It's where the excitement begins: the Shootout starting line. Boats need a "running start" in order to hit their best speed on the 3/4-mile course, so as long as they stay under 40 mph, racers get the green flag and go!
Dave Southern's race was especially memorable for the crew aboard the start boat: his rooster tail soaked them as he sped away from the starting line. (see photo below)
(photography by Jeff Helmkamp -- all photos copyright protected -- for high-res versions, contact email@example.com)