During the 1980s, the waters off Atlantic City, N.J., played host to some of the most spectacular action in offshore powerboat racing history. Dave Patnaude, the director of the New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association and the president of the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club, Ed “Smitty” Smith, the president of the Offshore Powerboat Association, and Tom Pohlman, the executive vice president of and general manager of the Atlantic City Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino are hoping to bring the action back to the area with an OPA-sanctioned race called the Atlantic City Offshore Grand Prix on Sunday, June 23.
The race is being run as part of “Festival of Speed” week, according to a press release from the New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association, which will host and organize the race. On Friday, June 21, the NJPPC will host its annual Atlantic City Poker Run. The next day, club is putting on a “Wounded Warriors” day of powerboat rides for injured veterans. The casino also will host an exotic car show that day.
Weather and conditions allowing—the 2010 Atlantic City event was canceled because of severe conditions that included 20-foot seas—the offshore race will happen the following morning.
“This whole thing kind of started when we took Tom Pohlman of the Golden Nugget on last year’s Atlantic City Poker Run,” said Patnaude. “Tom is a powerboat enthusiast and an avid offshore racing fan, and he road with Gary Goodell in the Miss GEICO Cigarette. We talked about bringing offshore racing back to Atlantic City, worked on it for awhile with Smitty at OPA and the rest, as they say, is history.”
According to the press release, the Atlantic City Offshore Grand Prix will be a “preface” to the Atlantic City Air Show, which will be practicing in the area on June 25. The show is schedule for June 26.
“We’re hoping people come for the poker run and the race and decide to stay all the way through to the air show,” said Patnaude.