Experiencing Bonneville | Performance Racing Industry
Experiencing Bonneville
By Andrea Brake on August 19, 2016

Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Attending this event is something that’s been on my list from the moment I entered the racing industry. Unfortunately, the last two I’ve tried to attend were canceled due to heavy rains and flooding.

But I decided to take the risk again this year and booked my ticket with fingers crossed. And you know what: Third time’s a charm! With binoculars, chair, sunglasses and sunscreen in tow I finally arrived in the land of the salt.

If you’ve never been, well, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before—truly fascinating to be surrounded by an endless white landscape, where the ground is so flat you can actually see the curvature of the Earth.

Over the years I have attended several different types of races, but Speed Week isn’t your average race by any stretch of the imagination. The “track” consists of orange cones set up amidst miles and miles of salt. There are no barriers or grandstands, or anything else you’d see at Eldora or Pomona. It’s just you, the pits, the sun, and the salt.  Bonneville is a world all its own, and that’s what makes it so special.

There were so many types of vehicles—from diesel trucks to roadsters to streamliners—that race approximately 4 to 6 miles down the track at speeds anywhere from 80 to 400-plus mph. The range really shows the broad spectrum of mechanical creativity at this event. And at these speeds it’s important to keep your eye on the track, because those cars zip by!

The racing may be fast, but there’s a good amount of downtime between runs, as organizers make sure the track is clear before sending out the next car (only one car is allowed on the track at a time). All racers and their teams deserve a ton of credit for patiently waiting their turn in line in what is a very, very hot sun.

The Bonneville Salt Flats is a monument that I truly hope will continue to host races for many decades to come. But in order to maintain racing conditions, some 1.5 million tons of salt must be delivered to the Flats within the next five years. And groups like the Save the Salt Coalition and the Utah Alliance are working tirelessly alongside the SEMA Action Network to help restore the salt.

Speed Week is a race that stands out from the rest, and it’s important to keep the legacy alive.

For me, attending new race events is always exciting. And no matter the type of racing it is, I inevitably have a great time among the passionate racers and fans. Checking Bonneville off of my racing bucket list—and managing to make it back without a sunburn—was a great accomplishment.

Until next time, Bonneville!

NOTE: For pictures of my experience, please visit PRI's Facebook page.

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