2018 News and Press Releases

NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Springfield Press Release Photo
 

NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Race #5 Springfield, Ohio F1 Grand Prix

The NGK Spark Plugs Formula One Powerboat Championship is bringing its world class powerboat racing action to Springfield, Ohio, on Aug 10-12, just one week after the “EQT Three Rivers Regatta” in Pittsburgh, PA. The 2nd annual Springfield F1 Grand Prix “Wake the Lake” is the 5th stop of 2018 NGK F1 tour. After an exciting inaugural event in 2017, the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship returns to Springfield’s “Lake at Champions Park”, aptly nicknamed “America’s Boat Race Track” by race promoter, Dana Potts – and located within the Historic Clark County Fairgrounds. Traditionally known as “Champion City”, Springfield is situated just one-half mile off I-70, between Dayton and Columbus.
 
Race fans will be entertained with a packed weekend filled with racing action featuring the 120-mph Formula One tunnel boats, Formula Lights, MOD division outboards, RC boat racing, Vintage race boat exhibitions and the junior race stars of J-Hydro.
 
As the 2018 series enters its final two races, racers who are still in the points chase are desperate to keep racking up as many points as possible. Consistent drivers, such as #20 Ashton Rinker of Riverview, Florida, #2 Tracy Hawkins of Willis, Texas, #53 Greg Foster of Orange, California, #24 Spencer Love of California and #4 Wesley Cheatham of Trinity, Texas, are under increasing pressure as the season winds down. With a season that has produced multiple winners and the tightest competition seen in years, who will win the race and the series championship title remains anybody’s guess.
 
Dean Blair, executive director of the Clark County Fairgrounds told The Springfield News-Sun that the NGK F1 powerboat event was the key component in securing a multi-year title sponsorship with Coldwell Banker Heritage Roediger, which pledged a multi-year commitment to include real estate improvements on the grounds. “Through this boat race [connection], we’re gaining this multi-year sponsorship and commitment that is going to yield us a brand-new building and it’s all coming out of the boat race sponsorship.”
 
In a special salute to racing history, one of the Formula One race boats competing over the weekend will be decked-out in graphics from the past – depicting one of the many notable boats from the stables of legendary team owner and local engineering genius, Bill Chatfield. This year, racer Chris Fairchild will don the colors and the number 201 of the late Ken Stevenson, who drove for Chatfield 35 years ago. Dana Potts, promoter of the Springfield F1 Grand Prix, was an employee and crew member for Bill Chatfield, a technology innovator who owned the machine shop “Micro Enterprises” across the street from the lake.
 
“We tend to forget our history and how special it all was,” Potts explained, mentioning that during the late 1980’s and 1990’s, Chatfield was flying his racers from all over -- including Europe -- to test boats at their private lake, which was recently renamed “Lake at Champions Park”. Mercury engineers came in from Wisconsin. Chatfield’s drivers, including superstars Ken Stevenson, Mark Trotter, Chris Bush, Ben Robertson, Jr., Don Johnston and Rusty Campbell, put in many hours of test time on this lake. “Literally, they’d test and never get out of the boat. We’d switch props and switch motors and none of the drivers got out of the boats the whole day,” Potts added.
 
During race weekend, a number of famous drivers from past as well as other dignitaries, are expected to make an appearance at “Wake the Lake”, including long time boat racing sponsor, Bob Thompson of the legendary “Just Add Water” racing team. Thompson was the sponsor of the late tunnel boat ace, Ken Stevenson. Stevenson’s son, Brandon, who will also be attending the weekend festivities, was just 7 years old when his father lost his life in a race in 1983, and subsequently stopped coming to the races. There is expected to be an emotional reintroduction when Brandon Stevenson and Bob Thompson reunite after 35 long years.
 
Along with the lightning fast race boats, dignitaries and all the festivities, there are even more delights for the fans at “Wake the Lake”. A Jumbotron screen will be in view of the spectators, as well as a boat parade, concert, food vendors and even an opportunity to camp on-site or tailgate with your friends. Visit http://www.springfieldf1grandprix.com/ to make your reservations and get more information.
 
After the Springfield event, only one race will remain on the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship schedule for 2018; the final race in Orange, TX in September.
 

2018 The NGK Spark Plugs Formula One Powerboat Championship Racing Schedule:

May 4-6 Port Neches, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
June 1-3 Gulfport, FL - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull
June 15-16 Nashville, TN - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
Aug. 3-5 Pittsburgh, PA - F1, F-Light
Aug. 10-12 Springfield, OH - F1, F-Light
Sept. 14-16 Orange, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
 
Greenlight TV will film the NGK Spark Plugs F1 racing action all season long, producing six 30-minute shows airing on CBS Sports Network. The “Wake the Lake” Springfield F1 Grand Prix will air on August 29th at 7:30 pm Central and repeats at 10:30 pm Central. Follow the series on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NGKF1PowerboatChampionship and watch the Live Feed of the F1 Final on Sunday at approximately 3:00 pm EST or visit NGKF1.com for further information about the NGK F1 Series.
 
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship is ecstatic to have the strong commitment of title sponsor, NGK Spark Plugs - The Ignition Specialist. Since 1936, NGK Spark Plugs has been the world leader in technology, innovation, and world-class quality in the design of spark plugs and oxygen sensors. Today, NGK manufactures NGK Spark Plugs and NTK Oxygen Sensors for virtually every automotive manufacturer in the world.
 
NGK has built a reputation for quality and reliability, and a commitment to excellence continues to be the driving force behind the company’s advanced research and development programs. In North America, NGK is headquartered in Wixom, MI and maintains manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities in Irvine, CA, Sissonville, WV, and Chicago, IL.
 
For more information about NGK Spark Plugs, (U.S.A), Inc., please visit our website www.ngksparkplugs.com.

NGK f1 Powerboat Championship Pittsburgh

NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship Race 4, Pittsburgh, PA 41st EQT Three Rivers Regatta

The 4th round of the NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championships will bring world class racing to the Pittsburgh EQT Three Rivers Regatta Aug 3-5, 2018
 
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship, now midway through the 2018 season, is set to bring its eminent fleet of high flying racing hulls to Pittsburgh, PA over the weekend of Aug 3-5, 2018 for the 41st EQT Three Rivers Regatta and festival. The Formula 1 boats, reaching speeds of 120+ mph, as well as the smaller 75 mph Formula Lights boats, will be streaking across the Allegheny River during the popular three-day festival.
 
The adrenaline-packed event is free to the public and is expected to attract approximately 600,000 reveling attendees to Point State Park over the course of the weekend. The EQT Three Rivers Regatta is the largest inland regatta in the United States and has captivated throngs of jubilant fans for over four decades. These fans will be gathered along the Allegheny River shoreline, where the entire family will find ample entertainment with the combination of boat racing, music, food, fireworks and family fun.
 
The prestige and history of Formula 1 racing at The EQT Three Rivers Regatta began 36 years ago in 1982, when this event became the very first race in the United States for Formula One race boats. At that inaugural race, British driver Roger Jenkins – who would go on to become the 1982 F1 Powerboat World Champion -- won the prestigious Three Rivers Regatta Trophy ahead of Italian racing legend, Renato “The Maestro” Molinari, a driver who eventually earned a total of 18 World Championships during his famed racing career.
 
The 2018 NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship series has completed three rounds thus far: Port Neches, TX; Gulfport, FL and Nashville, TN. The circuit will arrive at its fourth stop in Pittsburgh, PA with racer #20 Ashton Rinker of Riverview, Florida sitting at the top of the Formula 1 leaderboard with 718.5 points, just a mere 7.5 points ahead of #2 Tracy Hawkins of Willis, Texas who slipped past Rinker for a 2nd place photo-finish at the previous Nashville race. Talented driver Rinker will be hoping to make his fourth podium appearance in four races! #24 Spencer Love of California, who won in the rough seas of the very challenging Gulfport, FL event, sits in third spot with 663 points.
 
2018 has produced some of the most intense racing competition this sport has ever seen, with all of the NGK F1 classes seeing multiple winners – including three different Formula 1 Final winners in three races, and six different heat winners in seven heat races!
 
In Formula Lights class, all eyes will be on opening round winner, #8 Jeremiah Mayo of Richmond, TX who also leads the points chase with 669 points. But hot on his heels will be #40, Austin Cheatham of Hempstead, TX with 586 points, and newcomer, #1 Kelly Ireland of California with 535 points, who won the Formula Lights Final in Gulfport. Just as in the F1 category, the competition in Formula Lights is just as fierce as there have been 5 different winners taking victory in six heat races!
 
The boat racing is conducted by S.P.O.R.T. (Southern Professional Outboard Racing Tour) sanctioned by the APBA (American Powerboat Association) in cooperation with LionHeart Event Group of Pittsburgh, a full-service event management and production company that specializes in outdoor festivals concerts, sponsorship activation, and signature events.
 
The EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, Inc is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organized for the purpose of developing and maintaining programs and projects devoted to water safety, recreation and enhancing public usage of the rivers and waterways of Western Pennsylvania.
 
For the EQT Three Rivers Regatta race schedule and general festival information, visit: http://yougottaregatta.org
Greenlight TV will film the NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship racing action all season long, producing six 30-minute shows airing on CBS Sports Network. Full coverage of the races will also stream live from the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Facebook page.
 
CBS Sports Network will be airing the Race 4 from Pittsburgh, PA on Wednesday, August 22 at 7:30 and 10:30 Eastern Time. Please check you local listings for complete information.
 
For further information on the NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship and schedules for all of the Races and the CBS Sports Network TV Show, visit http://www.ngkf1.com or follow the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/NGKF1PowerboatChampionship
 

2018 The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship Racing Schedule:

May 4-6 Port Neches, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
June 1-3 Gulfport, FL - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull
June 15-16 Nashville, TN - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
Aug. 3-5 Pittsburgh, PA - F1, F-Light
Aug. 10-12 Springfield, OH - F1, F-Light
Sept. 14-16 Orange, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
 
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship is delighted to have the strong commitment of title sponsor, NGK Spark Plugs - The Ignition Specialist. Since 1936, NGK Spark Plugs has been the world leader in technology, innovation, and world-class quality in the design of spark plugs and oxygen sensors. Today, NGK manufactures NGK Spark Plugs and NTK Oxygen Sensors for virtually every automotive manufacturer in the world.
 
NGK has built a reputation for quality and reliability, and a commitment to excellence continues to be the driving force behind the company’s advanced research and development programs.
 
In North America, NGK is headquartered in Wixom, MI and maintains manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities in Irvine, CA, Sissonville, WV, and Chicago, IL.
 
 
 
 
2018 NGK F1 PC - Nashvile-PR Banner

2018 Nashville “Thunder on the Cumberland” Press Release

 
NGK F1 POWERBOAT CHAMPIONSHIP·MONDAY, JUNE 11, 2018
Follow the NGK Spark Plugs Formula One Powerboat Championship to Nashville, Tennessee on Father’s Day weekend, Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, 2018, for the 3rd Annual “Thunder on the Cumberland” and witness what it’s like to watch more than twenty 250hp race boats turn into a fleet of rockets and sprint from 0 to 100 mph in 5 seconds!
Fans will gather at Riverfront Park on Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, TN to witness the 120+ mph, deck-to-deck boat racing action on the tight Cumberland River course, while enjoying food, family-friendly attractions, cold drinks, and more. The high banks of Riverfront Park and the nearby pedestrian bridge create an ideal location to capture a 360-degree view of all the racing action.
 
Along with the celebrated Formula One racing hulls, the event will feature Tri-Hull, Formula Lights and J Hydro rockets to thrill the crowd.
 
Organizers are hoping Mother Nature will be a little kinder to the drivers in 2018 after last year’s rains forced racers to dodge floating debris and wrestle the swift currents. Organizers expect more than 50 race boats to roll into Nashville, with 21 of those being in the fastest class; Formula One. Seven different winners have made an appearance on the podium in the first two races of the 2018 NGK Spark Plugs Championship. So far, we have not seen any repeat winners but will this trend end in Nashville? The competition this season has been intense, with a number of drivers running so close that only 38 points separate the top three F1 drivers in the Series’ points chase.
 
The racing retirement of last year’s winner and 2017 NGK F1 series champion, Terry Rinker, means the door is now wide open for a brand-new Nashville champion in Formula One. Current NGK Series leader, #24 Spencer Love of California, is fresh off his June 3rd victory at Gulfport, FL, and is ready to repeat that win at Nashville. Another California driver, #53 Greg Foster, who was runner-up at Gulfport despite a number of mechanical malfunctions, is hungry for a win and no doubt will be putting pressure on Love for that top spot.
 
#20 Ashton Rinker of Riverview, FL – son of last year’s Nashville winner – currently sits in 2nd place in the points chase by a margin of only 12.5 behind Love. A Nashville win for Rinker could easily put him back on top.
Other racers to watch:
 
Four-time National Champion and winner of the first NGK F1 race of 2018, #24 Tracy Hawkins from Willis, TX, will bring his bright purple and yellow Seebold hull to the Cumberland, hoping all the mechanical gremlins he experienced in Gulfport have been resolved. Hawkins, also known as “T-Hawk”, is a mentor for some of the younger Texas drivers, including #4 Wesley Cheatham, who sits 4th in the series point standings.
 
Rivals:
In the Formula One class, Nashville’s own #57 David McMurray, the owner of Nashville Marine, and his good friend, #53 John Edde, are fierce competitors on the course and are coming to Nashville to push each other and climb the ranks in F1. But after the race boats are put back on their trailers, these two drivers become best friends once again, helping each other so they can run their best. Edde and McMurray both have decades of experience in the world of fast boats but are relatively new to Formula One.
 
In the Formula Lights class, points leader #8 Jeremiah Mayo, the Round #1 Port Neches, TX winner, is currently dominating the points leaderboard by more than 100 points after his second-place victory in the turbulent surf at Gulfport. Hoping to narrow that gap is #40 Austin Cheatham of Texas, who endured a grueling Gulfport race, crashing in the 3rd heat, then patching the boat back together well enough to cinch 3rd place in the final. Cheatham sits in second place in the points chase.
 
Rookie driver, #13 Grant Schubert, finished 6th in Port Neches, TX and 5th in Gulfport, FL, but has been methodically collecting valuable points at each of the events, and now sits in third position in total point standings.
Two brand new female racers from different parts of the country have joined the Formula Light class in 2018; #01 Kelly Ireland from California and #45 Debby Mobley of Kentucky. Kelly Ireland, a former champion ski-racer and teammate of F1 driver, Greg Foster, surprised the contingent at Gulfport and revved up the Girl Power to take first place, which was her first ever victory. Mobley, who enjoys an assortment of rugged outdoor sports when she isn’t racing, has teamed up with long-time friend, F1 driver John Edde, and will be piloting her bright orange racing craft in only her second race. Tri Hull – less than 6 points separates the top two drivers. We have had 5 different heat race winners out of 7 heats.
 
In the Tri-Hull class at Gulfport, it was a “Team Rinker Boat World” sweep, where fans witnessed #52 Chris Rinker work hard to chase down the leader -- his 73 year old father, “Scary” Jerry Rinker in boat #10 -- who held on tight in the wild water to take second. Finishing behind the Rinkers in third place was their teammate, #110 Darryle Middleton. Jeremiah Mayo in boat #8, who won the season opener, will be on hand in Nashville to try and spoil all the Rinker fun.
"Thunder on the Cumberland” fans will also get a chance to watch the youngest boat racers in the country in the J Hydro class. This entry level class features competitive kids – some as young as nine years old – who are just as serious and competitive on the race course as their Formula One mentors. Watch for #16 Jack Schubert who placed 2nd in 2017 and who is the cousin of last year’s Nashville J Hydro champ, Natalie Schubert and younger brother of Formula Lights driver, Grant Schubert.
 
Greenlight TV will film the NGK Spark Plugs racing action all season long, producing six 30-minute shows airing on CBS Sports Network. Watch the “The Gulfport Grand Prix” highlight reel on the CBS Sports Network on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 8:30 PM ET, and the repeat show at 11:30 PM ET. The “Thunder on the Cumberland” show will air on Wednesday, July 11th at 7:30 and 11:30pm Eastern.
 
Follow the series on Facebook at; https://www.facebook.com/NGKF1PowerboatChampionship and watch the exciting LIVE Stream from Nashville’s “Thunder on the Cumberland” on Saturday, June 16th at approximately 1:00pm and 4:00pm Central. Times may vary somewhat, due to unforeseen race course situations at the time of the LIVE broadcast.
 
Visit NGKF1.com for further information about the NGK F1 Series.
 
2018 The NGK Spark Plugs Formula One Powerboat Championship Racing Schedule:
 
May 4-6 Port Neches, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
June 1-3 Gulfport, FL - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull
June 15-16 Nashville, TN - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
Aug. 3-5 Pittsburgh, PA - F1, F-Light
Aug. 10-12 Springfield, OH - F1, F-Light
Sept. 14-16 Orange, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
 
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship is ecstatic to have the strong commitment of title sponsor, NGK Spark Plugs - The Ignition Specialist. Since 1936, NGK Spark Plugs has been the world leader in technology, innovation, and world-class quality in the design of spark plugs and oxygen sensors. Today, NGK manufactures NGK Spark Plugs and NTK Oxygen Sensors for virtually every automotive manufacturer in the world.
 
NGK has built a reputation for quality and reliability, and a commitment to excellence continues to be the driving force behind the company’s advanced research and development programs.
 
In North America, NGK is headquartered in Wixom, MI and maintains manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities in Irvine, CA, Sissonville, WV, and Chicago, IL.
 
For more information about NGK Spark Plugs, (U.S.A), Inc., please visit our website www.ngksparkplugs.com.
 
 
 
NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Gulfport Grand Prix

NGK Spark Plugs Formula One Powerboat Championship is heading to Gulfport, Florida for Race 2

 
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula One Powerboat Championship is heading to Gulfport, Florida on June 1-3, 2018 for its second stop of the season at Boca Ciega Bay and the 2nd Annual Gulfport Grand Prix. Boat racing fans will feel their hearts literally skip beats as they watch these world class, 17-foot, 120-mph Formula 1 boats blast away from the dock at a lightning quick 0 to 100 mph in 3.5 seconds!
 
These sleek Formula 1 boats will be joined by two other racing classes that guarantee to fill two solid days of racing with speed and fun. Fans also will enjoy the jouncing Tri-Hulls and the mini Formula Light rockets. More than 45 racers attended the 2017 Gulfport Grand Prix while officials are expecting that number to be even higher this year.
On Thursday, children from St. Petersburg’s John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the St. Petersburg Police Athletic League, will be assisted by professional Formula 1 boat racers to compete in their own remote-controlled boat race. They will then get an opportunity to sit in one of the actual race boats! Afterward, O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille will treat these special racers and their families to lunch in the park.
 
The Gulfport Grand Prix, in cooperation with the City of Gulfport, is FREE for spectators and will allow fans to get a close-up view of the race boats in the pit areas. Attendees will also find free parking shuttles as well as valet parking for $12 per day. Boat show and vendor booths will line Shore Blvd. South and Beach Blvd., centered around the Gulfport Recreation Center, opening at noon on Friday, June 1st at the same time as the NGK F1 race pit set-up.
 
Special VIP tickets for two days of prime seating, drinks and lunch are on sale at O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille for just $45. Proceeds will benefit the Michael J. Yakes Foundation (www.mygulfportfoundation.org), a local non-profit organization whose mission is to help underprivileged children and seniors in the Gulfport, Florida area.
 
Racers from all corners of the continent will spend two full days competing in preliminary races, vying for the final crowning of victory on Sunday afternoon, June 3rd. Florida fans will have the opportunity to cheer several Florida stars, including hard-driving Ashton Rinker #20 of Riverview, FL, the brother of last years’ Gulfport Grand Prix champion, Rob Rinker #30, and the son of 2017 NGK F1 Champion, Terry Rinker #10 of Riverview, FL who decided 2017 was his year to retire from boat racing after a dazzling championship-filled career of over three decades.
 
Other Florida Formula 1 drivers expected to be on the entry list: Fred Durr #96 of Port Charlotte, Tom Ludwig #81 of St. Petersburg, and hometown racer, Bill Joule #38 of Gulfport, who was instrumental in helping to establish the inaugural Gulfport Grand Prix.
 
Round 1 of the 2018 Series was hosted May 4-6 in Port Neches, TX. Ashton Rinker #20, will arrive at Round 2 in Gulfport leading the championship points standings, despite seeing strong contenders, Tracy Hawkins #2, scoring the final victory in Port Neches and Greg Foster #53, who earned the pole position from the newly introduced Timed qualifying sessions.
 
The exciting racing from Port Neches included double wins by 17-year-old racing sensation, #8 Jeremiah Mayo of Richmond, Texas, who outran every racer in two different boat racing categories, taking the victory in the Tri-Hull class as well as Formula Lights. The J Hydro Class was won by Jack Schubert in his very first victory in an NGK Series Final.
Greenlight TV will film the NGK Spark Plugs racing action all season long, producing six 30-minute shows to be aired on CBS Sports Network. The racing action from Port Neches, TX will air on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 7:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST and the Gulfport Grand Prix will air on Wednesday June 20, 2018 at 8:30 PM ET and 11:30 PM EST.
Watch for The Gulfport Grand Prix to be Live Streamed on the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Facebook page on Sunday, June 3rd.
 
For more information about the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship, visit the series’ website at www.ngkf1.com. To learn more about the activities at the Gulfport Grand Prix visit www.gulfportgrandprix.com.
2018 The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship Schedule:
May 4-6 Port Neches, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro http://pnriverfest.com/
June 1-3 Gulfport, FL - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull
June 15-16 Nashville, TN - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
Aug. 3-5 Pittsburgh, PA - F1, F-Light
Aug. 10-12 Springfield, OH - F1, F-Light
Sept. 14-16 Orange, TX - F1, F-Light, Tri Hull, J-Hydro
 
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship is ecstatic to have the strong commitment of title sponsor, NGK Spark Plugs - The Ignition Specialist. Since 1936, NGK Spark Plugs has been the world leader in technology, innovation, and world-class quality in the design of spark plugs and oxygen sensors. Today, NGK manufactures NGK Spark Plugs and NTK Oxygen Sensors for virtually every automotive manufacturer in the world.
 
NGK has built a reputation for quality and reliability, and a commitment to excellence continues to be the driving force behind the company’s advanced research and development programs. In North America, NGK is headquartered in Wixom, MI and maintains manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities in Irvine, CA, Sissonville, WV, and Chicago, IL.
For more information about NGK Spark Plugs, (U.S.A), Inc., please visit our website www.ngksparkplugs.com.
 
 
NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Port Neches 2018 Page Banner
NGK F1 Powerboat Championship 1st Race of 2018 at the Port Neches, Texas Riverfest
 
 

Port Neches, Texas - The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship Series is kicking off the 2018 season by bringing dozens of lightning-fast powerboats to southeast Texas May 4th through 6th. The “Thunder on the Neches” powerboat race will be held at the Port Neches City Park as part of RiverFest, a five-day festival that promises something for every member of the family, including live music, games, car and motorcycle shows, and a spectacular fireworks display.

With the retirement of the 2017 NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Champion #10 Terry Rinker, there is a big opportunity for racers to cinch the podium’s top spot. Among them are #3 Dustin Terry and Texas native, #4 Wesley Cheatham, who each placed second and third at Port Neches last year.

In addition to Formula 1 racing, fans will see racing action from Formula Lights, the wave crashing Tri-Hulls and the daring J Hydroplanes, a class designed for junior drivers. The 2017 NGK Spark Plugs Formula Lights Champion #6 Mark Schmerbauch, is expected to return and defend his place on the podium against last year’s Port Neches runner-up, #93 RJ West. In Tri-Hulls, Port Neches’ own #00 Hunter Barber, will also be returning to defend his Port Neches championship title.

Thunder on the Neches 2018 will see the introduction of the series’ new timing sessions. This new method will determine the starting positions for the weekend’s first qualifying heats by dividing racers into timing groups of 4-7 boats, running for approximately 8 minutes, with lap times automatically recorded. When all groups have completed their timing sessions, the boats with the shortest times will be granted the most advantageous starting position in the first heat.

The first race of the season is extremely important to the racers, as Driver RJ West explained in The Beaumont Enterprise, "This race is usually the first big event we have [so] we use it like a measuring stick…We're off all winter and we put our work in, but we don't really know where everyone else is at, or what they've done."

Greenlight TV will film the NGK Spark Plugs F1 racing action all season, producing six 30-minute episodes for air on the CBS Sports Network. CBS Sports Network will air the final races on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 7:00 and 10:00 PM ET. Full coverage of the races will also stream live from the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Facebook page.

Since 1936, NGK Spark Plugs has been the world leader in technology, innovation, and world-class quality in the design of spark plugs and oxygen sensors. Today, NGK manufactures NGK Spark Plugs and NTK Oxygen Sensors for virtually every automotive manufacturer in the world.

NGK has built a reputation for quality and reliability, and a commitment to excellence continues to be the driving force behind the company’s advanced research and development programs. With state-of-the-art manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities, NGK provides customers with world-class products and services.

In addition to serving OE automotive and aftermarket customers, NGK also produces spark plugs for motorcycle, power sports, marine and small engine manufacturers. NGK also offers complementary product lines including resistor caps, spark plug wires, and high-performance cables.

In North America, NGK is headquartered in Wixom, MI and maintains manufacturing, inventory, and distribution facilities in Irvine, CA, Sissonville, WV, and Chicago, IL. For more information about NGK Spark Plugs, (U.S.A), Inc., please visit our website www.ngksparkplugs.com.

Our Mission:
"We improve life through the environmentally responsible manufacture and precise application of advanced ceramic technologies for all of North America.  Focused on innovation and teamwork, we contribute to local and global economic growth by matching our products to our customers' visions each day, exceeding their expectations in quality, value, service and performance."

 
NGK F1 2018 Press Release
 
OSAGE BEACH, MO - The NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship roars into 2018 by solidifying a two-year commitment from title sponsor, NGK Spark Plugs,. NGK’s commitment comes after witnessing the outstanding racing and successful season during the series inaugural year in 2017.
 
Along with the renewal of the title sponsorship, six action-packed weekends of racing and a significantly expanded reach in both television and live-streaming, the NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship is starting 2018 with a bang.
Mike Schwab, Sr. Vice President of Aftermarket NGK Spark Plugs, said “we are excited to commit to sponsoring this racing series that showcases some of the most competitive drivers racing under the NGK banner. NGK is committed to continuing with the F1 Powerboat Championship racing series and we are really excited for the great season ahead ”
Tim Seebold, NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship Series Manager, says “race teams and sponsors are very excited about 2018 and the broad exposure this new contract will provide for their racing programs. We are extremely excited to announce that our partnership with Greenlight TV and CBS Sports Network will run concurrent with our NGK contract for the next two years with an optional third year.”
 
Adding live-streaming to the NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship Series will capture countless new fans who will now be able to follow the series events live action, even though the locations may be far from their homes. Series Manager, Seebold, added, “We are doubling our television footprint with additional cameras and expanding the series to six episodes. Each of our six race rounds will be featured on their own half-hour show, highlighting the weekend’s intense F1 action. Additionally, we will be bringing the adrenaline-filled F1 excitement to our fans via live-streaming, through our partner Greenlight.
 
 
As the NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship looks ahead to the fast approaching 2018 season, the drivers and teams are growing restless to hit the water for another fantastic season of high-energy competition. According to Series Manager, Tim Seebold, "The Series is always thrilled to return to the shores belonging to our most loyal race fans, who await the excitement they know they'll experience from our highly competitive, adrenaline-charged racing."
Get more information on the exciting NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship by visiting www.ngkf1.com, or follow NGK F1 Powerboat Championship on Facebook.