Speed Week

On my 'must do' list is to someday visit the Bonneville Speedway and take in the last bastion of hot rod competition at it's purest during Speed Week. The event is held annually on the Bonneville salt flats in Utah and is sanctioned by the
SCTA. I've yet to visit the hot rodder's version of the great white way, but if photos do it the slightest bit of justice, then it's akin to visiting another planet. In my view, there just isn't a much more desolate and imposing landscape anywhere else in the world. To realize the hot rod history that has been achieved on it's crusty surface makes the attraction all the stronger.

Case in point... the legendary
Mickey Thompson poses with Challenger 1 on the Salt. This streamliner utilized four supercharged Pontiac V8 engines to acheive a new one way land speed record of 406.60 mph in 1960.

This week, Memphis Rodders Reunion regular
George Poteet will attempt to collect another new speed record with his partner Ron Main in the Speed Demon streamliner. This incredible projectile is powered by a turbocharged Mopar 4-cylinder engine producing in excess of 1100 hp. It has already exceeded 350 mph, and has the potential for more. The goal is to crack 400 mph. Achieving such a performance would be a technological tour de force that could possibly rival Thompson's numbers with 4 cylinders as opposed to 32. George has acquired a passion for Bonneville racing, that has seen his involvement steadily develop in recent years, culminating with this streamliner. Cameltoe Racing was involved with five different cars at the salt flats last year.

Cars as diverse as a the 'Blowfish' 69 Barracuda with the aforementioned Mopar 4 banger (now equipped with a 358 cubic inch Hemi V8.)

To traditional rides like this 32 Ford roadster. Note the
Memphis Street Rods logo affixed to the hood. In fact, the Memphis connection to the salt is surprising considering the distance and the rare opportunities to compete. Yet George is not the only Memphis area rodder who has been bitten by the bug that infects us with salt fever.

In the 1970's Paul Kosma drove this grabber blue 31 Ford highboy roadster to Bonneville and pulled off the highway and onto the salt. He then proceeded to set speed records in two different street roadster classes with the flathead powered rod, and then drove back home to Memphis. Yes, you read that right... he drove a record setting land speed racer from Memphis to B'Ville, and back again without a trailer. Just like they did in the days following WWII when hot rodding was new and full of adventure.

Several local street rodders have made visits to the salt and parked their road going rods on the hallowed grounds of speed. A sizable accomplishment in it's own right considering the distance and the badlands atmosphere of the Utah desert. Also, I can't imagine a better way to observe the action than to have your own hot rod at hand. In fact, the theme of the 2005 Memphis Rodder's Reunion was devoted to Bonneville racing efforts. So a fascination with being the fastest in the world runs strong in our neck of the woods.

So here's wishing the latest speed efforts of
Cameltoe Racing the best of success at Speed Week 2008. Should the records fall, we'll post an update in the near future.