KENT NARROWS — While all the area drivers at last weekend’s Thunder on the Narrows received plenty of cheers from the hometown fans, one driver in particular was an overwhelming fan favorite — and he didn’t disappoint.
Grasonville’s T.J. Sohn capped Sunday’s races with a second-place finish in the Jersey Speed Skiff, a day after racing in a memorial race named for his father Paul.
“That really meant a lot,” Sohn said of driving in a race honoring his
dad. “It was cool to be a part of that.” Paul Sohn died in a racing
accident in Port Deposit in 2006, a crash T.J. witnessed as he was riding alongside his father in the two-man boat.
Despite the tragic circumstances, T.J. Sohn and his family have continued to race. T.J.’s sister, Brittany, participated in Saturday’s race as a rider in Lap Dancer.
“I knew this is something that I wanted to do,” T.J. Sohn said. “And it’s what he would have wanted me to do.”
Sohn, who is a rising senior at Queen Anne’s County High School, said he was nervous the first time he drove the boat. But he quickly conquered his fear.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought,” Sohn said of his first time at the wheel. “I just got in and took it around slow.”
Mitch Brown, owner of Yellow Jacket, the boat Sohn pilots, said he had a pretty good idea how Sohn conquered his fear.
“As a driver, your fear level has to be suppressed. And he definitely got that from his father,” Brown said.
“These boats can be quite a handful to drive, and he almost has the boat mastered,” Brown continued. “It helps that he spent time as a rider.”
Sohn finished second behind Go’N Skiff’N Crazy, despite starting in the far outside lane.
“I’m on top of the world and am so proud of him,” Brown said. “I have seasoned veterans coming up to me and telling me that he has got ‘it.’”
Sohn was neck and neck with the other racers at the start, but because of the hairpin style first turn had too much distance to make up heading down the backstretch.
“I think I did all right,” Sohn said. “I nailed the start and stayed right up with everyone else.”
Sohn is currently seventh in the American Power Boat Association season point standings, and is still in contention for Rookie of the Year.
“He does exactly what he is told every time,” Brown said. “If he continues he’ll definitely have a good future.”
Other winners on Sunday were: Brandon Kennedy, of Bear, Del., 1.5-Litre Stock; Keith McMullen, of Annapolis, 1-Litre; Chris Oliver, of Stevensville, 2.5-Litre Modified; James Martin, of Norfolk, Va., 5-Litre; Stephen Short, of Raleigh, N.C., National Modified; and Gee McClain, of Cambridge, Pro Stock.
Other top finishers included: James McMullen, of Stevensville, second, 1.5-Litre Stock; James Haley, of Centreville, fourth, 2.5-Litre Stock; Ken McMullen, of Stevensville, second, 5-Litre; and Kenny Walton Jr., of East New Market, third, Pro Stock.