Rain Delay: Mother Nature Rules the Records at Bonneville - Engine Builder Magazine

Rain Delay: Mother Nature Rules the Records at Bonneville

Danny Thompson's attempts at a land speed record – 439 mph – were hampered by rain at Bonneville this year.

Rainy weather postponed attempts by Danny Thompson, son of racing legend Mickey Thompson, to set a land speed record for a piston engine car on the Salt Flats of Bonneville this year.

Thompson’s attempts at a land speed record – 439 mph – were hampered by rain at Bonneville’s annual Speed Week in August, as well as the event in September.
Challenger II  1
Not only were many fans looking forward to Thompson’s record attempt, but this also was the 100th Anniversary of Salt Flat racing at Bonneville.

However, the Southern California Timing Association, which certifies the racing records, concluded the day’s leading up to Thompson’s September attempt that salt would be too soggy for racing, thus ending the speed-setting season.

Last month, according to CNN, Thompson came within 20 mph of the record held by George Poteet, who survived a 370 mph crash last month at Cook’s Shootout, another popular racing event.

Thompson tried to pass 392 mph to set the record for his vehicle class, and eventually be the first to drive a piston engine car 450 mph.

Thompson’s Challenger II vehicle, named after his father’s record-breaking car, reached 419 mph during one leg of his race, and later hit 424 mph.

But the vehicles clutch failed on the return trip, forcing Thompson to fall short of the official record.

To set a record, the average speed of two trips is needed.

Thompson, and other racers rained out this year, will now set their sights and hopes for better weather next August.

For updates on Speed Week 2015, visit the SCTA at www.scta-bni.org

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