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Bonneville Salt Flats Speedweek Commentary 1999

August 13th, 1999 -We arrived late in the afternoon, the salt conditions have gotten worse since the last few nights it has rained. This morning racers had said that water was a couple of inches deep when entering the salt. By the afternoon most of surface water had depleted, but the condition of the salt was at best mushy. We will be hitting the salt in the morning at about 7:00 a.m. More updates tomorrow with pictures and video.

August 14th, 1999 - Conditions were good enough to run. Salt is very wet and mushy hopefully a sun filled day, which it was, will dry the salt out for tomorrow. Lots of entries this year, the pits were filled more this year than the last few years. One interesting event that will be going on is the huge controversy on the Hayabusa. There is a reported three Hayabusa's at Bonneville and it will be interesting to see what speeds they will go.


August 15th, 1999 - Coarse conditions were better and worse. Better because they were a lot drier because of some nice hot weather and a very nice wind during the night. But worse because of the vehicles running on the coarse yesterday put a lot of holes in the salt. So the coarse was very bumpy, hopefully it will smooth our during the week. Tons of people and entries this year make it for an exciting event. Parts of the coarse and actually all of the salt is very wet and mushy as one spectator found out why it is important to follow the orange cones out to the pit area and not drive off the marked coarse, and one Kenworth T2000, well what can you say, it is heavy.


August 16th, 1999 - Today was a great day for the salt. Return runs that were supposed to be at 7 am did not run until 9:30 am due to a vehicle spinning out and taking out the timing lights. Don Vesco in the Turbinator who was making a return run to back up a 409 mph run in his turbine streamliner ran a 386 mph. Very impressive seeing any vehicle going that fast. Look for Don to be making some changes and back on it, I foresee his vehicle doing over 430 mph at this meet if weather and track conditions permit. Unfortunately not so great day for the #715 Vehicle that wrecked at over 200 mph. It was reported that he lost a tire, blown or broke is not reported, he wrecked pretty bad. The driver did walk away from the accident, our thoughts are with him on any recovery. Doug Meyer production 1350 ZX-11 dropped a couple of pistons. When I talked with Doug he said he felt them when he shifted into Th gear. I hope to get some more info on what happened tomorrow. The Battle of the Hayabusa has been pretty good. Larry Forstall Hayabusa was unofficially reported going mid to low 190's mph with a modified motor but a stock body. Charlie Guthrie who has a straight production Hayabusa was unofficially reported going 186 mph. The long coarse was so bumpy our good friends from Mountain States Automation Team #1000 made a run and they blew their shocks out. A trip to the local NAPA store did not work out, they made a special trip into Salt Lake City to purchase shocks that fit a Pinto. Look for them to back on the salt tomorrow. We thought we doing the salt a good favor and there was a car wash as you are leaving the salt, we decided our 97 Mustang needed a good bath to get rid of the salt anyway. So we pulled up and waiting our turn, we were discussing on how much we were going to tip the washers. They started spraying off the vehicle and I was outside to snap a few pictures on how this was such a good idea. Then we go to pull away and a sleek looking female in a half cut Budweiser shirt said that will be ten dollars please. I was astonished!! Ten bucks to spray the car down and they didn't even scrub it with soap, and the bug collection I collected on the trip was still there. WOW.


August 17th, 1999 - Another hot day on the salt, by 10 am it was 90 degrees in the shade. The Turbinator made an awesome run of 422 mph, 435 at the back of the mile. We will be there bright and early in the morning for the return run by this beautiful machine. Mountain States Automation that went on the long coarse right before us had a bad spin, but luckily Jon the driver walked away from the spin-out. He explained that while going down the left side of the track the front wheel hit a major hole in the salt, starting him in a spin, he immediately hit the chute then his canopy flew off his lakester. He mentioned that when that happened salt just filled his helmet. He was traveling at speeds in excess of 185 mph. They hit the hole so hard that it bent the right outer tie rod end. You can view a brief interview with him after the run on our video page. Al Teague made some hard passes with his vehicle, he was running his B motor. The long coarse only got worse when the day went on, so at the end of the day they changed over to the last long coarse they had prepared.

August 18th, 1999 - Getting in the later part of the week and the pits are getting thin. This year there was a lot of wrecks and spin outs, I would imagine from the wet salt early in the week. Bev Stanley stated from SCTA-BNI from some of the major wrecks, "First, Sunday car #1 Brant, Wright, Speranza tumbled - wrecked the car pretty much but the driver, John Wright, had no serious injuries - just a trip to the clinic and some observation time. Second, Monday - Ron Main's beautiful and redesigned and repainted Flatfire rolled - wasted all those beauty dollars - but the driver was alright - out of the car and waiting when the emergency vehicles arrived - again a trip to the clinic and observation only. Third, #107 a Porsche with a wing in Modified Sport class learned to fly - car messed up but the driver was basically OK - trip to the clinic and observation." There were a lot of spin outs that luckily were not major wrecks. The salt is just getting dried out and Thursday the 19th they are talking about it being the last day of racing except for Friday for return runs in the morning only. I hope they change their mind because we are just getting things straightened out.


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Introduction

Episode 1) Overview Video

Episode 2) The Transmission

Episode 3) The Engine

Episode 4) The Drive Train

Episode 5) Body and Paint

Episode 6) Dyno Run