In his final season of racing, defending series and race champion Tim Seebold of the NGK Spark Plugs/Seebold Sports team fought off Indiana native and two-time race winner Terry Rinker to capture the season-opening US F1 Powerboat Tour victory at the fourth annual Maple City Grand Prix on Stone Lake in LaPorte, Ind.
Tim Seebold does a victory lap after winning the US F1 opener in LaPorte, Ind. All photos by Paul Kemiel/Paul Kemiel Photographics
The Osage Beach, Mo., resident who is part of a 77-year Seebold Racing lineage that spans three generations started the 25-lap race in pole position after setting the fastest qualifying time of the weekend and never looked back. Seebold held off the AMSOIL/Rinker Racing team driver to finish a little more than one second ahead of Rinker, who won in LaPorte in 2013 and 2014.
“We had a real fight with Terry this weekend—he never gave us a chance to relax anytime during the final,” said Seebold, who announced his retirement from the sport in early April (read the story). “It’s a great way to start off the anniversary of my sponsor with a victory, and now we’ll look forward to trying to take a double at Bay City in three weeks time as well.”
Rinker, who recorded the fastest lap of the final race, came close to challenging Seebold for the lead throughout the race but back markers and slower traffic ended his chance of winning for the third time in four years in his former home state (Rinker now resides in Florida).
“We did everything we could to catch up to Seebold, but we were just a little short on horsepower in the end,” Rinker said. “We’ll go back to Florida and see what we can do to catch up for Bay City. I guarantee we’ll be ready.”
Check out more images from the Maple City Grand Prix in the slideshow above.
Reaching the podium with a third-place finish for the third straight year was Illinois driver Chris Fairchild, who started second and held off a determined Greg Foster, who was driving the Dillard Financial Solutions boat. Fairchild finished six seconds ahead of Foster, and Rinker’s son, Rob, took fifth in his eighth career Grand Prix race.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Formula Lights race saw Jason Nelson of Atlanta take the victory over Jose Mendana, Jr. of Miami, who finished second ahead of fellow Florida driver Steven Lee after suspected winner RJ West of California was disqualified from his victory an hour after the event following technical inspections.
The second round of the US F1 Powerboat Tour takes place at the annual Bay City River Roar (June 25-26) on the Saginaw River in downtown Bay City, Mich.
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