The death of Dennis Patrick Tracey early this morning rocked the offshore powerboat racing and New Jersey performance boating communities, as witnessed by multiple posts celebrating and mourning the 43-year-old on Facebook and other social media outlets. Clearly, the loss of the gregarious and well-liked Tracey, who was admitted to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., on March 4 with internal organ issues, was devastating to his friends. His mother, Judy, reportedly was by his side when he passed.
Outgoing and likeable, Dennis Patrick Tracey frequently found himself as the center of attention. Photos courtesy Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.
“He and his mom where super-tight and he had been taking care of her since he lost his dad to cancer,” said photographer Tim Sharkey, a longtime family friend. “So unreal how quickly the roles were reversed.”
A former offshore racer—he shared the cockpit of the Team Tomohawk raceboat with Jeremy Bisson—Tracey crewed for a number of teams during the years.
“We are just so at a loss for words right now, but I do know we are so happy that you shared our wedding, shared Christmas Eve and came to the city with us the day before you got sick,” wrote Danny Crank, a longtime Tracey friend, of the Warpath offshore racing team, on his Facebook page. “Don’t worry my friend , everyone will be here for mom. Godspeed and rest easy my friend. I will see you on the other side.”
On the New Jersey high-performance pleasure boating side, Tracey was equally beloved.
“You were truly one of the great guys who always brought out the positive in everyone around you,” wrote fellow Garden State go-fast boat enthusiast Thomas Anselmi on his Facebook page. “I will miss seeing you around and spending time like we did during so many different boating events. We will miss you, but will take comfort in knowing you are reunited with your father again and will someday meet again to enjoy some time together on the open water.”
Before getting into the offshore racing scene, Tracey competed in tunnel boats as a teenager. Once he entered the offshore world, it became his passion and he crewed for well-known racers including Dan Lawrence and Rich Troppoli.
Reached this morning by phone, Crank struggled at times to control his emotion.
“I have known Dennis since he was 16 years old,” he said. “We met through a mutual friend and we stayed friends ever since. He was always around racing—always, always, always. He’s probably was offshore racing’s biggest fan.