Patrick Sankuer, Jr.
Patrick Sankuer, Jr. to pilot 'Miss DiJulio' in '15
Centurion Racing co-owners Jay Leckrone and Denise Garl announced today (Wednesday, March 11, 2015) Patrick Sankuer, Jr. of Chesterfield, Mich. as the driver of the U-12, Miss DiJulio on the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane circuit for 2015. Sankuer will replace Jesse Robertson who joined Ted Porter and the Graham Trucking team earlier this year.
"I am very excited to get this opportunity to race an unlimited hydroplane," said the rookie Sankauer. "I wanted to race an unlimited since I was five years old when I first started watching the races on the Detroit River."
Even though this will be Sankuer's first unlimited ride, he started racing boats in 1990. Since then he has competed in four different classes (Grand National, Unlimited Light, Five-Liter and One-Liter) of the American Power Boat Association's Inboard Division.
His best season came in 2009 when he piloted the Grand National boat '#6, Showtime' to the Eastern Divisional crown in Waterford, Mich., and won the 2009 GNH APBA National High Point Championship.
"Boat racing has been a family affair for all of us," said Sankuer. " My father (Patrick, Sr.) ran the five liter 'Spirit of 76' in 1976 and then renamed it the 'Stars and Stripes' and ran that in the early 80's." Now his brother Jeffery is competing in the five-liter class racing the boat 'E-17, The Modern Drummer.'
The connection between Centurion Racing and Sankuer started a few years ago when Patrick was a crew member on the Dave Bartush owned U-13 and Leckrone was the crew chief
"We got to know each other quite well and then last year when the U-12 was damaged in Madison, he called me to help him get the boat repaired in time for the Detroit Gold Cup, " said Sankuer, who is President of Sankuer Composite Technologies of Sterling Heights, Mich. "We do a lot of work with hydroplanes and we were able to get the boat ready to race in Detroit.
"Then when Jesse left the team, he said I was one of four drivers they were looking at and I was fortunate to be selected."
What is also ironic for Sankuer is the fact he repaired Robertson's 2.5-liter hydroplane just a few years ago.
"Here I am replacing the driver who I helped fix his boat," said Sankuer. "The nice thing for the U-12 team is not only will I be able to be their driver, I bring along composite fabrication experience when we need composite work done."
The 45-year old Sankuer, Jr. is married to his wife Sara for 15 years.
March 11th, 2015