Congratulations to David on the selection of his high-speed Miata as the December Miata of the Month!
World's Fastest Miata?
The Utah Salt Flats Racing Association holds the annual "World of Speed" during the month of September. The entry level into land speed racing is called the 130 Club.
Basically, to get membership into the 130 Club one must "qualify" (make a pass over 130 mph and under 140 mph) and then "backup" with another run over 130 mph and under 140 mph. The 140 cap is for safety reasons ~ tech for the 130 Club is not near as strict as for other categories. Piece of cake, right?
Fast forward to the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah, Thursday: Tech goes smoothly. As you can see in the picture, The Pope and Jake, our fearless crew chief, are happy they passed tech!
The folks are kind enough to review
some questions about moving up to the next step. Next stop is registration where
you pay your money and get your T-shirt . . . have I been here before? We pit
next to the long course between the Ragsdale Studebaker and the Higginbotham-
Allen streamliner (right)
Skip Higginbotham doesn't yet have a crew, so we help unload the 40ft long B/BGS streamliner that eventually sets a class record at 262.196 mph, even though the tune isn't quite dialed in yet. The rest of Thursday is spent watching tech inspections and checking out the serious cars.
Friday: After the driver's meeting and rookie orientation we spend the Friday watching shakedown runs and cruising the pits. Most every entry is interesting and innovative - I learn a lot! We meet a Rick & Sandy, with a pristine Willys pick-up (supercharged 350 Chevy) who has decided to try this for fun, we invite them to share our pit space - nice folks. We meet up w/ Curmudgeon Racing again - he's hoping to get his 1946 DeSoto over 70 this year.
Saturday: Short 130 meeting and a low-speed drive so everyone knows where the lights are and where to turn right after the run. Its not rocket science, piece of cake, right?
The first run is supposed to be a calibration run @ 100 mph - so you can check your speedometer, get the feel of the salt and so forth. What did I learn? Speedometer seems to be right on and there is NO traction. Getting up to 100 mph in less than a mile is a piece of cake. No one pays much attention to my plain-jane Miata.
By the time I'm ready for my first run at speed the wind is blowing pretty hard across the track and I'm starting to wonder if this is really a good idea. Another competitor turns off the track to the left and gets almost to the long course before he wanders back and finds his way eventually (orange cones on the salt aren't much of a clue?) After some delay, I'm off on my first ever timed run on the Bonneville Salt Flats! Easy through first gear, easy shifts -easy shifts, second gear more throttle . . .as soon as the boost builds the tires lose grip and the tach reads something over 7000 rpm- on its way down. After an easy shift to third I start feeding the throttle in pretty aggressively - now we are making some progress!!! Unfortunately, before the boost peaks the tires lose grip once again as a gust of wind hits the car, so I short shift to 4th gear. The Miata is picking up speed rather quickly now and I decide to short shift into fifth and concentrate on keeping the car in the lane (its only 90 feet wide) and stopping after the traps. The car accelerates nicely past the ½ mile marker and I back off on the throttle going through the traps and check the speedometer ~ doh! Its says 126!?! I'll have to power all the way through next run.
Stopping at the timing tent for my slip someone says "Good run!" I'm happy nothing dumb happened and start reading the slip on my way back to the car; 108 at the ½ mile and 134.529 mph in the mile. I have qualified for the 130 Club on my first try! The speedometer is a little off and according to the tach I'm getting some wheel spin as I go through the traps. What to do, what to do?
Rick's Willys is all over the track in the wind and he aborts his first try. Plenty of power, he reports, but the truck is a big sail in the wind. Hmmmmm.
Several people stop to ask about the Miata. What have I done to the engine? That isn't stock, is it:? I have a long conversation with a fellow that claims to know Bill @ Flyin' Miata, he has a Garrett turbocharger golf shirt on and we have a nice visit about all sorts of interesting subjects.
By the time my second run started the wind was blowing even harder so I was a little tentative. A Camaro guy behind me in line went through the traps at 145 and was disqualified, no need for that kind of headache - not after all this prep and expense.
The second run is 129.661!!! Backed off tooooo much.
Over the radio I hear the wind is still blowing a pretty steady 28 mph - no wonder the car drifts across the lane! Word is the Curmudgeon Desoto has run 82+ - . . . they'll be happy. Rick's Willys is running faster, but still being blown all over the track.
I tried to hammer the car a little harder on the third run to make sure the speed was high enough. Still lots of wheel spin and the car is being moved around pretty good in the wind. A short shift in fourth and full throttle in fifth get me through the traps in pretty good shape. When I back off the throttle the wind pushes the car all the way across the lane as I brake for the turnout. 133.728 mph - I'm in the 130 Club!
Rick's Willys finally made a 130+ run on Sunday morning. Not all the "fast" cars made the club - including a 440ci Dodge Dart, a supercharged Mustang, some kind of a hot rod Pontiac G-Type supercharged something and a lot of chevvies.
World's Fastest Miata? Maybe, maybe not. According to my spread sheet, it should peak at about 149, with some traction.
Piece of cake.
Thanks to Flyin' Miata for the tune and the effortless power.
Thanks to Jake for crewing and dragging the 5iver out to the Salt!
Will you be next?