Blackhawk / Rinker Racing
American Powerboat Association
Team AMSOIL Formula Two Powerboat drivers Finish 1-
APR Superleague Season Opener
The 2015 APR Superleague season opener commenced at the inaugural Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta. The Team AMSOIL Formula Two drivers had a short trip south to compete for the checkered flag. At the new Bradenton Florida venue, over 75 thousand fans filled the green bridge and the Riverwalk to witness the AMSOIL teams dominating performance.
The day began much like the last season ended with AMSOIL’s Rob Rinker powering his #30 boat to the front of the pack with the fastest lap in Time Trials earning the pole position in the first heat of racing. When the starter’s flag dropped it was a flash of yellow for the fans of the Bradenton Regatta. The AMSOIL #30 boat of Rob Rinker quickly put space between him and his competitors. Having nearly a half of a straightaway lead on the next competitor Rob Rinker was determined for victory.
With only a few laps on the books the first heat would have to be stopped as disaster struck the #33 boat of Rob Dinicolantonio and #21 of Jose Mendana. The boats collided exiting turn two. The collision left the #33 boat upside down in the water. Rob Dinicolantonio was uninjured and pulled to safety by rescue.
When the race course was cleared, the boats were lined up again for heat two. At the drop of the flag Rob Rinker shot the AMSOIL #30 boat to the lead. The #32 boat of Merv Bjork followed close behind. Rob knew this would be a fight for the checkered and skillfully fought to keep the #32 boat behind him. As the #30 AMSOIL boat rounded the last turn he stretched just enough room to take the checkered and the qualifying heat win.
AMSOIL Team mate and Brother, Ashton Rinker experienced a mishap in the Time Trials forcing him to start last in his first qualifying heat. Not to be out done by his Brother, Ashton fired from the start dock and rounded the first turn in the third position. Wasting no time, Ashton overtook the second place boat and set his sights on the leader. With less than a lap to go the AMSOIL driver made a daring move to the inside and overtook the leader for the victory.
The second heat started with Ashton rounding the first turn in second place. Knowing the second place finish would secure the pole position for the final race, the AMSOIL driver settled into the second place position to earn the pole starting position for the final race.
All competitors lined up for the final heat of racing. At the flag drop the #20 AMSOIL driver, Ashton Rinker took the lead. Team mate Rob Rinker came through the first turn in the fifth position and quickly moved up to the third spot on the podium. Rob stayed close to the second place boat until the chance came on lap seven to make the pass putting Team AMSOIL on the top steps of the podium. Only sibling rivalry left the AMSOIL drivers dueled until Rob Rinker passed his Brother for the lead and victory.
The top two finishes put Team AMSOIL on top of the point’s board and in an excellent position to defend their 2014 Series championships.