Marina Bartels: 18-year-old driver at Richland Regatta - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Marina Bartels: 18-year-old driver at Richland Regatta

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RICHLAND, WA - This weekend's Richland Regatta will feature some of the sports top up-and-coming drivers. Included on that list is 18-year-old Marina Bartels, who will have the weekend of her life.

As a senior at White River High School in Buckley, you may find Marina Bartels at the top of a cheer leading pyramid or competing as a power lifter at the state competition, but this weekend you'll find Marina in a hydroplane.

It's a place where she's maybe the most comfortable, driving the Y9 1 liter hydroplane.

''It's so life changing. Last year I had started with unlimited hydroplanes in the cockpit. I like came out with tears in my eyes. I was so blown away. You kind of know that you want to feel that adrenaline and you kind of want to feel that all the time. It feels so exhilarating getting out on the race course. It's kind of addictive," says Marina Bartels, Y9 1 liter Driver.

She has grown up around the sport, thanks to her father, a former air-boss at Seafair in Seattle. Marina's been a part of unlimited crew teams and it was there where John Culver, Richland Regatta Race Director, noticed her work ethic and passion.

"I seen her working on the boat. I seen her getting her hands dirty fueling it and getting right in there and asking a lot of questions. When the opportunity came up, I needed someone to drive this at the Richland Regatta, I said no better person to give a chance to drive a faster boat in a faster class," says John Culver, Richland Regatta Race Director.

Marina has made tons of memories around boat racing and this week will certainly be one she never forgets. On Wednesday she graduates high school, Friday is her graduation party and Saturday she'll be behind the wheel of a hydro, where she'll get in some important laps.

"To get qualified as a driver you drive 8 full heats, maybe more or less depending on how the referees look at it. With the 3 races I'll get in this weekend, I'll be qualified so I'll be an official rookie. I just want to go out, get some heats in, have fun, and learn," says Bartels.

So, graduation party one day, on the water the next, just another day in the life of an 18-year-old driver. So graduation party one day, on the water the next, just another day in the life of an 18 your old driver.

"This weekend will be full of lots of driving, and a lot of fun, always a lot of fun. It will be crazy," says Bartels.

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