Augusta Southern Nationals drag boat races are family affair

Sunday, July 20, 2014 7:38 PM
Last updated Monday, July 21, 2014 12:36 AM
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Like many others gathered along the banks of the Sa­van­­nah River to witness the final day of the Augusta Southern Na­tionals on Sunday, Scott Cres­well stood atop Augusta’s levee with his eyes trained on the starting line.

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Pro Mod competitors Randy Benson, driving Texas Bounty Hunter (front), and Shawn Reed, driving Top Secret (background), race at the Augusta Southern Nationals.   JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Pro Mod competitors Randy Benson, driving Texas Bounty Hunter (front), and Shawn Reed, driving Top Secret (background), race at the Augusta Southern Nationals.

Moments later, the drivers of two high-performance boats closed their cockpits and prepared to launch.

The boats rocked backward and the exhaust pipes spewed fire as the racers thundered down the course, creating a rooster tail of water several yards behind them.

The race ended just seconds after it started. Creswell spun around excitedly to tell the rest of his party that one of the boats had reached 167 mph.

“If that don’t get your blood flowing, nothing will,” he said.

Creswell, who was joined by friends and family beneath two tents on top of the levee, said he makes a weekend out of the event. A former boat sponsor, he now spends the racing weekend from his levee perch, which has a view of the complete track and of the Top Fuel Hydro pit crews.

After last year’s event was canceled because of excess amounts of rain, Creswell said, he was just glad to hear the roar of the boats again.

“It’s just so awesome that you can watch these (Top Fuel Hydro boats) make a pass, come back, take the motor and the prop out so that it’s completely stripped down and rebuild it in two hours to run again,” he said.

Creswell’s son A.J., who attended many of the events as a child, said Sunday was the perfect opportunity to re-experience the excitement while sharing something new with his wife, Leah.

“After I found out that it was coming, and knowing that she had never been here, I wanted to relive it all over again,” he said.

Leah Creswell, a native of Kan­sas City, Mo., said that before Sun­day, she had only seen boat races on television.

“I love the noise and the boats,” she said. “I love that it’s something that the whole community comes out to enjoy.”

Scott Creswell said the races have something to offer everybody. He recalls seeing records broken at most of the events, and even saw his sponsored driver breaking 250 mph.

“There’s something awesome happening every year,” he said. “It’s worth anybody’s time to come down even if they don’t like boats or know anything about them.”

Now that his son has grown, he said, he looks forward to introducing his future grandchildren to the event.

Augusta Southern Nationals

Sunday Elimination

Top Fuel Hydro


Daryl Ehrlich def. Glen Wilson; Jeff Gregory def. Scott Lumbert; Bryan Sanders, bye.


Daryl Ehrlich def. Bryan Sanders; Jeff Gregory, bye.


Daryl Ehrlich def. Jeff Gregory.

Top Alcohol Flat


Randy Ball, bye; Tony Scarlata def. Bill Miller.


Randy Ball def. Tony Scarlata.

Pro Outlaw


Shannon Beal def. Mike Lamb; Doug Maderer def. Rick Allen; Kyle Brawley def. Chad Cupit; Bill Miller def. Tommy.


Shannon Beal def. Doug Maderer; Kyle Brawley def. Bill Miller.


Shannon Beal def. Kyle Brawley.

Pro Mod


Marty Logan def. Todd Macanally; Shawn Reed def. Randy Benson; Travis Tutle def. Lee Warren; Jimmy Booher def. Kevin Helm.


Marty Logan def. Travis Tutle; Shawn Reed def. Jimmy Booher.


Marty Logan def. Shawn Reed.

Pro Eliminator


Leo Rinke win by forfeit; John Ivancik def. Wild Bill Henderson; Mark Hoagland def. Richard Tippe.


Leo Rinke, bye; Mark Hoagland def. John Ivancik.


Leo Rinke def. Mark Hoagland, forfeit.

Top Eliminator


Tony Veneri def. Steve Forney; Danny Bennett, bye; Kelvin Perkins def. Jamie Watts.


Tony Veneri, bye; Danny Bennett def. Kelvin Perkins.


Tony Veneri def. Danny Bennett.

Mod Eliminator


Rick Conklin def. Richard Till; Mike Hale def. Ron Bond; Joe Peroceschi def. Mike Edmondson.


Rick Conklin def. Mike Hale; Joe Peroceschi, bye.


Rick Conklin def. Joe Peroceschi.

Stock Eliminator


Terry Olson, bye; Mark def. Tim Pevey; John Forney def. Tommy Turner.


Terry Olson def. Mark; John Forney, bye.


Terry Olson def. John Forney

Quick Eliminator


Ed Anderson def. Terry William; Fred R. Easterlin def. Leland Bailey; Ronnie Smith def. Milton Tolen.


Ed Anderson def. Fred R. Easterlin; Ronnie Smith, bye.


Ed Anderson def. Ronnie Smith.

River Racer


Ron Schulze, bye; Greg Mitchell def. Barry Dean Arnold.


Ron Schulze def. Greg Mitchell

Comments (2) Add comment
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shamrock 07/21/14 - 11:53 am

In fact many drivers come with their families ... stay in hotels or campers/trailers at the race site. It's a great weekend for the entire family!!! Hope to see you out there next year ... it is always the third weekend in July!

FatBoy 07/21/14 - 01:27 pm

Whoa!! Looks like fun.

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