Speed Week 2009 is reinforcing Bonneville Speedway’s “World’s Fastest” designation, and in grand fashion. Jump here for the BangShift.com photo gallery of Sunday’s action and hot rods.
As Saturday’s hard but slightly slick salt conditions slowly faded into hard-packed, dry salt for Sunday, teams brought out the big guns. Records fell on Sunday in dozens of classes, and some by huge margins. Many other cars qualified for records that will be backed up Monday morning, including the BMR C/FR roadster which is best known for being the fastest roadster in the history of El Mirage with a 2008 record over 249 mph. When Alan “Fogi” Fogliadini pulled to the line Sunday for his run, all eyes were on the yellow BMR roadster. An earlier run had been a bit more sideways than even Fogi was comfortable with, so some tuning was done and they were back. The record Fogi was running against was in the mid 250 range, and he was expected to cover that fairly easily. But nobody on the line was prepared to here the announcer say he had just gone through the 4th measured mile at 291!!! He’ll attempt to back up the record Monday morning, and with any luck we’ll be bringing you news of a new C/FR record.
Throughout the day, we witnessed record after record falling to speeds 15 – 40 mph higher. The #896 A/MP 1953 Studebaker truck ran 187 mph on a 154 mph record, and looked great doing it. The team brought a spare AA motor, and are planning a swap and more runs later in the week.
But while many succeeded in besting others records, many struggled with new combos, new cars, or not enough power. Our buddy Ed Van Scoy, with new Beck Racing Engines power, is driving the car like a mad man, but is still a few miles per hour slower than the 234 mph record. Scott “DieselGeek” Clark who you’ll find on the BangShift.com forums, is tuning a couple of cars here at Speed Week, including Gary Hart’s 1953 Studebaker. Making big power, and running on a 244 mph record, Gary and Scott are experiencing traction issues, but are making progress. Our own Keith Turk is also managing a D/RMR effort this year, and the car is making great headway; it qualified for a record at 218 mph just on a warmup pass for the new driver. It’s now lined up for Monday morning, and expected to be in Impound before lunch.
Poteet and Main’s Speed Demon streamliner still holds the best single pass speed at 369, but problems have plagued the team and they have been unable to make two clean passes in a row for a record. We’ll keep you posted, as the team’s engine builder and tuner Ken Duttweiler has said the car is tuned soft and has a lot more in it. We can’t wait to see just how much.
Sadly, another racer was lost on Sunday. Here is the report from the SCTA-BNI web site:
“Officials of the Bonneville Nationals Inc. report that Barry Bryant, 46, from Anderson, California, died after competing at the speed trials on the Bonneville Salt Flats. The accident occurred at 5:55 p.m. when his racing vehicle went out of control while traveling approximately 200 mph. He was transported by ambulance off the race track to Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Race Officials were informed that Bryant died before arriving at the Medical Center.” Our thoughts are with Barry’s family, including his father, longtime Bonneville racer Tom Bryant.
Look for more Bonneville Speed Week 2009 coverage throughout the week. Also, see these past reports: