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Krischano wins powerboat race at Regatta

| Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 9:27 p.m.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Powerboat racers Dan Bunting (50) and Jeff Krischano (#58) compete in the finals at the Three Rivers Regatta on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Krischano won the race.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Powerboats take off from the starting point Wednesday, July 3, 2013, on the North Shore in the finals at the Three Rivers Regatta.

Pittsburgh's choppy waters become much easier to navigate with no traffic in front.

Jeff Krischano proved that by keeping the field behind him for a wire-to-wire win in the F3 division of the Powerboat Superleague's North American Championships, part of the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.

Krischano, last year's Superleague F3 Rookie of the Year from Elk River, Minn., qualified first by winning one of the two 10-lap qualifying heats. He turned that position into a first-place finish in the 20-lap race on the Allegheny River with a winning time of 10 minutes, 43.64 seconds.

“This is my second time racing in Pittsburgh and my third year racing tunnel boats,” Krischano said. “We had a third-place finish last year and were happy with that, so to race against the same guys this year and come out on top is a real honor.”

The Allegheny's current and wind along the course, which looped from in front of Heinz Field to the Fort Duquesne Bridge and back, contributed to the rough racing conditions for the F3 boats. The boats usually race at speeds between 80 and 90 mph and are powered by motors with roughly 100 horsepower.

“It was rougher than last year; it really was. I'm really beat up right now,” Krischano said. “Twenty laps is a long race in conditions like this, but this boat really does better over a 15- or 20-lap race. Once we squeaked out the 10-lap qualifiers, we thought the 20 laps would be in our favor, and it turned out to be.”

Mike Hooper of Markham, Ontario, finished second, 1.47 seconds — slightly more than half the length of the home straightaway — behind Krischano. Hooper was the only driver that appeared to have a shot to catch Krischano, but his best opportunity escaped him in the opening turn of the race.

“That was a really good start by me and Jeff,” Hooper said. “We were neck-and-neck coming out of the dock, and that was the closest turn I've ever had in a tunnel boat as far as I can remember. It's good we didn't hit, but we came out clean and both lasted on this rough river.”

The North American Championships continue at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mgrubba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Grubba_Trib.

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