SCTA Bonneville Speed Week – Shootout at the Salt Flats
Bonneville is a magical place where you don’t race for money, trophies or points; you race for pride and a chance to add your name to the SCTA Bonneville Speed Week record book. Men and women have been coming to the Bonneville Salt Flats since 1914 to test the limits of man and machine.
Located 90 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah, sits 30,000 acres of hard, white salt crust known as the Bonneville Salt Flats. It’s a place so flat that people say you can see the curvature of the earth, a place so barren that not even the simplest life forms can exist. Yet every August, racers are drawn here from all around the world for one thing…the quest for speed.
George Poteet and his appropriately named Speed Demon streamliner had taken home the prestigious Hot Rod Magazine Top Speed of the Meet award for seven consecutive years, but this year the battle for top speed was tougher than ever as five different cars made runs over 400mph: Danny Thompson’s Challenger 2, Poteet’s Speed Demon, Carbonliner, Flashpoint, and the Team Vesco Turbinator.
Thompson was going to retire the car last year, but he knew it could go faster. With 2018 marking the 50th anniversary of the Challenger 2, he knew bringing it back to the salt one more time was the right thing to do.
And he was right. Thompson thrilled the crowd with a run of 446.605mph on Saturday morning and then ran 450.909mph on Sunday to set the AA/FS record at 448.757mph. (The record is the average speed of the two runs.)
But in the end it wasn’t Thompson or Poteet with the fastest pass. When the salt settled, it was Dave Spangler and the Team Vesco Turbinator 2 who claimed top speed of the meet with a 463.038mph blast that dethroned the Speed Demon although Poteet still laid claim as the week’s fastest piston-powered car.
The Streamliners post the fastest speeds, but you will also find roadsters, belly tankers, lakesters, motorcycles, trucks and hot rods competing in hundreds of different classes based on their body style and engine combination. If you can dream it up and build it, there is a class for you at SCTA Bonneville Speed Week. That’s what makes Bonneville so great.
Bonneville is truly a hot rodder’s paradise, combining history, horsepower, speed and camaraderie. It’s the last place on earth where man and machine can push the limits of automotive ingenuity while carrying on the tradition of hot rodding’s earliest mantra: go faster.