STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
FORT WORTH — Dylan Crownover completed his rookie season as a drag boat racer by winning the ultimate honor: the David Skalicky Memorial Award for Flatbottom Driver of the Year presented by the Southern Drag Boat Association. Crownover received the award Feb. 24.
“It’s something I wanted when I got in the boat,” he said about the award. “It’s not in the pro class. It goes to who drives the boat the best, who has the cleanest sets, who does the best in competition. It’s about how you drive the boat.”
Crownover won three drag boat races and finished second in two others in 2017. He came in first in Wheatland, Missouri, at the World Finals in Chandler, Arizona, and at LakeFest in Marble Falls last August. He was second in races in San Angelo and Paris, Texas.
Flatbottom boats are just that – their bottoms are flat. Drivers use a down pedal in launches, turning, and decelerating.
It’s a delicate balance because of the pedals, which must work together to get the boat to top speed while it rises, Crownover said. If the boat rises too much, there’s a chance it will flip. The boat knows exactly how far to rise, and the driver is experienced enough to understand his vehicle’s limitations.
Crownover credits his dad, Marcus Kinsey, for teaching him how to drive the boat. Kinsey competes in the Top Alcohol Flat classification.
The added joy of winning the award for Crownover is that it is named after Skalicky, a drag boat racer against whom Kinsey had competed. Skalicky of Crockett died at the age of 31 from injuries suffered in a drag boat competition in Oklahoma City in 2005.
“My dad was the last person to race that guy in a boat,” Crownover said. “It brought tears to a lot of people, especially my mom (Shawna Kinsey).”
Crownover, who also plays football and baseball for Marble Falls High School, noted that receiving the honor has boosted his confidence and given him more reason to keep doing well in the racing sport.
“It gives you something you get to uphold,” he said. “I want to better myself.”
Crownover will begin his second competitive season at a race in Waco on April 23-25.