The Re­turn Road: Staffers Sound Off

Hot Rod - - Front Page - Phillip Thomas Staff Edi­tor @tex­as­thomas

This is­sue has bit of a land-speed kink, which cul­mi­nated in earn­ing a 200 MPH Club with the ECTA just a month after Bon­neville.

For me, I re­ally dis­cov­ered land-speed rac­ing at an ele­men­tary school book fair. I bought a book that was full of cut­away draw­ings of dif­fer­ent ma­chines, from NASA space shut­tles to McLaren F1s. One sec­tion was ded­i­cated to the his­tory of land speed, with ma­chines like Sir Mal­colm Camp­bell’s “Blue Bird” and Craig Breedlove’s “Spirit of Amer­ica,” but it was Andy Green’s “Trust SSC” that stole my at­ten­tion. It was like a wing­less SR-71, and both were the fastest of their kind. The ul­ti­mate land-speed record had cre­ated cars that were eerily sim­i­lar to what came out of the space race, which hooked me. This fall, I had the op­por­tu­nity to drive with Ry­din De­cal Rac­ing at the Septem­ber Arkansas 1-Mile Chal­lenge. It took a lot of learn­ing with the quirky trans­mis­sion, but we man­aged a 202.6-mph run for the ECTA 200 MPH Club. These bar­ri­ers are all deeply per­sonal pur­suits; the world doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily change be­cause a record is shat­tered or an­other driver en­ters a club.

Peo­ple are gen­uinely cu­ri­ous what 200 feels like, but the AA/GC Trans Am felt like your av­er­age car—ev­ery­thing just comes at you much quicker.

Life doesn’t rad­i­cally change when you come home, ei­ther, but maybe your per­spec­tive of it does. You look fur­ther into the hori­zon than ever be­fore, and you’re more will­ing to chase it. Ques­tion is, what’s next?

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