When cars take the track Saturday in the annual Bonneville Raceway "Night of Fire," it will be the fastest show in town.
There will be among the featured cars no fewer than 14 that will be turning speeds over 200 miles per hour through the quarter mile from a standing start.Featured on the program will be six jet cars, each capable of speeds close to 240 miles per hour; four funny cars, each with speed capabilities of 230 mph; four in the top fuel class, also with speeds hitting close to 230 mph; and two wheels standers that could, if they kept all four wheel on the ground, go faster than 200. For Saturday's show the wheel standers will simply hit speeds over the 100 mph mark while running on their rear two wheels.
This will be, said Dick Godfrey, track manager, "one of the fastest shows we've ever had at the raceway.
Gates to the park, 6555 W. 2100 South, will open at noon with time trails beginning at 3 p.m. and eliminations at 7 p.m. Special discount tickets are available at all Auto Parts Unlimited stores.
Among the featured drivers will be Lynn Redeman, owner of twin jet cars, along with Doug Brown and Scott Hammick.
The jets featured at Bonneville are similar to jet airplanes only minus the wings. The engines do, in fact, come from old flying jets. And, while the engines will run on almost anything, drivers say they prefer to stop off at the local airport and fill up before a race.
In the funny car field, nationally known drivers Jim "Fireman" Dunn and Ron Sutherland lead the field.
Burning nitromethane, the funny cars are powered by 2,000 horsepower engines that are capable of speeds well over the 250 mark.
"The problem," said Dunn, "is keeping the tires on the ground. You've got to transmit the power from the engine to the wheels. If you spin the wheels you lose it. So, you have to experiment with tires, gears, rear ends, everythings until you get something that works, and when you do you stay with it."
Among the locals in the 200-plus mile per hour class will be Sue Spencer, Glenn Pearmain and Don Mattenson. They will be driving a mix of top fuel and funny cars.
The wheelstanders are becoming a popular addition to the fleet of cars at Bonneville. They, too, have the high-powered engines and racing tires, but instead of going down on all fours the driver puts the car on its rear two wheels and then races the length of the track. Bars on the backs of the cars keep them from flipping over.
Along with the feature cars, there will also a full field of nearly 100 bracket cars racing for prize money.
Because of problems at the last major race, no cars will be allowed in the pit area of the track. All spectators will be required to park outside the raceway and walk through the gates.