Chasing the Salt at Bonneville
Andre Young once wrote, “There’s three types of people in the world: those who don’t know what happened; those who wonder what happened; and those like us, from the streets, that make things happen.” Hot rodders, assuredly, are in the latter group, and few races display that better than the SCTA/BNI Bonneville Speed Week. There’s so much to learn out on the salt when there are miles to run with the throttle welded wide open, from the unending pursuit of aerodynamics and horsepower to the seemingly unstoppable capability of the human body and mind. Despite my job of translating experiences into words, I still struggle to find any that accurately describe Bonneville—it’s a requirement on any bucket list to truly fathom.
Since 1949, we’ve passed the HOT ROD Trophy from racer to racer as a way to recognize this timeless chase. Wally Parks defined it as the fastest wheeldriven machine through a scored flying mile. Unlike most things at Bonneville, the little guy swinging for the fences could take it home even if the machine didn’t back it up like a record run—we understood hot rodding was imperfect. And we’ll tell you, to some teams, this trophy is more valuable than the fuel in their tanks. Keep an eye on the next issue of HRM for more.