Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The smell of nitro methane once again permeated the air on the Savannah River as the 2014 edition of the Southern Nationals roared back to life after last year’s race was canceled due to last year’s flooding. Race fans from all over the Southeast were once again treated to the sights, sounds and smells of the worlds quickest and fastest racing boats the world has to offer.
Saturday morning started out with several delays due to sporadic rain showers that played havoc with qualifying. The rains didn’t stop the fans from enjoying a day of racing and exploring all the race had to offer. From meeting drivers and signing autographs to buying shirts, hats, and anything else the vendors had to offer, fans were never bored as the qualifying ran into early evening.
Race day broke with clouds and a chance that rain would wreak havoc with the race, but the rain gods cooperated and the 25,000 fans that attended were treated to one of the best races the Savannah has ever seen.
Eddie Knox owns the Problem Child. It is simply the quickest and fastest Top Fuel Hydro boat in the world. Problem Child holds the record with a pass of 3.36 seconds at 261 mph.
Daryl Ehrlich is the driver of Problem Child. Knox is the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Top Fuel champion, and 2014 may see another championship notched in his belt. Coming into the Southern Nationals, the No. 712 was third in points, 400 behind Scotty Lumbert in the Spirit of Texas. Ehrlich made it to the final round by beating Nitrocondriac with a pass of 3.54 seconds at 240 mph, but the pass was not without problems. The boat managed to break its prop and hit the prop which had come off the other boat, damaging the hull.
The finals pitted Problem Child against Speed Sport. In a ball of fire, Problem Child took the thrilling win with a pass of 3.72 seconds at 225 mph.
All in all, the 28th edition of the Augusta Southern Nationals was one that will be remembered for many years to come. The fans saw a great show, the drivers went the extra yard to make sure the competition was top notch. Most of all, thank you to the board of directors, chaired by Dayton Sherrouse, and the hundreds of volunteers that made the race huge success.
Doug Allan hosts the show “Spirit of Racing” on WEZO 1230AM.