HISTORIC THREE-WAY BATTLE SET TO FACEOFF IN PITTSBURGH!Wednesday // Aug 03, 2016
Cocoa Beach, FL – Thursday, August 4, 2016 – In what is shaping up to be a legendary three-way battle for the USF1 Championship, drivers from coast to coast are heading this weekend for the 39th Annual “Three Rivers Regatta” in downtown Pittsburgh wrapping up the 2016 campaign on the Allegheny River in historic fashion.
The tussle that has been hi-lighted by three past champions has virtually a long jam at the top of the standings.
Starting with retiring legend Tim Seebold, in his NGK Spark Plug sponsored Seebold Racing Team, looking to capture his final victory in his final race a three decade career that has made him the winningest driver in the history of the tour with 37 victories dating back to 1994.
The 52 year-old from Osage Beach, Missouri won the opening round of the season in LaPorte, Indiana back in early June, but with a pair of third place finishes in Bay City, Michigan and Valleyfield, Quebec, he now has seen his championship lead fall into a virtual tie with six-time series champion and Floridian rival Terry Rinker with 307 points.
Seebold, who is ready to lock horns with the Amsoil sponsored Blackhawk racer from Tampa, knows that his family's 77 year reign in the sport will come to an end when the engines go quiet on Sunday afternoon at the Regatta.
“It's hard to believe it is all coming to an end,” said Tim. “It all started with my grandfather back in the 1930's when he raced on the Missouri river and continued with my Hall-of-Fame father Bill thru the late 1990's and ends with me this weekend. It seem almost serial, but you have to move on eventually and we are looking forward to the future.”
For Terry, with a pair of second places in LaPorte and Bay City and carrying momentum to the Allegheny River with a victory two weeks ago in Valleyfield he's ready to spoil the Seebold party.
“Yeah, we have finally found our rhythm and are feeling we can win here this weekend,” said the 28-time winner of the series. “We won this race back in 2005 and were on the podium in 2008 so we know this place well and we'll be ready to rock.”
Meanwhile, the dark horse in the championship is veteran California driver Greg Foster who took a resounding victory in Bay City back in late June following that with a second to Rinker in Quebec. He is a two-time champion of the tour and has a solid team behind him with the Dillard Financial Group sponsored Italian built DAC boat from Como, Italy that he'll drive as he chases his first win and podium in Pittsburgh.
“We've never won here, but we are ready to do what it takes to upset the apple cart this weekend,” said the Orange, California resident. “We are sitting back at 295 points and we'll need not only a perfect weekend but some luck at the same time to take the title. We are confident we still have a solid chance to do just that.”
Just sitting outside the top-three are a pair of talented Florida drivers beginning with Jose Mendana Jr. who sits fourth in the championship with 271 points and who wears also the promoters hat as well this weekend.
The young accountant from Miami has scored a pair of fifth place back to back results in Bay City and Valleyfield in his Nuthouse Yacht Club sponsored Gran Prix boat and has qualified well this season as well as he gains more confidence race after race.
“We are expecting big things this weekend and we also know how rough a race circuit it can be in Pittsburgh,” stated Jose. “We will be making balance adjustments to hopefully settle the boat better to run at it's maximum as we shoot for a another podium finish.”
Fifth in the championship is Terry Rinker's son, Robbie who has 258 points as he searches for his fifth top-five finish of the season. The young driver from the Tampa Bay area is coming off his best performance of the year with a fourth place result in front of the large crowds just outside Montreal in Valleyfield three weeks ago.
Carlos Mendana who has been showing strong runs this year in the top five encountered some tough luck back at Valleyfield. After finishing in the fourth position at Bay City, Carlos had his Seebold hull come apart on him in the last qualifying heat which resulted in severe damage. Carlos will now be jumping into the teams backup Gran Prix hull which will be his very first start in.
Racing on the Allegheny began back in 1982 when British driver Roger Jenkins won ahead of 18-time World Champion Renato Molinari who came back in 1983 to capture glory with his only victory there.
Drivers from four different nations have won in Pittsburgh including Holland's Cees Van der Velden in 1989 and Italian Enrico Vidoli in 1985. American drivers have won nine times including the last six races with Florida driver Shaun Torrente winning the last time the USF1 tour was in the “steel city” back in 2008.
Drivers from around the nation will be on hand it should be a fantastic sound on the water and a great way to spend the weekend as the traditional first week in August event returns to Western Pennsylvania. The F1 final is set for 5:30 pm Sunday where the 2016 USF1 Championship will be decided.
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