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Clearwater ‘Nationals’ Update: Cockpit Shake-Ups In Super Stock

With nine teams registered so far, the Super Stock-class will have the largest field of any category at the Race World Offshore Clearwater ‘Nationals’ presented by XINSURNANCE on Sunday. But a couple of teams, CELSIUS and Northwing, will see changes in cockpit before and after the Southwest Florida contest, which is the final event in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series.

With Grant Bruggemann out of the Northwing cockpit, throttleman Casey Boaz with join owner/driver Daren Kittredge in the cockpit. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Starting in Clearwater, former Super Stock-class CR Racing team throttleman Casey Boaz is replacing Grant Bruggemann in the Northwing raceboat with owner/driver Darren Kittredge. Bruggemann, who throttles for the Super Cat-class Valder Yachts/Pro Floors Racing and Class XINSURANCE teams, opted to step away from his Super Stock efforts so he can fully focus on his Super Cat and Class 1 duties.

Boaz also will replace Bruggemann in the Race World Offshore Key West World Championships in November.

“I’m excited Grant has the opportunity to race in Class 1 and I wish him the best—we’re good friends,” said Kittredge. “As for Casey, I’ve known him since 2016 and he’s a very talented stick-man and a true gentleman. I competed against him a ton when I was racing with Gary Ballough, but Clearwater will be our first race together.”

The CELSIUS team cockpit crew of owner/driver Chris Hopgood and throttleman Ryan Beckley will wrap up their 2023 season together in Clearwater.

For the CELSIUS team of owner/driver Chris Hopgood and throttleman Ryan Beckley, the Clearwater event will be their final race together this season. Veteran throttleman Jay Muller will run with Hopgood in Key West.

Beckley said he understood that the decision was Hopgood’s to make. “Chris is the owner of the team,” he said. “He has a right to do what he wants.”

Hopgood was equally gracious and praised his former cockpit-mate.

“Ryan has been the consummate professional,” he said. “He showed me the ins and outs of running my own team and I am so grateful to him. We’re still good friends—we know each other’s families—and that’s what’s most important. But it was time for a change in direction.”

As for Muller, he’s ready to be back in the Super Stock ranks and is more than a little familiar with the CELSIUS cat as he throttled it with the late owner/driver Kyler Talbot under the Talbot Excavating banner. The cockpit duo even earned a world title in the 32-footer.

“I’m pumped,” he said. “I’m excited to get back in that boat and practice and race.”

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