NASCAR on the Lake Hampered by High Winds

Two days of high winds might have hurt Lake Hollingsworth’s reputation as a record-maker, but it didn’t appear to matter to spectators who came out to watch “NASCAR on the lake.”

Despite the high winds, fans and racers still flocked to the “Lake of Records.” However, the program for the 79th Orange Cup Regatta was cut dramatically due to the white-cap creating winds. The power of Mother Nature limited the competitors to six races on Saturday – instead of the scheduled 15 – while capping Sunday at five races.

Orange Cup Inside Track

“It tears at you, everybody came a long way, we all want to race, but we don’t want to end our season the very first race of the year,” said David Shaw, a race referee and risk manager, to The Lakeland Ledger. “And gusty winds are really the worst…at 115 mph in a 700 pound boat, they tend to take off. They’re like driving a Frisbee on a good day.”

The regatta is considered Polk County’s second-longest running sports event, with the first regatta held in 1933. It is always held the first weekend in March, come rain, shine – or wind. Being the first contest of the American Power Boating Association season, the Orange Cup Regatta is always highly anticipated and well attended, both by fans and racers.