Team Looks to Build off Championship Year - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA | Team Looks to Build off Championship Year

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Looking ahead to next year, the Formula Boats Racing Team will have lots of new spare parts, a new driver, and most importantly, the new U-1 designation.

After finishing the 2006 race season as the high points champion, the II team will now enjoy being called the U-1.  The Old T-5 hull will still be driven by sensational rookie Mike Allen, but the other Formula Boat will have a new face in the cockpit.  Jeff Bernard, who raced the U-5 in San Diego, has taken over as the driver, replacing Mike Weber.  Weber now serves as team manager, and is happy about the change.

"I can't say I never think about driving, but I honestly enjoyed my role in San Diego, getting to work on the radio with Mike and Jeff.  Will I ever race?  If we need someone to jump in certain circumstances, maybe. But there are really no plans for me to do more racing at the unlimited level."

Mike Allen plans on doing a lot more racing.  Winning the team championship in his rookie season is quite a start to a career, and Allen wants even more.

"I'm hungry for some race wins, not just heat wins," he said.  "I'd like to win some major events."

If this year was a learning process, then owner Ted Porter feels great about the 2007 season. Granted he loads up his truck. "We're bringing both boats back next year and have to make sure we have things in line," he said. "We need plenty of spare parts.  Running two boats takes it's toll on your parts, and last year we were pretty skinny there. We need to build up our arsenal of parts.

With the success of last year, the Formula Boats Team thinks it has a bright future. "I feel really good," Porter added.  "I think the guys have their act together.  They said ‘you can't run two boats, it'll never work, there will be hurt feelings.'  But it worked. I have to pinch myself, that it really did happen.  With the same crew, we can only improve on next year."

New manager Mike Weber agrees. "I'm not saying we're gonna repeat, but this team is gonna be a force to be reckoned with in years ahead."