Legendary tunnel boat driver Tim Seebold embarked on his final season of racing with hopes of going out on top and retiring a champion. What the Hall of Fame racer didn’t know was that he would end up rolling his way to the 2016 US F1 Powerboat Tour season championship by just one point over long-time competitors Greg Foster and Terry Rinker, who ended up tied for second in the overall points standings after the season finale at the EQT Three Rivers Regatta in Pittsburgh.
Tim Seebold prepares to race in his final US F1 Powerboat Tour event in Pittsburgh. All photos courtesy Jason Miller/NASF
Despite rolling his NGK Spark Plugs/Seebold Sports-sponsored boat in the far turn in last Sunday’s F1 finale and not finishing the race, the Osage Beach, Mo., driver finished his career on top.
“I was disappointed in the way the race ended, but it worked out that we finished on top so it was a great way to end it,” Seebold said in a press release from the North American Speedboat Federation.
Seebold and Rinker were tied atop the US F1 standings heading into Pittsburgh, while Foster was just seven points back. The three battled up front throughout the race until Seebold—in second place at the time (Foster was leading and Rinker was a close third)—rolled in the far turn with just four laps left in the 30-lap main.
When the time came to line the boats up for the restart and an anticipated shootout for the win, Rinker’s boat encountered mechanical issues, which sent him to the launch. Neither Rinker nor Seebold were able to get back to the dock for the final restart, putting Foster, Rinker’s son, Rob, and Jimmie Merleau in the first three spots for the final run. Those three battled over the final four laps, but the lineup didn’t change as Foster plastered the field for the win.
Greg Foster won two of the 2016 US F1 Powerboat Tour races, including the season finale in Pittsburgh.
“It was a great, close race before Timmy and Terry went out,” Foster said. “I hate to see that happen and see it end that way, but I’m really happy to get this win for my crew and everybody. This is a great venue and a great race. It’s not bad for an old guy who hasn’t raced in 13 years.”
Foster retired from tunnel boat racing more than a decade ago but came back this season to race for Steve Dillard in Dillard’s new DAC hull.
“I don’t know if I expected this after all those years,” Foster said. “Timmy’s my good friend and I hate to see it end like that for him, especially in his last season. But I’m happy we got the win.”
Seebold finished the season in first with 394 points, just one point ahead of both Foster and Rinker, who finished with 393 points each. Foster officially finished in second place after winning two races—Bay City, Mich., and Pittsburgh.
Jose Mendana Jr. finished just outside the top three with 356 points followed by Rob Rinker in fifth with 350 points. Mendana Jr. finished fourth in Sunday’s finale, while his brother, Carlos, came in fifth. Seebold ended the finale in seventh with Rinker right behind in eighth.
R.J. West won Sunday’s finale in the Formula Lights class, beating out Steve Lee and Mendana Jr., who ran away from the field despite two mid-race restarts but encountered trim issues that slowed him in the late laps where he was passed by West and Lee.
US F1 Finale Includes Closest Points Battle in Years, Plus Webscorer Testing
Seebold Starts Final US F1 Season on a High Note
Seebold to Retire Following the 2016 US F1 Powerboat Tour
Cheathem Kicks Off SPORT Series Opener with Unreal Victory
US F1 Launches Exciting New Qualifying Procedures
US F1 and SPORT Choose New Sanctioning Organization