Mercer Island resident Rob Graham notched his first Seafair win as an H1 Unlimited hydroplane owner on Aug. 4 at the 69th annual HomeStreet Bank Cup on Lake Washington.
Driver J. Michael Kelly of Bonney Lake won the race while helming the U-12 Graham Trucking hydro after officials determined post-race that initial winner Jimmy Shane of Maple Valley had violated the minimum 80 mph rule several times in the pre-race milling period. Officials added a one-minute penalty after reviewing on-board video following the race.
“Wow, my third win at Seafair, wait I honestly don’t know how many I have here, ” Kelly said in a press release. “I am proud to be a part of the Graham Trucking team and owe this win to Rob Graham who has been a champion as a sponsor here before, and now as a owner/sponsor.”
Kelly also thanked the the Boitano Homes team for loaning them a cowling after Graham Trucking’s was destroyed in an earlier preliminary heat race.
Graham, who previously won three Seafair races as a sponsor, said in an email to the Reporter: “I am so thankful that every Graham Trucking crew member is of one mind on race day. It makes no difference which adversity is presented, our crew just digs right in and does whatever is needed. I’m extremely thankful for every one of these guys as well as a pretty remarkable driver.”
Kelly was victorious at 136.294 mph and Graham’s other entry, the U-98 Graham Trucking American Dream driven by Corey Peabody, placed sixth with 110.162 mph.
This is the third consecutive year the Seafair race has been decided by penalty. During the race, officials penalized Kelly for one minute for going under 80 mph, but they rescinded the penalty after reviewing on-board video.
Graham has been a long-time sponsor of various unlimited hydroplanes and the title sponsor of the Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair. Graham Trucking has also been the title sponsor of the Grand Prix Thunder Cup in Tri-Cities as well as title sponsor of many other local races.
Other Mercer Island residents who have made their mark on the hydroplane scene include former drivers Steve Reynolds, the late Jerry Bangs and late Bill Muncey, who was also an owner along with Dave Heerensperger and Pamela and Jim Clapp, who helped begin the turbine-powered revolution.