Hydroplane Racing Loses A Friend: U-10 USA Racing's Kim Gregory passes away - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hydroplane Racing Loses A Friend: U-10 USA Racing's Kim Gregory passes away

Posted: Updated:
The sport of hydroplane racing and those who knew Kim Gregory have lost a very special friend.  Kim Gregory passed away Tuesday evening, September 2, of renal failure after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early August. Gregory was admitted to The Ronald Regan Medical Center at UCLA on August 21.  Kim Gregory was 58 years old.

Kim and his wife Debbie, developed and owned USA Racing as a true family team, became involved with hydroplane racing in the limited inboard arena in the 1980's and then moved onto the unlimited scene with USA Racing Team in 1998 after purchasing the late Steve Woomer's Smokin' Joe's unlimited hydroplane racing operation.

In only the team's third race, they placed first in the JN Automotive Hydrofest at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

In 2005, the team took a one-year hiatus from the sport to regroup and focus its efforts on improving the team and becoming more competitive in the sport.  The team purchased an arsenal of equipment from Joe Little, owner of the Miss Budweiser, including the Budweiser T-3 hydroplane.

Of course, the highlight of the USA Racing's nine seasons in the unlimited hydroplanes came in 2004 when Nate Brown piloted the U-10 Dick Scott/Detroit Yacht Club hydroplane to victory in the 2004 American Powerboat Association's Gold Cup on the Detroit River.

Kim was recently interviewed and asked what got him into racing. He said he raced so that he could have something that the whole family could do together. And that he did. His sons Matt and Adam were co-crew chiefs of the U-10, and daughter Kari handled public affairs officer and was the operations manager while wife Debbie ...

"She is the boss," said team engineer and former crew chief Kenny Strickler during an interview with The Tri-City Herald in 2007. "Don't let anyone tell you any different because she is running this show."

This season, USA Racing campaigned the U-10 with sponsorship from Ahern Rentals and Hoss Mortgage. David Bryant is the driver. Currently the team is in fourth place in the national high point standings.

Kim was married to the love of his life, Debbie. Married for 32 years this August, Kim and Debbie have three children together; Matt (29), Adam (26) and Kari (23). Kim, a mechanical contractor who helped establish Las Vegas as the city it is today, was CEO and President of Hansen Mechanical.

A celebration of Kim Gregory's life will be held on September 11, 2008 at 4 pm at Red Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. A reception with a light supper will follow. A block of rooms have been reserved at The Red Rock Hotel for a group rate. Call 1 (866) 767-7773 for reservations. Before making reservations or calling The Red Rock Hotel, the family asks you e-mail kgregory4@gmail.com to insure you get the negotiated rate.