The Liquid Voodoo team rolled into Chandler, AZ last weekend to play spoiler, but what they accomplished was so much more. Not only did driver Kebin Kinsley earn his first Lucas Oil Drag Boat Association World Finals trophy in his 40-plus year career, the team also broke the MPH record four times in six runs and put on one of the best winner’s circle celebrations in drag boat racing history.
“We won the biggest drag boat race of the year with Kebin Kinsley driving,” said owner Scott Palmer. “He’s been a friend to me, Tommy Thompson, and Todd Haas for at least 20 years. This boat brought us all together. It’s awesome.”
“I spent a lot of time making sure everything was perfect because I didn’t realize until three weeks before we were leaving that Kebin had never won the World Finals,” added Crew Chief Todd Haas. “Winning the World Finals in a boat is like winning Indy in a car. It’s a big deal. With everything he’s done in boat racing and never won that race, it really made me try harder and think a little bit more to make sure that it was perfect.”
On Friday the CatSpot/Magic Dry sponsored machine came off the trailer running a 3.1973 at 233.14 on the LODBRS 875 foot course. Kinsley had to lift early due to a vibration in the steering, but the early numbers were promising. A shorter rudder fixed the vibration in Q2 and helped get the boat down the track to a new MPH record of 253.42 in 3.2251 seconds. The team was excited, and Kinsley likened the handling of the boat to a Cadillac.
Saturday qualifying brought more MPH records for the Scott Palmer Racing/Tommy Thompson Motorsports team, 257.57 with an E.T. of 3.1857 in Q3, and in Q4 a 3.1939 at 258.04.
“We had a different set of props on for each of the qualifying runs, just running a bunch of old stuff to try and get through the race,” said Haas. “For the boat to go out and set records each run on a different set of props was pretty awesome.”
After qualifying on Saturday, Palmer took his Top Fuel Dragster down the NHRA track and put on a show for the fans. With the blessing of the track officials, but without timing equipment, Scott laid down an awesome 800’ pass under the fiery Arizona sunset.
The four boat field for Sunday eliminations had the #3 qualified Liquid Voodoo paired against #2 Nitro Nuts. Voodoo took the round one win with a blistering 3.1149 at 265.98 MPH, another MPH record. The final round paired Kinsley against his former team, Speed Sports Special. Kebin was able to secure his first ever World Finals victory with a 3.1419 at 264.36 MPH.
“It’s kind of weird to say, but I’ve been coming here since ’78 racing. It was kind of like my Dale Earnhardt Daytona 500. I love this sport, and I’ve sacrificed a lot to get to go do it,” said Kinsley.
This is the first Liquid Voodoo win that Palmer and the dragster crew were present for. Earlier this year, Palmer raced in his first ever NHRA Top Fuel final round at the same facility, and while he didn’t take home the Wally, the celebration was extraordinary. Bobby Lagana whacked the throttle on Palmer’s dragster 11 times that night, and the videos quickly went viral.
The Voodoo crew, which was a mix of the dragster crew and boat crew, was determined to surpass the throttle whack record in the World Finals winner’s circle. After the win, they went back to the pit and serviced the motor for the celebration.
Crew Chief Haas was given the honors, Tom Conway, Tommy Thompson and the crew were nearby, and Palmer made sure Lagana was on Facetime to witness his record being broken. Todd whacked the throttle 12 times, then added one more for good measure, and the crowd went wild.
The Liquid Voodoo Top Fuel Hydro is on display at the CatSpot Litter booth at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, CA this weekend.