Unlimited rookie gets in his qualifying laps; Kevin Aylesworth & U-21 celebrates his Detroit weekend - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Unlimited rookie gets in his qualifying laps; Kevin Aylesworth & U-21 celebrates his Detroit weekend

It may slip under-the-radar with the excitement of the Gold Cup finale and Jean Theoret's win.  But there's another team celebrating their performance at Detroit.  The U-21 Miss Simpatico of Freedom Racing finished just 72 points out of the final.

More importantly, rookie driver Kevin Aylesworth got in his qualifying laps, so he's officially a fully qualified Unlimited Hydroplane driver.  To be qualified, a driver has to put in at least 15 laps.  67% of those laps have to be at 130 mph or more.

Aylesworth finished up Friday's qualifying at Detroit with an average lap time of 139.671, but turned one lap at 141.418.

During heat race, Aylesworth was the beneficiary of some lucky breaks - like two boats dying on the water and a third blowing an engine - to take 2nd in Detroit's Heat 1A.  But the boat ran fine all weekend and competed in every race it entered.

Saturday
Heat 1A - 2nd Place
Heat 2A - 3rd Place

At the end of the day Saturday, the U-21 sat in 4th place in points.

Sunday
Heat 3B - 4th Place
Heat 4A - 4th Place

When it was all said and done, the U-21 team finished the day in 7th place - just 72 points away from making the line-up for the finals.

After his qualifying lap, Aylesworth brought the boat back to the dock where he was greeted by a cheering U-21 crew, wearing T-shirts that said:  "Hey Lucky 21 Rookie:  are you qualified?"

Not bad for a race team that's landed a national sponsor, Simpatico Beer, in its first year of racing.

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