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Racing Teams at Bonneville Speed Week 2019

Photos & Words: Mitzi Valenzuela

Photographer Mitzi Valenzuela brought her camera to the Bonneville Salt Flats for 2019's Speed Week. Here are the stories of a few of the teams which converged on the Utah landmark.

Some information from Jim Lindsay about the awesome roadster you see above:

"I began my trips driving to Bonneville in my flathead powered 32 roadster about 12 years ago. I was taken by the laid back atmosphere and at the same time tiring of the hustle and bustle of drag racing. I'd been following the nostalgia circuits up and down the west coast for years.

"I home built a roadster with a blown flathead 4 and raced it at Bonneville for two seasons. Then Marty Strode, a Portland metal wizard, built me a rear engine roadster that I ran a blown flathead in. I set a couple records at Bonneville and one at Elmo with this combination.

"My last run at El Mirage yielded 174 mph but resulted in a badly cracked block. I then hired Don Ferguson to build me one of his blown Arduns. With the new motor and Don's help I averaged 218 mph on a soft track at Bonneville in 2017, and because of it I proudly wear the "Red Hat."

"The photos you took at Speed Week 2019 are of a new configuration of mostly the same car as the rear engine roadster. Marty Strode lengthened the car 20 inches and built the new awesome aluminum body.

"We have a goal set at 250 mph. Hopefully we will achieve this mark at Australia's speedweek next March.

"I need to thank my crew, who along with me are known as "The Little Bastards," named after my book series of the same name. They are Jerry Stauffer, my crew chief who has been with me most of the way, Bob Lick of LaGrande, Or., Al Rossback of Albany, Or., Marty Strode and Don Ferguson.

"In the photos from this year's photo shoot are crew members Bob Lick, Jerry Stauffer, and myself. Also pictured are Marty Strode and Chris Copp. Chris, also a metal whiz, helped Marty with the handbuilt nose and canopy."

The photo above is of the Sand Creek Speed Racing team from Minnesota and their build. The members, from left to right, include:

Guy Henson the truck owner, engine builder (not the one in the truck, however)
Kris Hughes - aircraft restoration specialist (can fix everything)
T.C. Worley - driver, photographer
Jeff Schlemmer - truck builder (with the help of the entire team of more than 14 close friends)

Some words about the build:

“Our first trip to Bonneville was back in 2016. We have attended every year since and raced three of the four years there. We didn’t get to make a pass this year. Guy and Kris are first timers at Speed Week, but our team has been out there four years in a row now.

“We race a 1977 Datsun 620 Pickup. The truck was Guy's daily driver until we decided it needed a full frame-off restoration (to save it) and built it into the race truck it is now.  It’s set up for Production Class, retaining the original two-liter L20b engine, currently undergoing its third rebuild to find more power. It's currently fuel injected with a dry sump oiling system, lowered as far as we can safely go.

"The transmission is a close ratio 280Z gearbox, the rear end is factory with a Detroit Locker installed and a unique set of gears that was only used in a few special order trucks.  Four wheel disc brakes, fire system, five point harness, full roll cage as required along with all the other tidbits in the SCTA rule book.

“We're a few horsepower away from setting a record, but we'll keep attempting until the taco stand in Wendover runs out of food (inside joke for those who haven't attended.) Maybe someday we'll be fast enough to get our photo on the wall at the Salt Flat Cafe?"