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Speed Week 2016 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, in Wendover, Utah, was one to remember for the high speed faithful who have not had a “Speed Week” in August for two years due to Mother Nature. The weather for Speed Week 2016, August 13-20, was for the most part fantastic, save for high winds on Monday, August 15, that shut down the course(s) early that evening.
For the most part the weather was the usual cool mornings and suddenly 90-degree temps in the afternoon that had everyone basically existing in hair-dryer like temps till sundown. The 25-mph-plus gusting winds on Monday afternoon just persisted and the course officials did a magnificent job of keeping everyone safe.
Danny Thompson, son of the legendary Mickey Thompson.
The big buzz of the event was everyone knowing that Danny Thompson, the son of racing legend Mickey Thompson, was there to better his dad’s top speed of 406.6 MPH. Mickey achieved that speed on September 9, 1960, but an engine failure in “Challenger I” prevented a back-up run for a new Land Speed official record.
Some 56 years later, Danny Thompson, a great racer in his own right, did his dad proud with and off the trailer performance of 411.191 MPH on Saturday morning, on the first day of Speed Week. His car went straight to impound and his team set to work preparing the car for a historic run the next morning.
It must be noted here that Danny Thompson’s team at Speed Week was phenomenal. They worked in concert like a seasoned NHRA Top Fuel car team. Everyone knew exactly what their job was and they did it flawlessly. They had the car ready in a matter of hours after the first run, wrapped it up like a submarine sandwich, and it sat peacefully under wraps in the impound overnight.
On Sunday morning, August 14, Danny and his team fired the car up just after daybreak at close to 6:20 a.m. Keep in mind no one was allowed in the pits before 6AM, so these guys were crisp early! Before 7 a.m. they had the car in the staging lanes for the long course.