Eliminator 28 Daytona - High Profile
Eliminator Boats, Mountain Dew, and Darrell Waltrip Rock this Year's Daytona 500
You would think, it takes nerves of steel and an iron gullet to race door to door at nearly 200 mph on a NASCAR racetrack. Actually, you would be right. It takes that, and something more we can't mention here; but suffice to say, they're spherical. So, how do you make a world-class driver like Darrell Waltrip feel a little uneasy? It's simple. Put him on the water, in the driver seat of an aqua rocket, and head him toward the far end of Lake Lloyd, going more than 100 mph, with no brakes and only a prayer.
Lake Lloyd is the man-made remnants of the hole dug in the infield of Daytona Speedway to provide enough dirt to hike the banking corners towards the sky. Covering barely 29 acres, the lake is a great little spot for small cruising vessels or ski boats, but it's terribly small for anything with speed or too much length. Darrell told us he used to pucker up hoping his car would stop before splashing down into the lake during his racing days. With Waltrip at the wheel of a speedy catamaran and both throttles pinned, the tables were turned as he was now worried about turning in time, to avoid running the speed boat out of the water and up onto Daytona Speedway's paved oval. Nerves of steel? You bet.
The boat we're referring to is none other than the Eliminator 28 Daytona. A Daytona at Daytona? It couldn't be more perfect. During Darrell Waltrip's racing career, he posted some impressive numbers, but it was his partnership with Mountain Dew during the '81 and '82 racing seasons that is being commemorated here. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Darrell's NASCAR championship in '82, Mountain Dew tracked down and found the winning Buick, which had been stashed away in a barn, and he had the car returned to its former glory. The car was displayed during the '07 Daytona 500 race for all to view. Matching the special car, Eliminator boats had The Graphics in Lake Elsinore, California, wrap the 28 Daytona ICC in near-period-perfect green and red stripes. The Graphics even went so far as to reproduce the sponsorship logos featured 25 years ago.
Why was '82 so special, you may ask? Well, it was the year Darrell Waltrip ran the 30-race Winston Cup Series and won. He posted an impressive 12 race victories, with 17 top-five finishes, while riding the pole seven of those 30 races. A total of 9,455 laps were run with Waltrip holding the lead position for almost 33 percent of those at 3,027 laps. During his 20 top- 10 finishes, the now 60-year-old Waltrip ran nearly 10,600 miles of racing in the Winston Cup, alone. Combined with his championship '81 season, Waltrip has statistics that are impressive, even by today's racing standards. Not one to stray far from NASCAR's calling, you'll find him pitting the play-by-plays during racing for FOX Sports.
To some, it may appear odd to use a boat for promoting such a prestigious auto-race series, but there are many similarities. Right off the bat, the race is in Daytona, Florida, at Daytona Speedway, and the boat model is named Daytona, too. Sponsoring companies throughout NASCAR's racing series are also prevalent in offshore racing. And if that weren't enough, further embedding the racing heritage into the viewing audience is the power choice for the Eliminator catamaran. Popping the hatch is an eye-appealing process, as it affords viewing of the twin Ilmor Marine 700hp MV-10 7-10 engines, which were painted in LimeTime Green. It is well known that Ilmor supplies many parts to auto-racing teams and most people are already familiar with the company's name. Delving in a little deeper reveals Ilmor's owner Roger Penske also owns a NASCAR race team. According to Ilmor, the relationship between NASCAR and Eliminator boats is a great way to showcase the company's multi-faceted talents.
Normally, an Eliminator Daytona with twin Ilmor 7-10s could run easily into 145 mph, but due to the need to showcase the boat in such a small area, Eliminator's Bret Seber sought to get the boat set up for short-course action. The boat was allowed to run before and after the race, and required a bit of tweaking to put on a good showing. Out back, the props were swapped to lab-finished Bravo One 15-1/4-x28-inch units hung from IMCO drives to get the boat out of the hole and up on the plane quickly. With no room for error, Bret drew upon his boat-racing heritage to keep the fast-moving boat within the confines of Lake Lloyd without incident. A full assortment of Livorsi equipment kept tabs on the situation during Bret's blasts to glory.
This year marks the third installment in the working relationship between Eliminator boats and Daytona Speedway. It comes as no surprise that all three years featured one of Eliminator's popular Daytona series catamarans. In case you missed it, Kevin Harvick won in a mind-blowing finish that is still being debated today. With nearly 250,000 fans packed into Daytona Speedway, the pre-race show displayed one of NASCAR's living legends riding again. Only this time, with a rooster tail of murky-brown water, known as Lake Lloyd.