Boat racing returned to Irvine for the first time in over 20 years. The Lucal Oil California Classic proudly presented the drag boat racing event from May 3-5 for the inaugural race of the Lucas Oil series.

Boy, did the boats return with a bang. The screams could be heard miles away as the nitro powered boats made their way down the ¼ mile course. Friday ended up being very windy and the conditions were ultimately unsafe for a lot of boats to run their test and tune sessions. The winds were so bad Thursday in fact, a number of the port-o-potties and tents were blown over or severely damaged. Despite this fact, the event started on time mainly because the entire event crew did one fine job putting the “course” back together.

As Saturday rolled around the conditions were a little more favorable but the races had to be stopped a number of times due to gusty wind conditions. The crowds happily welcomed back the drag boat races and although the beers were flowing, the entire weekend went off without a hiccup.

The highlight of the weekend was without a doubt the Top Fuel Hydro class. The 8,000 horsepower monsters compete in the liquid quarter mile at speeds up to 260+ MPH.

There is nothing like starting your day to the smell of nitro and ear deafening horsepower on the beautiful Irvine Lake. The amount of power these boats produce is absolutely insane and you can’t help but smile when every bone in your body rattles as they launch off the start line. Darly Ehrlich working under the support of Eddie Knox Racing and Larry Bless has become one of the most winning drivers in the class. Their “Problem Child” boat unleashed a 260.23 MPH pass on Saturday igniting the crowd and more importantly made him eligible for a new world record.

Although he would fall short on his next passes at 253 and 234 MPH respectively. In order for the record to stand Ehrlich would have had to come within 1% of the top speed from what I understand. “Problem Child” went on to win the event in the TFH class defeating “Tequila Sunrise” for the inaugural trophy.

Unfortunately, in the Top Alcohol Flat class “Dangerous” Dan Rogers went tumbling over in a horrific crash in the 070 boat. The crowd grimaced in horror as the boat ultimately disintegrated upon impact. Fortunately, the capsule detached exactly as it was designed to and Dan only suffered a broken vertebrae and a detached heal. We would all like to wish Dan a very speedy recovery and can’t wait to see him back on the water.
A big congratulations goes out to Tony Scarlata (driver), Tommy Thompson (team owner) and Kevin Felkins (boat owner) for their win in the TAF 535 boat. Tony defeated Chuck Hartsfield in the finals with a time of 5.29 at 151.86 MPH.

If the drag boat event didn’t get your blood pumping the Lucas Oil event also featured a number of circle boat races. A number of ‘k’ boats and cracker box racers showed up to welcome racing back to Irvine.

The windy conditions made for some very interesting racing and might have also been a contributing factor to one cracker box rollover. Fortunately, the P44 guys were all ok thanks to their Lifeline Race Gear. In the ‘k’ boat class driver Robby Devine took the win for team Buck$ Up and owner Tom Buckles.

A BIG thank you goes out to everyone involved in making the Lucas Oil California Classic event at Irvine Lake a reality after so many years away. Overall, it was a very well put together event with great racing and I can’t wait to see them back soon.

Please check the for more results and coverage of this event.