The Glory And Allure Of The Shootout: What Brings Boat Racers To Lake Of The Ozarks?

Sterling Performance is part of the glory and allure of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. Read the article below to find out more on “Flight Club” and to see how Sterling Performance has enhanced their Lake of the Ozarks Shootout experience.

photo by Pete Boden

First and foremost, it’s the adrenaline rush. That’s the primary reason any racer puts the effort into preparing a boat, getting it to the Lake, registering for the event, waiting hours in line before getting a green flag from the start boat and running his or her boat as hard and fast as possible down the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout course.

The water conditions are usually ideal, the course is closed and safety is a priority.

“The Shootout is by far my favorite event—after mine, of course,” he said then laughed, referring to the early-August Skaterfest event he hosts annually in Harrison Township. “I like all of the socializing that takes place, but it’s not the reason I come. I come to run my boat fast.”

And that’s exactly what he and Coil intend to do in his latest boat, the former Performance Boat Center Skater raceboat that is being re-rigged by Coil and company at PBC with a pair of 1,800-plus-hp motors from Sterling Performance Engines—the same refreshed power plants that propelled his 36-foot Skater to the 2016 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Top Gun Professional Cat title with a 184-mph top speed.

Coil, who knows a thing or two about blasting along the course thanks to a 208-mph top speed alongside Mystic Powerboats owner John Cosker in Don Onken’s American Ethanol 50-foot Mystic that earned Onken the 2015 overall Top Gun trophy, was a key part of multiple-time overall Top Gun champion Dave Scott’s Nauti Marine team before the team merged with Performance Boat Center five years ago.

photo by Jay Nichols

“There’s nothing like this Lake and nothing like the Shootout in my opinion,” Coil said. “It’s incredible that some of the coolest boats on the planet end up here at the Lake. The Shootout gives people the chance to see the latest and greatest products—not to mention participate in all of the other events going on throughout the week. In fact, for many builders, the event has become an important deadline for deliveries.”

Driving down the course at 200-plus mph, a feat accomplished by less than a dozen other people in Shootout history, is definitely at the top of Coil’s favorite Shootout memories. But his most memorable experience was driving a 36-foot Skater with 1,700-hp turbocharged Sterlings with throttleman John Tomlinson.

“That boat had some ungodly amount of horsepower and that pass with JT was my first time in the boat,” Coil recalled. “I remember having to run up to the nose to help get the boat on plane and then rushing back to jump in it before we hit the start box. The boat was a rocket and we reached 195 mph on the old one-mile course. That’s the fastest I’ve ever been in an open-cockpit boat and I’ll never forget it.

“To me that’s what the Shootout is about—big power and extreme speeds,” he added. “It’s the American way, right? Pack as much power as you can into it and make it last as long as you can. You have to have a drag racing mentality more than an offshore racing mentality.”

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