When I shot this photo yesterday, I had no idea that it would be the last time that I'd ever lay eyes on the Dandy FC Bonneville racer.
The team came from Japan to America brimming with confidence, with improvements to the car that would fix the stability problems the car suffered in 2009.
Dandy Tanaka, wearing his customary 200 mph club shirt, was in great spirits.
The car was behaving beautifully. Licensing went smoothly for the new driver, Ray Shioi, with the car being rock solid and planted at 194 mph.
Here Dandy does a final system check before the car powers down the course.
I got a text from the team yesterday evening saying that the car rolled and was totaled. The driver was taken to a hospital in Salt Lake City, but has just been released and is on his way back to the Salt as I type this. The car was doing 240mph when it happened. This is terrible news for this privateer team who have worked tirelessly for several years to put this program together.
Thankfully Ray Shioi is OK and the rollcage did its job. But we're all a bit gutted, and no doubt Dandy must be upset, but that's motorsports I suppose. There are always blows to accompany the victories. Let's just hope they recover.
Here's a man that's seen it all in his years on the salt. This is Mike Nish, the pilot of the Royal Purple streamliner.
The team is enjoying a good run this year and are close to setting some new class records.
Here's an absolute monster… a 1950 Buick.
Why is the supercharger offset? Well it's connected to a straight eight engine that's why!
This unusual set up has pushed this juggernaut to speeds of 143 mph in the past. Hahaha… so cool!
Some spectators soaking up the action. Coming to the flats is as much about the car you drive to Bonneville as being at the event itself.
Mike Garrett often shows us the spectator cars at events, so I thought I'd have a look around too and lay eyes on this machine. This Rod is pure Traditional Style at its best.
I hear that people pay top dollar to achieve a patina look these days. This old delivery wagon looks pretty original. You can never tell though.
Yes! An old VW buggy. I'm old enough to remember when these were all the rage.
Fire on the horizon? Nope. It's a the exhaust smoke from a diesel-powered streamliner. The push car is in the shoot too if you can believe it.
Introducing Fierocious. It's an old P Car that is theoretically capable of 300 mph. We're trying to arrange a shoot with this cool retro machine. .
A quickly observed photographic moment.
And another rod hits the salt. This '27 Roadster "Lil Salt T" is powered by a 2L Ecotec 4 banger… of the blown variety.
There are many engine class options for the Roadsters. This example is running in a class for unblown flathead V8s.
And finally, let's look at one of the most famous machines running a campaign at Bonneville 2010. The "Blowfish" is a '69 Cuda built by the famous Hot Rod shop Rad Rides by Troy.
It aims to be the fastest door slammer on the planet (door slammer meaning a car that isn't a tube chassis silhouette and is vaguely production oriented).
The fabrication on this car is absolutely stunning.
Check out the engine setup. The 392 Hemi is running a single turbo. The engine put out 1380hp a 15lbs of boost on ethanol at 8500 rpm during dyno testing. That's serious, but the team aims to run 308 mph this week.
The boost is staged per gear selection BTW. By the time 5th gear is selected the turbo will be generating 20lbs of boost!
Check out the custom wheels… this is absolute perfection and points to the level of fabrication that Rad Rides by Troy is known for.
Last year the car hit 291.844 mph to take the C/BFCC class.
This year they are running in the B/BFCC class which allows for larger displacement engines. We'll be following their progress closely.
Off to the salt now.