Setting a Land Speed Record
BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS
UTAH SPEED WEEK
Bonneville Speed Week is held once a year. It is all about top
speed, but it is no simple task. Thousands of cars attempts passes
across the salt flats every year killing hundreds of engines and
thousands of pistons. Most fail by the third day, pack up and
go home. The desert heat and high altitude of 6,500 feet makes
speed records difficult. Countless hours are spent tuning and
repairing engines. Engines are run at full power for several minutes
to gain top speed and it is extremely brutal on the motor. Bonneville
is quite the different spot on this earth, in fact it doesn't
even resemble earth. Some have been going there for 40 years
Now enter Jeff of Progress Auto. No stranger to race tracks. Jeff has worked at the Indy 500 before many import racers even thought about driving. Racers around the world know about Progress and their trick suspension, many don't know of his expertise in engine building, or racing experience. In 2001 Progress Auto surprised the import world with not one but two cars built for speed. And as difficult as it may be, they pulled off several records in the first year of competition. Not content with just the WORLDS RECORD, Progress Auto sought more power and more speed. An advanced cylinder head from DPR and a freshly built engine by engineer Jeff was finished in just a short time and it was off to Bonneville again for the Worlds Finals. Jonathan and Jeff did it again. THE WORLDS FASTEST HONDA. John from Speedworks gave some great track support. It is no simple feat a new head, a new driver (John Thawley) with salt flat experience, and track support. Crew supported by DPR, Jonathan, and Speedwork’s John were among the ones to make it happen. Photographers from the import car magazines and many hours of work produced a record on the last day of the shorter event. Sponsors, workers, volunteers, top products, tuning and lots of sweat is needed just to try let alone succeed. The results were 184 mph fastest average run and a happy group of hard working guys. Official record in G\BGALT Class was set at 174.760 MPH.
Happy but not satisfied, Jeff freshened up the engine. And the next event was set for August 2002.The beginning part of the week set aside for tuning with Dan scheduled to arrive Wednesday night took a turn for disaster. With some fuel and tuning issues a piston was melted out the exhaust. Never to give up the Progress Team had to get back on the track fast. Jeff jumped right on it a phone call at 4:48 on Tuesday night to Goodson tool company (www.goodson.com) had a box of honing and head equipment sent to the hotel by the next morning with Dan Paramore on early flight to lend a hand. The cylinder head although a piston had melted through it had lived. Jeff worked hard and fast. A hone, new pistons and a rebuilt head put the car back to the starting line. Very special thanks to Hondata`s tuning master Doug, worked very hard all week to keep on top of the programming with Jeff. The crew including Zack from DPR, driver John Thawley, Shane, John from Speedwork, Microlon,Goodson Tools,photographer Ethan, and last but not least Jeff the kept the air in the sails and got us back on track. Engine break in and tuning all had to be done very quickly to even try to pull this off. Progress hit 191.213 MPH as we were breaking in. And with only one chance,THE last day, last car, last run in John Thawley took off; spinning the tires the Vortech supercharged Honda took off until all we could see was a speck. Then gears under boost and full throttle. That took forever. Then they announced ...204.287 MPH was nailed. Yes!! The World's Fastest Honda the second year in a row. And that gave us a new official record of 196.687 MPH at the "almost" impossible Bonneville Salt Flats. Congratulations to Jeff, Vortech, Magnaflow, Landspeed, Fluidyne, Denso, and Jonathan and all the staff at Progress Auto, volunteers, workers, sponsors, the hard working track staff at Bonneville.
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