A year ago, 378 cars and 198 motorcycles a total of 566 tried to set land speed records in dozens of classes. Then, 163 records fell.
George Poteet, of Collierville, Tenn., who had the fastest streamliner time a year ago when he hit 427 miles per hour, is expected to lead an assault of drivers hoping to join the exclusive 400-mile per hour club. Poteet has been over 400 mph more than any driver in history.
Many crews and drivers come to the Salt Flats with high hopes of even approaching 500 mph, but find that conditions and the difficulty of getting their vehicles just right for an attempt stymie their efforts.
"There are a couple of fast cars that are entered that have been saying they are going to do 500 miles per hour," said Carlson. "They haven't got here yet so we'll see. There are quite a few potentially fast cars and some people don't pre-enter."
In addition to the streamliners, entries include hot rods, roadsters, belly tankers, lakesters, motorcycles and always a variety of unusual vehicles.
There are two 5-mile courses and two 3-mile courses for the drivers set up this year.
Carlson said that means racers will not have to wait in line in order to make a record run, which involves setting a time on the course and then "backing it up" with a second run.
One of the unusual aspects of the competition is that competitors do not race for cash. They hope to be entered in the club's extensive record book as holding a class record and to perhaps win a trophy.
Cost for spectators is $15 per person. They are welcome to walk through the pits, view the vehicles, purchase souvenirs and T-shirts and chat with drivers and crews as they prepare their vehicles.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are about 88 miles west of Salt Lake City. Spectators should take the Bonneville Speedway Exit – exit No. 4 off Interstate 80.
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For more information on Speed Week, go to www.scta-bni.org/.