Bonneville 2012 Report by Chico

This year’s Bonneville SpeedWeek was hopeful as we made a 220mph run last year with a rocker arm that backed out.

We left on early Thursday morning, as usual. This year we drove Fred’s truck and pulled the trailer with #533 car on it. The truck has a 460 CID engine in it and pulls the trailer with no problem. I had checked under the hood and the cooling system needed attention, so we put in a new radiator, a new water pump and all new hoses. We were confident we would not have any overheating problems.

Well, just passed Cajon Pass to pick up Dave Berry, one of our crew members, at top of Cajon Pass. We pulled into Chevron gas station and all of a sudden the radiator started steaming. Opened the hood and it was steaming from the radiator cap. All the work we put in, we forgot to change the radiator cap. Looking for radiator cap at 5:00am is hard. Nobody had one. We went on and drove to Barstow looking for a parts house. It’s just before 7:00am. Found Napa Auto Parts that was open at 7:00am. Got the radiator cap. $5.00.
With a new radiator cap, things seem to be good and got back on the road.
By the time we arrived in Wendover, it was already passed 7:00pm, so we didn’t even try going on the salt.

Friday morning, we headed to Salt. Inspection day. Seemed a little different this year. Not too many cars. No cars lined up for tech. It was very relaxing.
Found a spot to settle our pit area and went to get the car inspected. No problem this year.
About 3:00pm, clouds and wind increased and it started to rain. Haven’t seen rain in August that much, but it does happen. We packed everything and headed to town. It rained pretty good.

Saturday, 9:00am driver’s meeting. By this time, there was plenty of people around. Officials decided to have course #1 closed all day due to rain. Course #2 (combo), #3 (short), and #4 (rookie) were open, but we opted to wait until tomorrow to make a run on course #1.

Sunday, we warmed up the engine and got in line. Not too many cars were in line. Made a pass. Went through all 5 gears at 7,800RPM. 214.059mph. It was 9:08am. Made another pass in the afternoon. 201.211mph. The motor was just not pulling at higher RPM. Checked the data and it showed only 22lbs of boost. It was getting 28lbs. Checked to see if there’s any obvious reason for no boost, but couldn’t find anything.

Monday, we made another pass with no changes. It was running better. I was busy looking at the tach and by the time I looked up, I was aiming at the cones. I tried to dodge it and you know it, I ended up spinning at the 4-1/2mile mark at 206mph.
Once you spin, you must go back to get inspected to make sure the car is safe.
Got all that done and got back in line, but it was 105 degrees out. Got suited up and put my helmet on. As soon as I did that, it was like I was in a sauna.
Hard to breathe. I told Doug let’s not run and pulled out of line.

Tuesday morning, little cooler, suits and helmet are dry. Made pass.
206.071. 47% humidity and collective altitude of

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6,091ft. not a good condition to run. Came back and checked over everything. We found a broken valve spring on the #4 cylinder intake valve.
With no boost and a broken valve spring, we decided to call it quits. I was sure we would be able to get a record this time, but again, we have to wait for next opportunity. I see why people go back every year trying to set a new record.

Big thanks to Doug, Tim, Darren, Mcgiver Dave, Bonneville Bob, my family for all the help, Mooneyes and Torco Oil for their support.