After winning back-to-back races to start the 2019 season, defending NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship series champion Ashton Rinker isn’t lacking for confidence. The Riverview, Fla., driver sponsored by Rinker’s Boat World and McLain Trailers led the entire race, which included several restarts, in front of a standing-room only crowd at Promenade Park on the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday.
Ashton Rinker ran a dominate race to win his second-straight NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship event in Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday. All photos courtesy Kevin Pyles/MOTO Marketing Group
“We had the perfect setup for the water over the weekend,” Rinker said. “It got a little rough about halfway through the final race, but my boat was running flawless. The most difficult part of the race was getting through the lap traffic and picking the best points to make that happen.”
Rinker managed to hold off second-place finisher Rusty Wyatt in the Crystal Clear Wiper Blades boat and third-place finisher Chris Fairchild in the Lottery.com boat to snag the top spot on the podium at the Rock the River event, a new venue for the series. Considering his recent success, Rinker understands he is the driver everyone wants to beat.
Check out more images from the Rock the River race in Toledo, Ohio, in the slideshow above.
“I enjoy having the target on my back—it makes me drive harder and it makes me want to win even more,” he said. “I told them all I’m the best in the business, so I have to back that up. We take boat racing very seriously and because I’ve grown up around the sport I know how much work you have to put in. It doesn’t happen over night, and it’s not about how much money you can throw at it. It’s about time, effort, work ethic and experience. I’ve paid my dues to get to this point—nothing was handed to me. And I intend to continue to be the best in the business because of that.”
Rinker added that he was proud of his cousin, Chris Rinker, who was running strong before he flipped his boat early in the final. He also said he’s looking forward to the next stop of the NGK F1 series in Bay City, Mich., a historic tunnel boat race site that features a notoriously rough course, in a couple of weeks (July 12-14).