H1 honors 2013 award winners at annual meeting
Rules change OK'd mandating 80 mph min. during milling
Monday, March 17, 2014 11:00 AM
H1 Unlimited announced an end the "park and start" procedure and solidified its 2014 schedule at its annual meetings and awards banquet this past weekend in Seattle.
H1 AWARDS BANQUET: Oberto/Miss Madison Racing’s (from left): team manager Charlie Grooms, sponsor’s representative Larry Oberto, new driver Jimmy Shane and public relations manager Mark Hooton talk during Saturday’s H1 Unlimited banquet in Seattle. Shane picked up the 2013 national championship trophy with his former Graham Trucking team while the Oberto/Miss Madison team was national runner-up. (H1 Unlimited photo by Chris Denslow)
The park and start has dominated the sport for the past several years. It had gotten so bad that drivers were literally turning off their engines and drifting in order to secure the best lane possible for heats.
H1 outlawed turning off engines last year but took the next step for this coming race season to eliminate the practice all-together. Now, drivers will be required to maintain a speed of at least 80 mph during the milling period before the start. Drivers who appear to be below that speed will receive a warning from the referee with additional warnings including penalties. There will be no "score-up buoy," but racing lanes must be established by the entrance to the final turn before the start.
The 2014 schedule had been a question mark due to the financial viability of the race in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. But H1 Unlimited Chairman Sam Cole announced on Saturday that the race will be run on Labor Day weekend.
"I am glad we were able to resolve the issues that were standing in the way of announcing the 2014 Diamond Cup," Cole said. "I speak for all of our owners, race teams, officials and fans when I say we are looking forward to returning to beautiful Coeur d'Alene Labor Day weekend."
The season will kick off in Madison on Fourth of July weekend and will be followed by races in Detroit, Tri-Cities, Wash., Seattle, Coeur d'Alene, San Diego and Doha, Qatar.
The annual awards banquet also honored the top performers from last year. Jimmy Shane and the Graham Trucking team were honored for winning the driver's and national championships in 2013. Shane drove the Graham Trucking last season but has since jumped to the Oberto/Miss Madison race team during the offseason.
"The decision to leave this team was the most difficult one I have ever had to make," Shane told his former teammates on the awards stage. "You guys have become my family and always will be. Congratulations on the championship we won, thanks to Ted Porter for the tremendous opportunity to be part of this great team and I wish you all the best in the future."
Jeff Campbell of Jones Racing was named Crew Chief of the Year while the Peters & May team brought home crew of the year honors. Jamie Nilsen, who drove the Snoqualmie Casino for two races, was named Rookie of the Year, Billy Schumacher of Schumacher Racing was named Owner of the Year and Centurion Racing's Greg Hopp won the sport's Fan Favorite Award.
Madison Regatta Inc. was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award.
Second-place finisher Steve David and the Oberto/Miss Madison and third-place finisher Kip Brown and the Spirit of Qatar were also honored.