Bill Summers can rest easy for one more day. His world record came another day closer to its 25th anniversary - Nov. 12.
A wet track from a Friday night rain kept the very fast streamliners in their respective stalls Saturday. Despite plans for late afternoon runs, Summers' record stood."Which really doesn't bother me. Oh, I'd like it to stand until Nov. 12 to make it exactly 25 years," Summers said from the starting area on Saturday. "But, no, it won't bother me if they did. I'd be happy for them. I know they want it."
The Summers brothers, Bob and Bill, set the world record for a wheel-driven car in November of 1965, at 409.277 miles per hour. The recognized record for a jet-powered car is 622.407.
The closest anyone has come was Friday when Nolan White of San Diego, Calif., turned a 401 in the measured kilometer. Before that, two years ago, Al Teague of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., posted a 397 mph run.
Five cars are at Bonneville now for the Mainstay World of Speed, all with intentions of breaking Summers' record. Winds on Friday slowed record tries and a wet track Saturday stopped high-speed runs. Track officials said the track would be dry enough on Sunday to allow the five hign-speed cars to run.
Cars that race under 175 mph were able to run and five qualified for record runs on Sunday morning.
Looking back on his record, Summers said he remembers sitting down and crying when it was announced.
"For a whole year we were under so much stress. Finally it was over. You don't know what a relief it was.
"The record was good for us. It allowed us to do other things we wouldn't have been able to do. Now I think there are cars that can break it. They haven't been able to do it before because there wasn't the interest.
"That car, though, was phenominal. It was advanced beyond its time. Since we set the record no one has come and asked us how we did it. No one has come to look at the car."
Summers' car had four engines. Two drove the rear wheels and two the front wheels. It cost the Summers $75,000 to build. It took the record away from England's Donald Campbell, who had set it at 403.1 mph in Australia a year before. Campbell's car had cost $6 million.
One of the five cars going for the record is owned by Chet Herbert of Anaheim, Calif. This car, said Herbert, was designed after the Summers' car and has four engines.
"That one," said Summers, "Could do it. I hope not, but then again I hope they do."
Record runs will begin today at 8 a.m. The event will end on Monday.