While Speed Week in mid-August is the major land speed racing event on the Bonneville Salt Flats east of Wendover, there are a number of smaller events running through the first week of October.
Rick Vesco’s Turbinator, which holds the record for the fastest time recorded by a wheeled vehicle, was back on the salt for the recent World of Speed event sponsored by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association.
Team Vesco’s Turbinator II made four runs with an average speed of 420 mph and a top time of 435 mph, the fastest at the meet.
The car did have a problem with a fuel pump shaft that shut down the car on one of the runs and a computer timing glitch on another run, according to team spokesperson Jinx Vesco.
The vehicle is being driven by Eric Ritter, a new driver this year.
The team plans to return to the Southern California Timing Association’s World Finals at Bonneville Oct. 3 through 6. That event is open to the public. Though smaller than Speed Week, it draws many of the fastest cars because the cooler temperatures help create faster times.
Jinx Vesco said the salt course was a bit better than Speed Week due to careful grooming, but there were only four good miles due to deteriorating conditions.
“It is extremely rough after that,” she said. “The salt is disappearing at an alarming rate due to the mismanagement of the BLM [Bureau of Land Management]. The high speed vehicles are looking at other countries now for international record setting.”