The J&D’s presents Reliable Diamond Tools unlimited hydroplane, based in Edmonds, has announced a change in drivers for the remainder of the season, starting next week at The Columbia Cup in Kennewick.
The new driver will be Jamie Nilsen, 34, out of Fife. Nilsen who works as a financial analysis for the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, has limited unlimited driving experience but is well versed in hydroplane racing, having won several championships in other classes.
Nilsen replaces Tom Thompson, who has driven the hydroplane since 2013. The team’s press release announcing the change did not go into specifics about the reason for the change but it thanked Thompson for his efforts over the past six seasons and wished him well.
Thompson, in a Twitter post, said the change was not his decision and that the team decided to make the change both for financial reasons and to improve performance. Thompson lives in Maryland and so it can be a logistical challenge to work and test for the team when he live across the country.
Owner Scott Raney chose not to elaborate more on the change and referred to the team’s press release. He said the team has much work to do before next week’s race in order to redesign the cockpit of the bost to fit Nielsen.
The team heads off Thursday for the race in Kennewick.
— By Harry Gatjens