Hydroplane racing’s first female crew chief in modern era testing in Tri-Cities

Hydroplane racing’s first female crew chief in modern era testing in Tri-Cities

History is being made at this season’s H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series.

Washington resident Cindy Shirley will lead the Miss HomeStreet team as the first female crew chief in the modern, turbine-powered era of hydroplane racing.

“I’m looking forward to getting started,” said Shirley. “I’m also, I have to say, just a little bit nervous about it.”

Shirley has been with the team for 15 years, helping them win the national championship last year. She most recently served as the boat chief, and this will be her first season serving as crew chief.

“It’s my job to organize,” she said.

Shirley will also continue her other past duties that include taking care of the boat’s safety equipment and batteries and talking the driver in and out of the pit area.

Originally from Kentucky, Shirley got into boat racing because of her family. She now lives in Everett, Washington, and when she isn’t working with the team, she serves as the director of the office of research at the University of Washington Bothell.

“I have some of my largest deadlines at the end of July,” she said. “Leading up to this race it will be a crazy time.”

Shirley and her team arrived in Tri-Cities this week. They are one of four teams that will be conducting preseason testing on Friday at Columbia Park.

“The boat’s ready, I think the crew’s ready, I’m excited to get everyone back together because we don’t necessarily see each other all winter,” said Shirley.

The 2018 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series kicks off June 22-22 with “The Race for the Southern Cup” in Guntersville, Alabama. The HAPO Columbia Cup in Kennewick is July 27-29.