Nevada Open Road Challenge 1999

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May 13-16, 1999:The May race was the inaugural event for the "Land Speed Record On A Public Highway". This was supposed to happen in September, but the road was not completed, and Kelley Sievers crashed his Unlimited Corvette, putting a damper on the scheduled attempt.

Each vehicle is classified into average speed categories where the object is to cross the finish line with an average speed for the distance of the course as close as possible to your speed category. The catch is there is a minimum speed of 30mph less than your target speed at any point on the course, and a tech speed (speed you cannot exceed without being disqualified) for each speed class. We entered the 140mph speed class this time, which has a tech speed of 165mph.

Put on by the
Silver State Classic Challenge, Inc. the event is run on Nevada Highway 318 between Lund and Hiko Nevada. It's not a straight run either, with some turns, bends and even "The Narrows" throughout the course. It's designed to be safe yet fun for all who enter.

My new navigator for this run was my dad (on the right in the picture above). We were doing great up until our $3.99 Wal-Mart special stop watch died about 30 minutes into the race. Just about half-way through the narrows, we lost the second one. With 18 miles to go, we flew by the seat of the pants, guess where we were and whether to speed up or slow down.

We crossed the finish line 20 seconds ahead of schedule, averaging around 142mph, still good enough for fifth out of the nine competitors in our class. We also received our speed certificate that certified us at the radar trap at 162mph - a far sight better than our previous speed of 154. Luckily, we had caught the fact that our scan tool which was reporting speed had stopped at 153mph. When we hit the rev limiter in fifth gear at 172mph (dyno tested), we instantly knew we were over our tech speed and jumped on the brakes just in time.

We'll be back in September, again running the 140mph class. This time we'll be more prepared - we're definitely buying some good stop watches, and maybe even a GPS.

HERE for a reprint of an article from AutoWeek Magazine on the May '99 Nevada Open Road Challenge race.

Below are some other pictures from the race.

This is the kind of turn out we get...and this is only 1/2 of the field! The picture doesn't get the other side.

Here's my car all stickered up and ready to race.


This is Joe Pettit's big bad Buick. Try 1000+ horses of Dutweiller built turbo Buick V6 on for size.

Here's a shot of the monster up close. Look at the size of that compressor housing (middle of picture at bottom)!


I couldn't believe my eyes when I woke up Sunday morning to a snow covered car! I thought it might spell disaster for the race, but Ely is roughly 1500' higher in elevation than the Starting line.


Here's dad and I in the staging area. As you can see, not a shred of inclement weather or snow (a welcome sight).


Someone even got a picture of us during the race. Obviously, this was after our encounter with the firebird! Thanks Larry!


The only known casualty of the race. How fitting that a Firebird would get the bird.

This bird did some fast calculating in our opinion. I'm sure he was a trigonometry major to figure out the trajectory to fly to get right in the fog lamp at 150mph!

Click here for more pictures from the event weekend.