When The Hulk/Redline Oil offshore racing team arrives in Key West, Fla., this Sunday for next week’s Super Boat International Offshore World Championships, it will be the team’s fourth run at an SBI Stock-class world title. Driver/owner Rob Nunziato and throttleman Dan Lawrence head into the triple-race SBI season finale not just with the 2014 National Championship in the class under their belts, but with brand 280-hp Mercury outboard engines on the transom of the team’s 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran.
Last year saw The Hulk take second place behind Talbot Excavating in the SBI World Championships. Nunziato and Lawrence are hoping to turn the tables next week. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Far from overconfident, Lawrence said he’s looking forward to competing in the toughest and most seasoned group of Stock-class competitors the category has seen in years.
“It reminds of 2005 and 2006,” he said. “Pretty much everyone who was racing then is racing today. I am really excited about the the competition in this class right now. Everyone is really experienced. I just had lunch with Kyler Talbot and Jay Muller (of the Talbot Excavating Stock-class team) today. Everybody is going to be ridiculously fast.
“We ran the boat down to Miami yesterday with the new motors—we have the last two new motors out there—and new lower units,” he continued. “Troy Hannon of Supreme Marine went through the boat completely. Everything is awesome.”
Lawrence said that while The Hulk/Redline Oil team excelled in the mostly flat-water races this season, he and Nunziato are comfortable and competitive in rough conditions. (“We proved ourselves in rough water races in 2013,” he said.) Last year, the former Talbot Excavating cat team cat (Talbot has a new boat—read the story—for the 2014 SBI Worlds.) won the Stock-class world title and the The Hulk team took second. Hull damage knocked The Hulk team out of contention in 2011 and 2012. Lawrence said the team is eager to take another shot at the title.
“We have had some success in Key West, we just have never won a world title together there,” he said. “Our personal feeling is that we are pretty fortunate to be the shape we are in and the condition the boat is in, and we are really excited at the level of competition in our class and the Superboat class. For fans, this is going to be the most amazing event.”