The 36th Annual Suncoast Summer Fest in Sarasota got underway on Sunday morning, June 27, with perfect weather—and ended with two races getting canceled because of lightning storms.
As they say, welcome to Florida.
This was the the third stop of APBA Offshore National Series, presented by Powerboat P1 and OPA, and was supposed to feature 12 offshore classes in four separate races. However, the final offshore race (combining Class One, Supercat and Prohibition 450 offshore boats) and a final race featuring AquaX Jet Skis, were abruptly jettisoned from the schedule when the weather threatened to turn scary. Travis Pastrana and Sir Steve Curtis had been scheduled to race in Class One’s Miss GEICO, while four Supercat teams were similarly escorted off the course before their race could begin. Taylor Scism, who had been scheduled to race with her dad (legendary MTI Boats founder Randy Scism), also missed their chance to compete.
The day started off promising enough, with four separate bracket classes (4, 5, 6 and 7) mixing it up spiritedly. In Class 4, points leader GNS Motorsports (with Grant Greytok and Bill Reeves) were the team to beat…which Predator, piloted by Dean Stahlman and Nate Hunt, did. They led the Class 4 field for nearly the entire race and captured the checkered flag with ease. Unleashed came in second, Cigarette Justice League finished third, and GNS finished fourth.
With a nine-boat field, Class 5 was dominated by driver JJ Turk and throttleman Michael Stancombe in Team Woody. Two Cruel and Revelation Racing were second and third, respectively. The winner in Class 6 was Gerard Marine Offshore (with Mark Conrod and Chase Gerard), besting points leaders Rum Runners, while Class 7 was won by Ella’s Nightmare, driven by 14-year-old Dominic Stancombe (who recently celebrated his second-place finish at the Lake of the Ozarks, his first-ever offshore race).
The second race of the day featured Mod Vee and Stock Vee competitors, along with Bracket Class 3’s two-boat field. As Sheriff Lobo took an early lead in Mod Vee, and You Gun Learn leading in Stock Vee, a red flag was called when Stock Vee competitor Fastboys/Tiki Lees (with driver Ken Bolinger and throttleman Forrest Riddle) stuffed the boat, causing it to sink. (The rescue boat hooked the hull and managed to tow it in.) There were no major injuries. When the course was clear, the boats restarted and completed their remaining laps. You Gun Learn (with Dante Napoli and Mikey Bocchino) continued to put up a hell of a battle in Stock Vee, but Brit Lilly and Travis Pastrana edged them out for the win in LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness, while Shocker finished third. Meanwhile, Team Woody/Golf N Gator (with Jeff Muehlhausen and Brad Wade) bested Rollin’ Dirty Offshore in Class 3.
The restart gave a second chance to Stock Vee competitor Boatfloater.com, which apparently suffered engine problems after the original start, causing them to stop the boat and make repairs. (The team has reportedly raced in every single Sarasota offshore match, and is on fire this year.) Following the restart, they were back in business, easily taking the win. Their Sarasota success was their third straight victory of the year. Sheriff Lobo finished in second place, while Visit St. Petersburg finished third. Sun Print suffered mechanical problems early on and did not finish.
What turned out to be the final race of the day belonged to the field of 11 Super Stock boats. Team Allen Lawn Care, winner of the season’s kickoff race in Cocoa Beach, led for most of the race and appeared to finish first, with points leader Performance Boat Center/FASS Fuel Systems right behind. However, Team Allen‘s Cody Mcdowell and Billy Allen missed the mid-turn pin on the second lap, sending the team back to eighth place. (“Big mistake—better luck next time,” Allen told Speedboat. “Congrats to Performance Boat Center—they have a great team and crew chief, Andy Sanders.”) CMR Roofing, with Eric Belisle and Shaun Torrente, finished second in Super Stock, followed by Paint Factory, FJ Propeller, CR Racing and Your Storage Units.