Don Onken’s American Ethanol, a 51-foot Mystic Powerboat with 9,000 horsepower under the hatch, recorded the fastest time at the 29th Annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout on August 26, earning “Top Gun” honors for the third year in a row. The boat’s crew—Tony Battiato (driver) and John Cosker (throttleman)—managed to complete a 204-mph run, despite the course length being shortened from one mile to 3/4 of a mile. The Shootout is claimed to be the largest unsanctioned boat race in the country.
In response to the victory, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement. “We are extremely proud of the American Ethanol Mystic racing team and the amazing job they continue to do year after year. Earning three first-place finishes in a row is truly an impressive feat that deserves celebration. The team works incredibly hard each year to put the fastest boat it possibly can into these competitions, and their hard work has clearly paid off. They are able to achieve these results while running an E85 ethanol blend in their boat engines, which validates the incredible potential for biofuels in the marine space.”
Onken, owner of the American Ethanol boat, also reflected on the victory.
“I’m very proud of the entire American Ethanol team. From the many people who put in valuable time and effort working on the boat, to Tony Battiato and John Cosker who are consistently breaking 200-mph speeds on the water, everyone on our team plays a role in the success we have had these last few years. Our goal is to always push the envelope to gain more speed on the water, and over the last few years, ethanol has really helped us do that. It burns cooler, which is good for our engines, and it delivers higher horsepower, which comes in handy when you’re trying to find more speed. The Lake of the Ozarks is a beautiful place, and we feel good using ethanol knowing that it’s a cleaner-burning biofuel that’s better for the environment as well as for the water that makes our sport possible. We’re already looking forward to next year’s shootout and seeing what we can do there.”
Vern Gilbert in a 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran ran 182 mph to post the second-fastest speed of the day. The Bad Attitude Boats team of Kelly Kraiss and Ron Gibbs ran 180 mph in Top Cat, a 36-foot Skater. Top pontoon speed went to Brad Rowland with 110-mph blast in Tooned In, a triple-outboard-engine-powered South Bay tri-toon.