The bad news for Race World Offshore, the Key West, Fla.-based organization that produced yesterday’s Clearwater Hooters Offshore Nationals, was that just 14 teams showed up for the event. The good news was that 11 of them were divided between two of the sport’s premiere classes—four in SuperCat and seven in ProStock Cat.
WHM Motorsports continued its winning ways in Clearwater yesterday (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
For the SuperCat class, the organizers opted for a 10-lap, two-race format on the 4.4-mile oval course. The ProStock Cat teams ran one 12-lap race.
Running against Pro Floors Racing, M-Con and Small Change Racing (formerly Cleveland Construction), the WHM Motorsports team of owner/driver Billy Mauff and throttleman Jay Muller grabbed an early lead in their 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran in both contests and never let it go. That left everyone else competing for second place, which went to the Pro Floors Racing cockpit duo of owner/driver Wayne Valder and Grant Bruggemann in the team’s 41-foot MTI.
“It was a really fun weekend,” Muller said. “We ran the same setup we dominated with there last year in similar conditions. We got two good starts and tried to stay consistent and smooth. In the end it all worked out.”
In its second race of the 2019 season, The Hulk team earned a checkered flag (click image to enlarge).
In the ProStock Cat ranks, The Hulk, a fiercely competitive team that has been mostly dormant in recent years, took top honors. For much of the race, the Shadow Pirate cockpit duo of Nick Scafidi and Scott Porta led the fleet, but in the later laps they hooked in a turn after clipping a buoy and opened the door for The Hulk teammates Rob Nunziato and Dan Lawrence, who took the checkered flag in their 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran.
The Hulk team came to Clearwater with one race this season—the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix—under its belt. Nunziato and Lawrence re-powered the boat with new 300-hp outboards in advance of the Sarasota contest and were able to put five hours on them prior to Clearwater. They even borrowed propellers from fellow Stock-class competitor Lee Austin of the Deep V Cats team for the Clearwater race.
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the Race World Offshore Clearwater Hooters Offshore Nationals.
The Hulk led early in the race but eventually gave up the lead to Scafidi and Porta in Shadow Pirate. That didn’t last long.
“We had a nice little lead going but I guess got too comfortable and Shadow Pirate got by us,” Lawrence said. “We stayed about five feet off their transom. They were running really hard and fast until they clipped one of the turn buoys and we got by them.”
Lawrence said that although he and Nunziato are delighted to be back in the boat, they don’t know if they will compete in more races this season.
“We have to sit down and talk about that,” he said, then laughed. “We need to rest first—we don’t even have a crew. Lee Austin loaned us props for Clearwater, and we can’t thank him enough for that.
“We have the boat’s weight and balance correct and we’re really excited to be back in it,” he continued. “It’s such a great class. The competition is good and everyone in it is really professional.”