2018 News and Press Releases

 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 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.