Miss Madison team grieves loss
of Hoover to suicide
Hydro driver Shane dedicates 2018 season
to his friend’s memory
• July 6-8 on the Madison, Ind., riverfront. Features Unlimited hydroplane and limited Grand Prix World race boats, weeklong events with parade July 6 and fireworks July 7. Also a two-day Roostertails Music Festival July 6-7 at Madison Bicentennial Park with 10 bands. Plus free kickoff event Thunder Thursday, July 5, with four bands 5-11 p.m.
• Tickets $20 for racing only; $20 for music only; $35 music and racing all weekend pass.
• (812) 274-0400 or visit www.MadisonRegatta.com
(July 2018) – If you follow Unlimited hydroplane boat racing, you know there’s not a lot of information on the Internet about this sport, compared to other major sports like pro football baseball, basketball, hockey and collegiate sports. But if you search a little harder online, you can find bits and pieces of information about the various race teams and the hard work they do each year to prepare for a new race season at select cities around the country.
But with Facebook, many drivers and teams today have found a way to get information out to their fans, wherever they may be. And when something dramatic happens, the Internet lights up with reactionary comments, photos and videos.
Like when 45-year-old HomeStreet Bank-Miss Madison crew chief Dan Hoover was found dead early Sunday morning Feb. 4 on a road outside of Seattle from an apparent suicide. Hoover was in Seattle helping with the construction of a new race boat for his team. Not surprisingly, the news sent shock waves throughout the H1 Unlimited hydroplane race community.
And perhaps among those most touched by this tragedy was Jimmy Shane, five-time H1 Unlimited National High Points champion who sits atop the sport’s world as driver of the HomeStreet Bank-Miss Madison race boat.
He and Hoover had been together for seven years – a real dynamic duo in this sport that had figured out a way to win in the high stakes, high dollar world of Unlimited boat racing. When Larry Hanson resigned as Miss Madison crew chief just before the 2016 season, Shane lobbied and won his case for hiring his friend Hoover to replace him. Hoover already had spent two seasons with the team doing various jobs.
The rest, as they say, has been history.
Photo courtesy of
HomeStreet Bank-Miss Madison driver Jimmy Shane (left) and with his friend and teammate Dan Hoover in happier times – celebrating one of the team’s four championships.
Shane had already won a National High Points Championship while driving Ted Porter’s U-5 Graham Trucking race boat back in 2013. Hoover was right there, working on the Porter team to plan strategy and preparation for that season. He and Shane bonded that year, and it was a year that Shane never forgot.
Don’t be surprised if he goes out there and wins another title this season – this one dedicated to the memory of a friend.
When Hoover joined the Miss Madison squad in 2014, it was a reunion of sorts for putting together a winning streak that lasted the next four years. With Hoover in the pits and on the radio guiding Shane during races, Shane piloted the Oh Boy! Oberto and later the HomeStreet Bank-sponsored Miss Madison to four consecutive National High Points Champion-ships, stretching from 2014-2017. Shane became the winningest active driver in the sport during that span, now with 16 victories, including three Gold Cups.
So when news arrived about Hoover’s death, Shane sought solace among his Facebook fans. And they responded.
If you go to his Facebook page today, you will see a photo of Shane and Hoover in the left corner. If you scroll down to Feb. 4, the day after the tragic news was announced, you’ll see Shane’s post, followed by more than 300 comments of condolences from race fans, drivers and others involved in the sport from around the country – many from Madison, Ind.
Shane posted: “I have no words and I am hurting a lot right now. Dan was a great leader and a dear friend. I will miss his friendship, and his incredible laugh. Thanks to everyone who has reached out, your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Dan: I love you, I miss you, and racing will never be the same without you. Race in peace my friend.”
Four months ago, Moarly Creative posted online a video tribute to Hoover titled, “In Memory of Dan Hoover.” It can be viewed at www.vimeo.com, and there is a link to it from Shane’s Facebook page.
In the short video, Hoover talks about his love of the sport as photos flash across the screen. “For me, it’s a long-time dream come true,” Hoover says about his role on the winning race team. “I love it. It’s just a lot of fun.”
Hoover continues, “I’ve got a great crew — great group of people. Some of the best people I’ve ever met in the world is from boat racing. To me, it’s the most beautiful motorsports there is. The fact you put something together – all these million of pieces and parts all come together and it goes out there and goes 200 miles an hour. It’s the best job you could have, really.”
Hoover was a soft-spoken man who knew his stuff but enjoyed the behind the scenes role of his position on the team. He was not flashy. He did not seek the limelight, although he was often thrust into it. He liked the work and the success of seeing his team’s hard work pay off on race day.
Hoover’s mother, Sharon, and twin sister, Danielle, live in Richland, Wash., just outside of Seattle. He had been at his mother’s house on Saturday but was not seen again until police found his body early Sunday along the highway.
Hoover grew up in Richland, and after graduating high school convinced John Walters, the Appian Jeronimo boat owner, to hire him onto their Unlimited race team. Three years later after the team folded, Hoover moved to Las Vegas to work on the USA Racing Partners team. In 2005 he moved to Florida and built and tested boats for Mystic Powerboats. By 2010 he was running a marina for the city of Daytona, a job he held for five years. He decided he needed to come back to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to his mother and sister. He returned to H1 Unlimited racing in 2013 with Precision Performance Engineering’s U-5 race team, where he met Shane.
That year, the team won the national championship by winning the season opener Doha and collecting additional wins in Seattle, Coeur and San Diego, edging out Steve David and his U-1 Oberto for the driver and team national high points titles.
As the 2018 race season approached, Shane’s thoughts reverted to his old friend, and he again posted on his Facebook page on June 12: “We are just over a week away from Guntersville, and I can’t help but think about Dan. Very thankful for how our team has stepped up and overcame this incredible loss. But it is hard to think that in a week I go to my first race without Dan in 7 years. Miss you everyday. Racing this year in your honor.”
With four consecutive national championships under his belt driving for the Miss Madison team, Jimmy Shane didn’t need anything to motivate him as he enters yet another race season. But the loss of his close friend and teammate Hoover has given him just that.
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