Grand Prix on Sunday June 23, what the organizers are dubbing the “Festival of Speed Week” (Read the story) is off to a strong start. That’s the word from Dave Patnaude, the president of the NJPPC who is one of the key organizers for the event.
“People are excited for the poker run and the race combined,” said Patnaude. “Registration for the poker run is far ahead of where it was last year at this time. I think part of that has to do with the discount the Atlantic City Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino is giving the poker runners if they register by June 8, but the event itself is the biggest draw.”
Patnaude said that 50 veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project in New York, New Jersey and Maryland—including 12 to 15 “severely disabled” vets from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.—have been invited for free boat rides on Saturday. Most of the rides will be given by NJPPC members who participate in the run, which has been sponsored since its inception by Total Dollar Insurance.
Northeastern offshore racing fans will get their first in-person look at the Mercury Racing 1650 Race-engine powered Miss GEICO 44-foot catamaran, which will race in Sunday’s event. In the support of the GEICO team as well as the overall event, the Fond Du Lac, Wis., marine engine builder is sending its new promotional/media and public relations recreational vehicle to the venue.
“Because three OPA teams are bringing two boats each, they’re actually going with a three-race format instead of a two-race format on Sunday,” said Patnaude. “We’re really pleased with the way things are shaping up with the event a little more than month away. We’re excited for it to happen.”
Related Story: Offshore Racing Returning to Atlantic City in 2013