Hear the roar? Drag boats exceeding 250 mph on Lake Marble Falls all weekend

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Safety checks takes place in Johnson Park before an entry is ready for LakeFest Drag Boat Races, underway through Sunday, Aug. 13, on Lake Marble Falls. Driver of the entry Nitrochondriac, Bryan Sanders of Houston, left, goes over the list with Matt Schubauer of Lucas Oil, corporate sponsor of the race. Sanders is the driver that pushed to the world elapsed time (ET) record of 3.38 seconds at 268 mph.

Richard Zowie

The Highlander

Bryan Sanders of Houston calls it as “quite a rush” and “hard to describe,” while Daryl Ehrlick of Round Rock says it is “terror and pleasure at the same time.”

Sanders and Ehrlick are drivers in the 2017 LakeFest Drag Boat Races, today through Sunday, Aug. 11-13,

the 26th year of the races. Both will be driving Top Fuel Hydroplane boats. Ehrlick’s is called “Problem Child.”

Sanders’ boat, Nitrochondriac, set the world record of 268 mph and reached 270 mph at a competition in Parker, Arizona. In Marble Falls at a prior year, Nitrochondriac set a record for elapsed time (ET) of 3.38 seconds.

“When you’re going that fast and driving a 10,000-horsepower nitro-methane monster, it throws you back in the seat and tries to put your eyeballs in the back of your head,” Sanders said.

Ehrlick isn’t far behind him, as his boat has reached 265.52 mph.

“It’s honestly hard to describe, since I close my eyes and scream like a little girl the whole time,” said Ehrlick of achieving speeds of three times that of a Major League Baseball fastball. “It’s the most exhilarating thing you can do. “It’s controlled chaos as you hear things shuffle and shake.”

That is why the biggest draw to LakeFest remains the boats. There is nothing like the speed and raw horsepower of a nitro methane Top Fuel machine vaporizing the liquid quarter-mile in 4.7 seconds at more than 250 mph.

The Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing series is a united sport allowing more than 900 teams to run for one national championship as each national event spotlights several pro classes, highlighted by the Top Fuel Hydro class. It’s all about 8,000 horsepower nestled in sleek composite vessels with American-made V8 engines — a form of motorsport that’s as visceral as it is captivating.

Fun for visitors

Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce is the host of the event, transforming Lake Marble Falls into a liquid quarter-mile “racetrack” and turning the banks of the lake into a three-day spectical of speed with plenty of food, drinks, merchandise and vendors to visit between races.

Approximately 100 boats will compete in this event, sponsored by Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series and the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce.

Gates at Lakeside Park open daily at 7 a.m. with the races starting at 9 a.m. Races are expected to end around 3 p.m. each day, though race times are subject to change.

Racing began today, Friday, Aug. 11, with first and second rounds of qualifying. At the 6 p.m. Show n' Shine in Johnson Park, spectators can meet the drivers and see the boats up close, as well as buy official t-shirts and posters for autographs and take photos with the stars of the show. The highlight of the evening comes at dusk as top-fuelers “fire up,” shooting flames out of their exhaust pipes.

The races continue Saturday and finals will start at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13, concluding with ceremonies for awards and prizes of more than $100,000 to the winners.

Outside alcohol, food, drinks, pets, skateboards, umbrellas and canopies are not allowed on festival grounds, although visitors may bring a nine-quart cooler with ice, unopened water and medication. Bags and coolers will be checked by security at the front gate.

Marble Falls LakeFest tickets are on sale for single-day admission, 3-day passes, and Top Eliminator Club. Always-popular Top Eliminator Club passes are — $200 for adults and $95 for children. Weekend passes are $50 for adults and $20 for children. Single-day tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children on Friday. Saturday and Sunday single-day prices are $25 for adults and $10 for children.

Concerts

A little chaos is coming to 2017 LakeFest tonight, Friday, Aug. 11. Red Carpet Chaos performs a free concert at Lakeside Park from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The takes place right there in Johnson Park immediately after the Show N Shine.

Founded in Austin in 2012 and featuring members Danny Smith, Joe Kincaid, David Beeson and Taxi Haskell, Red Carpet Chaos, or RC2, bills itself as a “high-energy hit machine.” With a song list of just under 1,000 songs ranging from songs from the 1950s to today's latest hits, RC2 touches on all genres: rock, country, pop, hip-hop, R&B and dance.

The concert will be open to the public, so a LakeFest wristband is not needed to attend. No outside food or outside beverages will be permitted.

Southern Underground, the popular band that got its start right up the river in Buchanan Dam, performs in Lakeside Park Saturday, Aug. 12, from 6-9 p.m.

See the full schedule at http://www.marblefalls.org/events/2017/lakefest-drag-boat-races

Learn http://lucasoildragboats.com/schedules

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