MARIETTA, OH - Despite stiff winds that led to water conditions which took out more than a handful of entries, both of Herd Racing's tunnel boat teams in the Marietta Riverfront Roar were able to salvage respectable finishes on July 15. Rookie Formula 3 driver Roger LeGrand piloted the SkeeterPaste #75 SST-60 boat to a 7th place run in his first weekend behind the wheel. Formula 2 pilot Dana Tomes limped to an 8th place run in the #22 TrickShot Penetrating Lubricants SST-120 entry after blowing a hole in the hull during a wreck-infested F-2 final.
"Our guys worked their tails off today to get this boat in the final and overcame a lot of obstacles to get us up to speed," said Tomes of the #22 TrickShot boat. "The starter locked up when we pushed off to start the final. Our crew found a backup starter and changed the thing in waist-deep water in about five minutes to get us to the starting line on time."
Tomes had raced the #22 into the Marietta Riverfront Roar 12-boat final feature during a last chance qualifying race on Sunday morning with a fourth place finish in the six-boat field. That earned the team the 10th place on the starting dock for the Sunday afternoon final.
Just two laps into the final, Merv Bjork barrel-rolled his #32 boat in Turn 1, bringing out the first of many red flags. Immediately after a restart, Ashton Rinker rolled his #20 boat and then two laps into the third restart a three-boat crash in Turn 3 eliminated Donny McDowell's #3 boat and damaged two more. Herd Racing's #22 TrickShot entry had to go to the trailer after a fist-sized hole tore in the boat's center section from the rough waters.
"Eric Himes and Bryan Rozzi had the hull plated over, the sponsons dried out and were pushing me back to the ramp when the race was called," Tomes said. "If we could have gotten back on the water for just four or five laps we could have picked up about four more spots. We were so close to having a decent finish this week." The F-2 final was called for bad weather one lap past half way with only half of the starting field still in the race.
About two hours later when the storms passed and the water conditions improved the F-3 boats took to the water. Roger LeGrand, piloting the #75 SkeeterPaste for the first time during the weekend started 8th from the dock and was able to hold on to a 7th place finish after passing Dan Bunting's #13 Exteme Powerboat Racing entry midway through the 20-lap final.
"Roger did an awesome job for his first weekend in the boat," said Herd Crew Chief Jeramey Wentz. "We're looking forward to him getting some more seat time and seeing what we have for everyone at Huntington in a month or so."
The Herd Racing teams take to the water next in The Huntington Classic, August 10-12, in Huntington, WV.