This was submitted to be by Glen Barrett.. The Rice Brothers put together a very informative list about your trip to a Bonneville Event. This list is a great one to print and read and keep with you. If you are a first timer as a racer or a spectator it is a must list for you. It will help get you pointed on what to expect and should be followed.
This is a loose collection of hints that my team, Rice/Vigeant Racing thought would be useful for people going to Bonneville the first time. Some of these are in the rule book, but most of them are things you just pick up along the way. It’s clearly a work in progress that will never be completed as long people find better ways to race at Bonneville.
If you’ve never been to the Bonneville Salt Flats, here are some hints you might find helpful.
- Read the rule book thoroughly. Before, during, and after construction.
- Check your vehicle number with the BNI as early as possible.
- If you want a photo of your car in the program, you need to send in the photo long before the program is printed.
- Fill out a separate medical form for each vehicle number you run, even it all it says is SEE VEHICLE NUMBER whatever. The sheets are kept by vehicle number and during an incident, the officials want to find those sheets as quickly as possible.
- Understand the rule book thoroughly. Before, during, and after construction.
- A sun hat and dark glasses are required. long sleeves are a good idea. Sun block on the bottom of your ears, chin and nose would also be a good idea.
- Your push vehicle is required to have a working CB. Your speeds will be announced over CB, and the officials might need to contact your team. Not answering a CB call looks very bad. Saying it was in a box under the driver’s seat is not considered a valid excuse. In fact there is no valid excuse for not answering a CB call. Sitting on your microphone will tie up the channel, and broadcast all your gossip to the entire meet.
- You must have a tarp under your car in the pits. Fender washers and drywall screws will hold it tight to the salt.
- A sun shade over your pits is vital in August. But it must be taken down each night. The winds at Bonneville are legendary. Each year, dozens of shades are destroyed because the owners didn’t heed the warnings. “EZ UPS” are particularly at risk. Staking your shade down is a very good idea. At the very least, it will keep the debris from getting blown across the salt.
- Bring plenty to drink, or plenty of money.
- Bring a camera, film, (or memory cards), and a zip-loc bag to keep it salt and rain free.
- Bonneville Salt flats are located in Utah, along interstate 80, Just a couple of miles east of the Nevada border.
- Hotel rooms, restaurants, casinos, etc. are located very close by, in the border towns of Wendover, UT, and West Wendover NV.
- Most of the officials and workers stay at the last motel in Utah, (called EconoLodge in 2004). Answers to questions will be known there before anywhere else.
- Rental cars companies forbidden their cars to drive on the salt. If you take one out anyway, spend $10 at the carwash to get it cleaned up before you return it. You might avoid a $600 cleaning charge.
- There is a coin op carwash at the west end of town. Long lines form right after the meet. Ample quarters are available at the casinos.
- There is a small grocery store and laundry on the main drag in Wendover, just east of the border. There is a Smith’s Grocery store at the west end of town. It carries hardware too.
- There is a large truck stop at the Bonneville off ramp. Gas, food, water, etc. can be purchased there.
- Only an inch or so below the salt surface is mud. If you drive outside the race area, you are in serious risk getting stuck in the mud. “Duelly” trucks seem to be the most common victims. Once the wheels start spinning, stop. Every meet, a few trucks need to be rescued. A tow truck will cost over $200. Other racers can usually rescue a stuck truck, but only if it isn’t too deep. Jack the truck up, fill in the holes with wood, then tow the truck out without getting anything else stuck. Double rescues are very common.
- The flats are accessed via a five mile paved access road. On the ACCESS ROAD, one mile from highway 80, is a right turn called “the bend in the road”. Camping is allowed there, but there are no facilities. Do not speed down the access road. At least three people have died in accidents due to speeding on that road.
- The end of the access road, there is a wide spot called “End of the road” or “Land’s end”. This is where the track security is located.
- Under normal conditions, racers and spectators are allowed to enter the salt around 6:00 am during SpeedWeek. Stay in line on the right side of the road. Officials and track workers may need to use the left lane. If you block the left lane, you will delay the opening of the salt.
- No one is allowed on the salt after dark. Period. Don’t waste your time asking the security if you can go out, or stay out, after dark.
- If the salt flats flood due to rain, you can safely drive back to the “end of the road”, if you go very, very slowly.
- Blue Lake is a biting fly infested swamp, located 15 Miles south of Wendover on Alt 93, and then down a 10 mile dirt road. Blue Lake is also one of the best scuba diving locations in Utah, 60 feet deep feed by warm springs.
- All race vehicles must be equipped to be pushed or pulled off of the race course, ( one or the other ). If they are not so equipped, they may be shoved or dragged off.
- The race track is 90 feet wide, with a black line down each side. The race course includes the restricted area on each side of the track (and the track itself) that is kept clear of other vehicles and obstacles for the safety of the race vehicle. When you complete your run, you must turn off the track and get clear the course, all the to the “return road”. Every day many race vehicles stop too close to the track and need to helped off the course before it is safe to run another vehicle.
- Drivers, both racecar and push truck, need to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
- Push vehicles must exit the track as soon as their vehicle is under way. That means turn off the track and head for the return road. At least once a day, a confused (to be polite) push truck driver will try to follow their race vehicle down the track. Invariably, this person doesn’t have a working CB.
- There are posted speed limits, but here are the general rules:
i. In the pits, or near other congested areas, 5MPH
ii. The main road in front of the pits, 25MPH
iii. The main roads elsewhere 55MPH
- Regardless of which track you are driving on, or which way you are going, always turn off the track to the OUTSIDE, unless you have an emergency. If you have an emergency such as fire, flat, blown engine, dropped parts, etc, turn off the track toward the inside and stop as soon as possible, (to make cleanup easier), and rescue vehicles will get to you as fast as they can. If you can’t safely turn to the inside, just stop on the track, this will signal the officials you need help.
- The timing tower has a weather station, and will tell you what the air pressure, temperature and winds are, if you ask nicely on the CB.