Jimmy Shane had no way of knowing it, but his dominating run in the championship heat of the HomeStreet Cup in Seattle on Sunday was over long before it ever begun.

As it turned out, nobody else knew either.

For two hours.

In a decision that was stunning by even H1 Unlimited standards, Shane’s win was negated two hours after the fact when officials determined that the U-6 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison driver had violated the 80-mph rule during the milling period before the start of the race and was penalized one minute for the infraction.

Adding to the confusion, J. Michael Kelly, who himself was penalized one-minute for that same infraction, had his penalty rescinded and was awarded the win in the U-12 Beacon Plumbing.

It was just the latest chapter in an embarrassing book by a sport that has made a habit over the last decade of deciding races long after the spray had settled.

“There is nothing worse than something like that taking place,” H1 Unlimited Chief Referee Rick Sandstrom told the Seattle Times. “Makes us look like idiots.”

The H1 rulebook states that rules decisions “shall be announced within 30 minutes after the finish” of the heat. Sandstrom said the decision was made in that timeframe, but the results were reported for another hour and a half.

The decision not only ended what was a dominating weekend run by Shane, it also delayed the celebration of the team’s ninth National High Points Championship for another six weeks. Shane takes a 1,443-point lead over Kelly into the season finale in San Diego in mid-September.

After seeing his two-race win streak snapped by Kelly last week at the Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities, Washington, Shane appeared more determined than ever to reclaim his spot atop the Unlimited hydroplane field.

For three days Shane looked the part. He was the fastest qualifier by over five mph on Friday and won all three of his preliminary heats in romps, including an impressive performance in Heat 2A on Sunday when he drove around both Kelly and defending national champion Andrew Tate in the U-1 Delta/Realtrac to win from lane three.

The final heat played out the same way. Settling again into lane three with Kelly in lane one, Shane quickly cleared the competition and pulled away, putting enough distance between himself and Kelly by lap two to all but end the race.

As the boats began that second lap, H1 officials announced that Kelly had been penalized one minute for going under 80 mph twice during the warm-up period. But the veteran Kelly, who knows H1’s penchant for reversing calls all too well, never lifted his foot and held off Tate for the remainder of the race to physically cross the line in second place.

Shane coasted his boat into the pit area and waved his arms triumphantly after getting out of the cockpit. Once on the dock, Shane did the obligatory interviews with the media and, along with Tate and third-place finisher Jamie Nilsen in the U-11 J&Ds, was whisked to the podium area to pick up his award.

But while Shane and his team were celebrating, Kelly’s crew was filing a protest and it worked. Long after the fans had melted away and much of the media had packed up, H1 officials announced that not only had they discovered a penalty on Shane, but Kelly’s same penalty was erroneously called and therefore rescinded.

“It’d be nice to celebrate the right way, though,” Kelly said. “It’s unfortunate these kinds of things happen.”

The infraction that H1 found that took way Shane’s win involved an incident between himself and teammate Jeff Bernard in the U-1918 Oberto Super Salami/Miss Madison with about three minutes left before the start of the final heat.

After Shane had cut the course, he opted to cut outside of Bernard and in the process, drove the HomeStreet through the Oberto’s water spray. According the boat’s onboard video, the engine appeared to ingest the water and the boat slowed considerably. Although it never came to a complete stop, the HomeStreet found itself at near ground idle before Shane was able to kick it back up to speed.

The entire incident took nearly 30 seconds, far longer than H1’s stated rule that boats cannot be under 80 mph for longer than five seconds. But no call was made at the time and in announcing their decision afterward, H1 officials cited rule book Section D.5.

The rule itself is contradictory. While noting in part (a) that while the rule is “not review-able [sic] or appeal-able [sic]”, it states in part (d) that “Boats [sic] wing video may be reviewed after each heat.”

While Shane declined to comment after the announcement was made, Miss Madison Racing President Charlie Grooms was blunt in his assessement of the decision.

“I think it’s really abhorrent as to what has transpired,” Grooms told the Seattle Times. “I don’t have enough strong words to explain what happened and why.”

The post-race announcement lifted Kelly from a sixth-place finish to first while leaving the next four positions intact. Tate placed second while Nilsen was third and Bernard finished fourth. Shane, who lapped trailer Corey Peabody and the U-98 Graham Trucking, ended up fifth with Peabody dropping to sixth and Brian Perkins, who had jumped the gun, coming in seventh in the U-99.9 Miss Rock KISW.

Four different drivers claimed preliminary heat wins on the weekend, led by Shane’s three victories. Kelly picked up a win in Heat 1A, Nilsen scored his first-ever win in 2B and Bernard picked up his first of the season in 3B.

After four races in the span of six weeks, the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series takes six weeks off before wrapping up the campaign Sept. 13-15 in San Diego, California. The series will skip the traditional race in Detroit, Michigan for the first time in the modern era.

———

2019 HOMESTREET CUP

Lake Washington

Seattle, Washingtom

Length: 2 miles

RESULTS

Sunday, Aug. 4

FINAL HEAT

1. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Beacon Plumbing, 136.299 mph; 2. Andrew Tate, U-1 Delta/Realtrac, 132.161; 3. Jamie Nilsen, U-11 J&Ds, 128.026; 4. Jeff Bernard, U-1918 Oberto Super Salami/Miss Madison, 123.902; 5. Jimmy Shane, U-6 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison, 111.254*; 6. Corey Peabody, U-98 Graham Trucking, 110.162; 7. Brian Perkins, U-99.9 Miss Rock KISW, 101.293.**

Fast Lap: Shane, No. 1, 145.228.

*-penalized one minute for 80 mph violation.

**-penalized one minute for jumping the gun.

PRELIMINARY HEATS

Saturday, Aug. 3

HEAT 1A

1. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Beacon Plumbing, 140.226; 2. Andrew Tate, U-1 Delta/Realtrac, 134.780; 3. Jamie Nilsen, U-11 J&Ds, 129.474; 4. Bert Henderson, U-7 Boitano Homes, 92.633.*

Fast Lap: Kelly, No. 1, 142.009.

*-penalized one minute for 80 mph violation.

HEAT 1B

1. Jimmy Shane, U-6 Miss HomeStreet, 134.741; 2. Brian Perkins, U-99.9 Miss Rock KISW, 131.154; 3. Jeff Bernard, U-1918 Oberto Super Salami, 97.069*; 4. Corey Peabody, U-98 Graham Trucking, 94.417.*

Fast Lap: Shane, No. 1, 140.710.

*-penalized one minute for jumping the gun.

Sunday, Aug. 4

HEAT 2A

1. Jimmy Shane, U-6 Miss HomeStreet, 145.625; 2. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Beacon Plumbing, 139.142; 3. Andrew Tate, U-1 Delta/Realtrac, 136.954; 4. Corey Peabody, U-98 Graham Trucking, 119.167.

Fast Lap: Shane, No. 1, 148.929.

HEAT 2B

1. Jamie Nilsen, U-11 J&Ds, 136.319; 2. Brian Perkins, U-99.9 Miss Rock KISW, 131.879; 3. Bert Henderson, U-7 Boitano Homes, 124.919; Jeff Bernard, U-1918 Oberto Super Salami, DNF.

Fast Lap: Nilsen, No. 2, 137.564.

HEAT 3A

1. Jimmy Shane, U-6 Miss HomeStreet, 140.640; 2. Andrew Tate, U-1 Delta/Realtrac, 136.387; 3. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Beacon Plumbing, 125.885; 4. Corey Peabody, U-98 Graham Trucking, 116.785.

Fast Lap: Shane, No. 1, 144.277.

HEAT 3B

(speeds not available)

1. Jeff Bernard, U-1918 Oberto Super Salami; 2. Jamie Nilsen, U-11 J&Ds; 3. Brian Perkins, U-99.9 Miss Rock KISW; 4. Bert Henderson, U-7 Boitano Homes.

Fast Lap: N/A.

FINAL QUALIFYING RESULTS

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 154.513; 2. Andrew Tate, U-1 Delta/Realtrac, 149.120; 3. J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Beacon Plumbing, 148.450; 4. Jeff Bernard, U-1918 Oberto Super Salami, 147.269; 5. Jamie Nilsen, U-11 J&Ds, 147.266; 6. Brian Perkins, U-99.9 Miss Rock KISW, 143.646; 7. Bert Henderson, U-7 Boitano Homes, 137.200; 8. Corey Peabody, U-98 Graham Trucking, 135.785.

CURRENT POINTS STANDINGS

(through 4 of 5 races)

BOATS

1. U-6 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison, 7,377; 2. U-12 Graham Trucking, 5,934; 3. U-7 Spirit of Detroit, 4,358; 4. U-1 Delta/Realtrac, 4,357; 5. U-11 J&Ds, 3,390; 6. U-98 Graham Trucking, 3,461; 7. U-440 Bucket List Racing, 2,189; 8. U-1918 Oberto Super Salami, 2,092; 9. U-99.9 Go Fast Turn Left Racing, 1,894; 10. U-3 Miss Ace Hardware, 640.

DRIVERS

1. Jimmy Shane (U-6), 7,377; 2. J. Michael Kelly (U-12), 5,934; 3. Bert Henderson (U-7), 4,358; 4. Andrew Tate (U-1), 4,357; 5. Corey Peabody (U-98), 3,461; 6. Dustin Echols (U-440), 2,189; 7. Jeff Bernard (U-1918), 2,092; 8. Brian Perkins (U-99.9), 1,894; 9. Tom Thompson (U-11), 1,834; 10. Jamie Nilsen (U-11), 1,556; 11. Jimmy King (U-3), 640.