Thousands expected at Port Angeles sprint boat races today
By ROB OLLIKAINEN
Peninsula Daily News
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Police to help with sprint boat trafficPORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Police Department has assigned two officers to work at the U.S. Sprint Boat Association Series Points Race today.
Deputy Chief of Police Brian Smith said the officers are “specifically assigned to the event to manage traffic and to assist with any other public safety issues” at the Extreme Sports Park at 2917 W. Edgewood Drive.
Last year's inaugural spring boat racing at the park drew crowds in excess of 5,000.
Event organizers are expecting even bigger crowds today.
“We're there only because of the large number of people,” Smith said.
Last year's sprint boat race in Port Angeles was a success from a law enforcement standpoint, Smith said.
“With the number people, we were pleasantly surprised by how well-managed it was and how little problems we had,” Smith said.
However, Smith said the are “potentially major traffic issues” for the event on the access road and Edgewood Drive.
“Hopefully not everyone is going to leave at the same time,” Smith said, adding that owners have tried to mitigate traffic congestion this year.
A bottleneck occurred last year as people fumbled for change to pay $1 to the Port Angeles High School cheerleading team.
“We're not doing that this year,”said Kelie Morrison, Extreme Sports Park co-owner.
Instead, the $1 donation will come from the $20 general admission pass.
“Lines are going to be way, way shorter,” Morrison said.
The State Patrol will be on regular patrols in the Port Angles area during the sprint boat races.
“We are not doing anything out of the ordinary for it,” said Trooper Russ Winger, State Patrol spokesman.
Kelie Morrison, Extreme Sports Park co-owner, said she expects 28 boats and a big crowd — “more than last year” — at the park at 2917 W. Edgewood Drive.
Gates will open at 8 a.m.
( Planning to take in the sprint boat races? Here's a complete rundown of the event details, the entrants and all the attractions. Click here: http://tinyurl.com/pdn-sprint )
Warm-up runs will start at 9:30 a.m. with racing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More than 5,000 people attended the inaugural races at the park last summer.
Spectators will see quick-turning boats blazing through a maze of shallow channels at the park, one of only two such tracks in the state.
Drivers and their navigators will reach speeds of up to 100 mph in places as they attempt to qualify for the elimination rounds.
The fastest four of eight boats in the first elimination run will advance to the second elimination, when two more boats will be cut.
The last two boats will square off a third and final time to determine first and second place.
Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for those 6 to 12 and free for children younger than 6. All tickets include a pit pass.
RV and tent camping is available for $20 on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In addition to today's points race, the Extreme Sports Park will host the U.S. Sprint Boat Association National Finals Championship on Sept. 8.
Advance tickets for both races are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
They can also be purchased in Port Angeles at Sunset Do it Best Hardware, 518 Marine Drive; Round-Up A Latte, 3231 E. U.S. Highway 101; First Street Chiropractic, 1217 E. First St.; PenPrint Inc., 230 E. First St.; and Lincoln Street Shipping Center, 403 S. Lincoln St.
In Sequim, they can be purchased at Doghouse Powder Coating & Media Blasting, 503 S. Third Ave.
Tickets also can be purchased at the gate, with cash and check only.
Morrison advised the public to “get tickets before they get there” to avoid lines on race day.
Camping is available at the park for $20, and payment must be made upon arrival.
A post-race party that includes live music will be held after the race.
Kelie's husband, Dan Morrison, drives Wicked Racing's No. 10 boat alongside their daughter, Cara McGuire of Port Angeles.
The father-daughter team won the 2011 championship in the Super Boats class, the fastest of three classes in the series.
Other classes are the Super Modifieds, with engines up to 367 cubic inches, and A-400s, with engines from 368 to 412 cubic inches.
Other local teams expected in Saturday's field include the Twisted Motorsports No. 18 boat with driver Wayne Brown and Navigator Nicole Brown, both of Port Angeles, in the A-400 class.
Tim Cummings of Sequim will drive TNT Racing's No. 99 boat in the Super Modified class.
TNT Racing's Dillon Brown Cummings and Teri Cummings of Sequim won the 2010 national championship in Super Modifieds.
Drivers and their navigators must negotiate three possible rotations on the track.
All drivers are strapped into a fire suit with a neck restraint and helmet.
They are secured into the boat with a 5-point harness to prevent injuries as boats roll after missing a turn.
Crews are positioned along the sides of the islands to push the boats back into the water when they get beached.
For more information on today's racing, visit http://tinyurl.com/pdn-sprint or phone 360-477-8187 or 360-460-2601.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: August 09. 2012 8:19PM