This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The organizers of Speed Week are still undecided about whether to cancel the event this year, following the cancellation of a smaller event and a weekend meeting to discuss the poor condition of the famous Bonneville Salt Flats.
The Southern California Timing Association announced Monday that it will send a group of racers to test the salt on July 21. A final decision will be made by July 22, according to the group's Facebook page.
The Utah Salt Flats Racing Association canceled a smaller Test 'n' Tune event last weekend, casting doubt on whether it would be safe to move forward with the much larger 2015 Speed Week, which is set to begin on Aug. 8.
The association has posted informal surveys to its Facebook page asking those who are already registered for Speed Week whether they would attend the event if the number or length of courses were reduced. Russ Eyers, a member of the Utah association, said almost 600 racers have registered, which could make the 2015 Speed Week one of the largest in the event's history.
Eyers said the Test 'n' Tune was canceled because rainy weather had caused mud to cover about six miles of the area usually converted into race courses during Speed Week and other events. Additionally, he said, the salt in most other areas was too soft, rough or thin to safely support racing.
A layer of sticky mud underlies the salt crust for which the Bonneville Salt Flats are most famous. When the salt crust becomes wet and soft, cars can fall through the salt into the mud.
Racers suspect the flats are being damaged by industries that extract salt from the region. But scientists, such as retired Bureau of Land Management geologist Bill White, say there is little modern evidence of a long-term decline.
Dennis Sullivan, president of the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association, said the BLM has promised to examine salt depletion on the flats and release a new study by approximately 2018. But by then, he said, there may not be enough salt left for the racing tradition to continue.