Local business exec’s sideline: powerboat racing champion
December 20, 2014 at 1:09 am
by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor

Jeff Krischano is a business executive living in Elk River who has an interesting second job: champion powerboat racer.

“Currently, power boat racing is my passion and not a full-time job,” said Krischano, who started racing in 2000 and recently was named American Power Boat Association (APBA) season points leader for the second straight year.

“I started boating in my teens after I refurbished my runabout boat, and from there the boats kept getting bigger and faster till something had to give, and that something was moving into racing.”

His team, Pilot Racing, competed in 15 events this year, starting in Florida and Georgia in March, then moving into the Midwest in the summer, and finishing in Minnesota in September, at Detroit Lakes, Champlin, Forest Lake, Crosby and Crane Lake.

Krischano, who grew up in a Detroit suburb and has lived here for 10 years, is managing director of Pilot IT, LLC, an IT and management consulting firm that sponsors his team. They assist large companies with corporate IT software implementations. Local clients include Select Comfort (sleep number bed), Starkey Labs (Hearing aid manufacturer), Restaurant Technologies (RTI, providing oil for fast food chains worldwide) and Stratasys (3D printer manufacturer).

His roles are IT subject matter expert, project manager, management of client relationships, development of new clients, and resource/talent recruitment.

It’s great to get out of the office and race, which he started doing professionally in 2000.

“I saw my first race in Key West Florida and was instantly hooked,” said Krischano. “I went to visit a friend, Pat Dunn, who was in the race. We later raced together for the Hatcher brothers.”

At first he raced in Offshore boats, the ‘cigarette’ style “like you see on Miami Vice,” and Initially he was the throttle man with Voodoo Racing in the APBA offshore class and fans voted his team most popular in the league that year.

In 2003, he joined NHL players Kevin and Derian Hatcher, owners of a team called“Let’s Play Racing.” With Dunn steering and Krischano on the throttle (all other controls), they racked up numerous titles including 2003 APBA Offshore World Championship.

In 2011, he moved into the tunnel class, where the boats resemble Indy cars on water.

“You never really outgrow boat racing. It is a passion,” he explained. “So when I had the chance to move into tunnel boat racing I took it.”

Krischano became a driver for the Pilot Racing team and had immediate success, including Twin City Powerboat Association (TCPBA) rookie of the year in 2011, American Powerboat Racing (APR) Superleague rookie of the year in 2012, and TCPBA driver of the year in 2013 when he captured Central Division North American, and National High Point titles. This year, Krischano collected APBA North East Division, National Title Race, and National High Point crowns.

Asked if he has any favorite rivals he listed Sam Labanco of Chicago, a 25-year veteran and a Hall of Famer in the sport.

The racing circuit is funded by sponsors so races are free for the fans, even at the national level. Fan can come in the pits, see the boats and meet the teams. Crowds range from a few thousand at a local race to 50,000 at a national circuit race.

Married with two kids, Krischano is like most boat racers in the respect that he has other employment, unlike someone like Zimmerman’s Craig Dollansky, who races sprint cars year-round. He said there are boat racers who make a good living at it but it’s also “the type of sport that allows you, even if you are at an elite level, to continue to be part of other business areas.”

For a good look at power boat racing, Krischano recommends a video of a race in Pittsburgh on You Tube:

Filed Under: Jeff Krischano

Complete Article and Photos: http://erstarnews.com/2014/12/20/loc...cing-champion/