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Bonneville Speed Week 2014: 9 Cars Capable Of Smashing The Wheel Driven Record – Here They Are

Bonneville Speed Week 2014: 9 Cars Capable Of Smashing The Wheel Driven Record – Here They Are

Outside of the 100th year anniversary, outside of the pomp and circumstance of the normal Bonneville Speed Week, the 2014 iteration of the event has another edge to it that lots of us are kind of freaking out over. That edge? The fact that there are a multitude of cars coming capable of resetting the wheel driven land speed record and they’re all about as similar as snowflakes. We know as well as anyone else that their performance is largely dictated by the “quality” of the salt. Last year damp salt conditions caused the place to behave like the world’s largest skating rink with a number of spins and aborted runs that rivaled anything that even the hardest core of the old timers had ever seen. We’ve got our fingers crossed for as good a surface as mother nature and the hard working SCTA people can provide, like everyone does. So back to our starry eyed wishful thinking for a moment.

In pouring over the SCTA’s pre-registration list (and understanding that it is a pre-registration list and doesn’t mean that everyone on it is coming) we started looking at cars running in the streamliner classes. Taking into consideration cars classing a lot closer to the start of the alphabet than the end, we came up with 9 machines that have been designed and engineered to run well into the upper regions of the 400mph envelope and a handful that are proudly seeking 500mph as a performance goal. On paper, Chad and I could announce that we have a 500mph car ready to hit the salt with as well. It is meaningless until someone does it, but the fact that there are near DOUBLE DIGIT numbers of cars coming that have either run their way up over 400mph or are set up to do so is incredible. That is a LOT of heavy iron on the salt and each of those teams is showing up with the intention of throwing themselves at the big numbers before the other guys do. Last year we were hoping for a shootout between Speed Demon and the Vesco team but it never materialized. The Flashpoint car ran 382 despite the conditions and the fact it was a new effort, and there were other points of light in there as well. The reality is that when we look at the list of people “coming” it is damned impressive.

You didn’t ask, but we’re going to list off the 9 cars (in no particular order) that have a shot to reset the wheel driven speed record (piston or turbine) at SCTA Bonneville Speed Week 2014 – Here they are:

Flashpoint – Team of Dalton, Jackson, and Mayer


WHY: Went 382 last year in freshman effort. Have mega horsepower with blown hemi on nitro wearing a Darren Mayer supercharger, have stated that the goal is to go 500mph.

WHY NOT: Still pretty new in terms of an LSR car and even on a good surface, can they go another 118mph on top of 382 with a single engine? Some of the old timers weren’t crazy about the uprights and rudder design in rear. 





Speed Demon – Team of Poteet and Main


WHY: If you are asking why, you have not been around this stuff for very long. This car has dominated the headlines for years and continues to today. It has gone 462mph and it is the fastest piston driven car in the world currently. They have Duttweiler horsepower and plenty of it. They have experience, they have made more runs over 400 than anyone. They know others are trying to come for them. 

WHY NOT: There are zero gimmies at this deal and they could have an off year. The surface may not support it. We’re having to reach for lame reasons. These guys are THAT good.




Turbinator II  – Team Vesco


WHY: This is the fastest wheel driven car in the world with a best speed of 470mph. Note we didn’t say RECORD SPEED. That was the fastest speed achieved in Turbinator II. The car came back after 10 years off the salt in 2013 and it was not a smooth week. They have something to prove and they would love nothing more than to win the race to 500mph with turbine power. 

WHY NOT: The huge team worked feverishly for days on end to get the car through tech and when they finally did, the runs did not come near what they hoped in 2013. Confidence is a big factor and this is a team that needs their mojo back after a tough week in 2013. Could time have passed the big land laden missile by?



Carbinite – Team Carbinite


WHY: The entire mission of this project is to exceed 500mph. The design angle of this car is vastly different than any of the others in this elite group. The car ran recently at the USFRA test and tune meet and performed to 278mph with a fuel issue hampering the team after that. 

WHY NOT: Brand new car to the salt. The team is in full thrash mode to get it fully prepared after testing at the USFRA meet, they are running a smaller inch turbo combo which will be working REALLY hard, they have made 1,330hp to the dyno rollers, it would be amazing but exceptionally rare to see a freshman effort take the glory. 



Challenger II – Danny Thompson and cast of thousands


WHY: Sometimes things just take on a life of their own and the adventure that Danny Thompson has been on to complete this car has been amazing to watch. There may be destiny in play here. The car went 317mph at the USFRA meet and both injected, nitro-burning hemi engines performed well. Because you can never count a guy named Thompson out at Bonneville. 

WHY NOT: Virtually brand new car so there will be things that need to be ironed out when the wick is really turned up. Lots of pressure and a bright light being shone on the team at every turn. 




Nish Motorsports – Nish Family Team


WHY: The Car has been 412mph. They are using a Jerry Darien, 521ci injected nitro burning hemi on a 70% load. The car has been somewhat redesigned in the front end for improved aerodynamics. The family has been at this a long time and they are due for a couple of big numbers. 

WHY NOT: The 412mph run was made back in 2010 and since then it has been an uphill fight. In 2013, the first year out with the nitro hemi the learning curve was steep. Older car that has made some big laps but may not be a technological front runner any more. 





Spirit Of Rett – Nearburg Family and Team


WHY: The car has been over 410mph before. The crew is experienced and knows how to turn the car around/service it properly. It is one of a handful of cars that has ever set a record over 400mph. 

WHY NOT: Single engine car on gasoline and naturally aspirated. This is the outside of all outside shots. Incremental improvement will be great news for the team. The darkest of the dark horses.





Richmond and Stark Streamliner – Rich Richmond and Bud Stark


WHY: Built by two lifelong friends and hot rodders, this is a true backyard effort with no sponsor help. 2012 was first appearance of car and it ran a best of 251 after a couple days of work to get it through tech. This is the feel good story of the summer if they can get it together. The spirit of Bonneville IS this car.

WHY NOT: See virtually all of the reasons above. Having only made 251 in their first effort, they are a long way from being contenders. They will be coming out of left field if they manage to run over 400 and threaten some of the more established names. 





Hass Shipley Streamliner – Team of David/Todd Haas and Jeff Shipley


WHY: Body modeled by Cal Tech to be good for 500mph. A pair of turbocharged small block Chevy engines making the power. Salt veterans that may be on the list of teams “due” to rip off a big number. All the parts and pieces seem to be there.

WHY NOT: Tough trying to find info on when last time car was out. The teams that have been at it year after year may have advantage. Car has not shown that it has the oats to mix it up with the huge names on this list. Another for the corral of dark horses. 

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26 thoughts on “Bonneville Speed Week 2014: 9 Cars Capable Of Smashing The Wheel Driven Record – Here They Are

  1. john

    Rooting for Team Carbinite. Saw the car up close at Wilmington; from the unique trailer to the body design, it is spectacular. They maybe light on horsepower. Hope they came with backup :0 :0

    1. Des de Necker, South Africa

      As a devoted, dedicated, obsessed follower of LSR events since childhood age of 12 in ’59, and seeing the written history of the Sixties, with Art Arfons as my alltime favourite, I’m all goosebumps when I see all the action on the salt. South Africa plays its part in a smal way, but has the potential to attract the top teams at its find of the largest stretch of level expanse in the world, and the Bloodhound team seriously planning their next run at the Speed of Sound title here. Meanwhile, my money is on the Speed Demon and Corbonite teams.
      I hold thumbs for Richmond & Starck, and I like Challenger II with Thompson – R&S for their singleminded pure pursuit (single engine natural aspiration, gasoline…) and Thompson for nostalgia. May the Gods of Speed be with you, and keep your projectile straight.

  2. Andamo

    Just glad to see all the interest in all the wheel driven speed attempts. This is what speed week is all about.

  3. Beagle

    Why is it I’m rooting for the single engine, naturally aspirated, gasoline powered ride ?

  4. GuitarSlinger

    OK … so Logically … Speed Demon and Turbinator II are the hands down favorite without a doubt .

    But .. Emotionally ?

    I’m rooting for Carbonite … for the extreme innovation and out of the box thinking they’re displaying [ its about time for some genuine evolution on the salt ]

    And Challenger II … for old times sake and a bit of nostalgia revisited

    But any way you look at is assuming the surface holds up … this is looking like a mighty exciting year what with all the competition and the possible big numbers on offer

    1. Brian Lohnes Post author

      Keven, good call. That was an omission. I got them confused with another group that will not be coming out to the salt this year.

    1. Brian Lohnes Post author

      No, I didn’t. The car ate a motor in testing and had body damage as a result. They will not be at Speed Week.

  5. jerry z

    Sentimental favorite is Danny Thompson but all of them are my favorite!

    Hope all go over the 400MPH mark.

  6. Willi

    Forgot speed legend Freddie Dannenfelzer (#44 – DRM Racing) – he holds the fastest lakester record at 366mph – his new streamliner looks great and
    will definitely be a contender!

  7. Gray Had

    Yep, just read about the target 550 car. Bother
    I won’t make it to Bonneville this year due to being too broke
    Previous years, I have worked in Motorcycle Tech which has a pretty good view of the long course
    They let you know on the radio when one of the really fast cars is heading down the course.
    When you see, and then hear, Speed Demon go by, it is really something that stays with you.

  8. Dave Morgan

    Gotta wish my friends Terry, Mike, and now Andy Nish all the luck in the world. Your family and friends are incredible people, it is my pleasure to know you. I do hope you achieve your goals this year.

    I have been following Danny Thompson on FB and the effort they made this year is outstanding, good luck to you guys too.

  9. Vic Wood

    I have a ton of respect for all of the competitors who are making the journey to that most special for race tracks and wish the best of luck to all!

    To those of you who you who chose Aeromotive Inc. fuel system components we are proud to be associated with your efforts and we wish you the very best.


  10. Chris Witherspoon

    The Speed Demon team has so much salt experience. Their goals are incremental and they seem to achieve them each year. After talking with Kenny he is not sure 500 is achievable in a wheel driven vehicle but it makes for great press. Even with lousy track conditions they managed to smash a record. 437 with the small engine is impressive. the team seems to be the realists at Bonneville and they know what it takes to set records.

  11. David

    . This New Bullet Car with two Gasolean Engines : on in front One in the back too! Design by Engineneers Are building it special Desiged to hit 500 Miles Per Hour is next goal too! Is the fastest Piston Car on history too!!!

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