1997 Seafair Texaco Cup

Unlimited Lights

SEATTLE, Wash. -- The final heat of the Unlimited Light Racing Series, the supporting event for Sunday's Texaco Cup at Seafair for unlimited hydroplanes on Lake Washington, ended with some five penalties spread around the eight competitors and with reports that a losing owner had swung at an opposing driver whom he claimed ran into his driver during the warmup lap before the start.

The apparent winner, still unofficial, is David Leach, a substitute driver in the Miss SeaFair Bank, who replaced brother- in-law Brian Reynolds when the latter moved up to drive the Chaplin's unlimited in the main event. Apparently disqualified, after reaching the checkered flag first, was George Stratton of Las Vegas, driving the Wild Fire.

Stratton is the same driver who survived a wild, 360-degree flip in Kelowna, B.C., last week and was able to drive back to the pits. This time officials cited him, and two other boats, for cutting off ULRS series point leader Bo Schide even before the start. Schide's owner, Ned Allen of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., then angrily confronted Stratton after the race.

Second place, again unofficially, went to Dave Bender of El Dorado, Calif., in the Pete's Wicked Ale and Randy Haas, Toledo, O., drove Miss LeRoi to third place. The snapped a three- race winning streak by Schide, who maintains a large lead in the point standings.

The unlimited final has been set for 5:40 p.m. (PDT).

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The Unlimited Light Racing Series apparently was won by George Stratton, Las Vegas, in the Wild Fire. The official results may be released sometime next week, or month. Stratton appeared to have beaten everyone to the checkered flag, but then hesitant referees gave the unofficial nod to David Leach of Olympia, Wash., in the Miss SeaFirst Bank. Three hours later, Stratton was given back the title.