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It was a steady start to the campaign for the pair as they recorded a fifth and two fourth-place finishes in the opening round of this year’s series in St Cloud.
Frank & Al’s Pizza moved up the table further when racing moved north to Jacksonville for the second race weekend despite an inconsistent run of results. The five-race weekend saw them finish third in race one, sixth next time out before claiming second in race three. A spot in seventh was quickly forgotten in the weekend’s final race as they picked up their first race win of the series.
St Pete Beach saw the pair reach new heights as they came out on top after notching up two wins from four races to take a comfortable lead for the weekend and take control of the championship standings after three rounds.
They suffered a penalty in the final race that demoted them to sixth but it was more than enough to keep them on top after Visit Jacksonville were forced to sit out Sunday’s racing because of a mechanical issue.
The shores of Sarasota saw Frank & Al’s Pizza end the weekend in third and their lead at the top of the table was cut courtesy of a clean sweep of wins by Spectre. Fifth in the first race was followed by fourth in race two and third in the final encounter of the weekend helped maintain their place at the top despite the pressure.
It was an enthralling and nervous end to the US Championships as the team ended the series level on 299 points with Spectre following round five in Islamorada.
Heading into the weekend’s racing Frank & Al’s Pizza were top of the standings while Spectre were 20 points behind in fourth, but four wins from five races vaulted the latter up the standings and within touching distance of the Championship win.
Finishes in second, fourth and fifth along with twice in third maintained they continued to put points on the board and, despite Spectre’s miraculous fightback, claim their first US title having completed more races.
“We feel great about the end result, of course, but we've got a lot of room for improvement,” Tony explained when reflecting on the series.
“The season wasn't without some hiccups and we're working to correct those to remain the most consistently winning team in P1. This season we focused on communication and consistency and we intend to keep building on what we've learned.
The 2017 series was Frank & Al’s second term in the SuperStock championships while also racing in the NEXA P1 Powerboat Indian Grand Prix of the Seas when they finished 11th twice and recording a DNS. With a relatively small amount of experience compared to the field and a frustrating outing in India makes their achievements in the US series even more impressive.
“We finished the final race assuming that Spectre's domination of the weekend would give them the edge in the points tie,” Iannotta went on to explain.
“We later found out that we were third on the podium for the weekend [in Islamorada], so we made our way to the podium where we were told that our cumulative lap count was the deciding factor in the Championship.
“Being crowned the US Champions not only gave us a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment, but also one of redemption following an extremely challenging experience in India for the NEXA P1 Powerboat Indian Grand Prix of the Seas.”