Miss HomeStreet Bank/ Miss Madison crew chief Cindy Shirley in 2018. Citing professional responsibilities, Shirley is stepping down from the team in 2109. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Miss HomeStreet Bank/ Miss Madison crew chief Cindy Shirley in 2018. Citing professional responsibilities, Shirley is stepping down from the team in 2109. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Miss Madison Racing has announced that Cindy Shirley will step away from her responsibilities as crew chief of the U-6 Miss HomeStreet Bank H1 Unlimited hydroplane race team for the 2019 season.

Citing “expanding professional responsibilities” with Shirley’s job as director of the Office of Research for the University of Washington Bothell, the team said the longtime crew member, boat chief and more recently crew chief, needed to devote more time to her career and that meant stepping away from boat racing where her role and responsibilities have also expanded over the past two decades.

“Cindy has been an integral and dedicated part of the sport and the Miss Madison racing team for years and we’re sorry to lose her,” said Team Manager Charlie Grooms, himself a former crew chief with the team. “We understand the need for Cindy to dedicate the time to her personal career and wish her all the best. She’s welcome back anytime.”

Shirley, who has been with the team 16 years first has a volunteer and more recently as the sport’s only female crew chief, was promoted to that position prior to the 2018 season following the sudden death of Dan Hoover. She took over a championship team that was in the process of completing and launching a new state-of-the-art hull to go with an older boat that had become the most reliable and winning boat in the fleet.

The Miss HomeStreet team took top qualifier honors at four races in 2018, won the Indiana Governor’s Cup at Madison and introduced its new hull at midseason. However, a string of penalties and a consistently fast season by driver Andrew Tate and the U-9 Jones Racing unseated the HomeStreet as the national high points champion for the first time since 2015.

Part of the reason Shirley stepped aside is that she was recently selected as president-elect of the Western section of the Society of Research Administrators International. The Society of Research Administrators International (SRA International) is the premier global research management society providing education, professional development and the latest comprehensive information about research management to over 5,000 members from over 40 countries.

The Miss HomeStreet team continues to prepare for the upcoming season in its racing shops in both Madison and Tukwila, Washington.

A replacement for Shirley will be announced at a later date.