Bonneville Speed Week - Days 3 - 6

Trip Start Jul 07, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Ramada Salt Lake City Airport

Flag of United States  , Utah
Thursday, August 16, 2012

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My friend Bill and I went back to the Bonneville Salt Flats for days three to six of Speed Week. We wandered around the pits a lot. To set a land speed record for their class a car must make two runs and the average speed of the two runs must be greater than the current record. Generally, the second run is made early the following day. The cars that will be attempting their second run the following morning are kept in an impound lot to make sure nothing is done to the cars. We'd also go over to the impound area most afternoons to see which cars had done well that day.

We spent a lot of time at the starting lines for the long tracks.  The people that are waiting for their chance to drive line up in two lines for each track.  The tracks are wide enough that both lines are roughly in the middle of the track.  The lines alternate making runs.  This gives the drivers and crews more time to prepare after they've reached the front of the line.  Since the drivers and crews spend a lot of time waiting for their turn it's a good time to get to chat with them.

We bought a hand-held CB radio so we were allowed to drive out to the starting lines of the shorter tracks, Tracks 3 and 4. These tracks are used for the slower cars and for beginning drivers.  A beginner is given a license that lets then go up to 149 mph.  If they go over 125 mph then they get a license that allows them to up to 174.  If they go over 150 with this license then, again, they get a new license that is good up to 199.   If you go over 174 the next license is good for up to 249 and the next bracket after that is good up to 299.  When you go over 250 with that license then you get an unlimited license.  You're restricted to the shorter course until you have a license good up to 199 mph.

The event lasts until Friday but we could tell from the cars we saw heading for Salt Lake City that the event was winding down on Thursday.  As we expected, the crowds were smaller and the pits were emptier.  Tracks 3 and 4 were no longer being used.  Tracks 1 and 2 were still busy for much of the day but even they slowed down in the afternoon so we left a little early.

Bill was flying out late Thursday so we did a little sightseeing until it was time for his plane.  We wandered over to Temple Square around sunset.  Then we drove over to the State Capitol, which I've toured before but I haven't photographed at night.  Then I took him to the airport, dropped him off and headed back to the hotel.
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