Behind The Scenes>> A Pinch Of Salt And A Cup Of Speed

When Linhbergh asked me to cover Speedweek with him at Bonneville, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It would be my first time on the salt.

I had no idea such a magical place existed. The sunrise was something to look forward to every morning.

As soon as we landed in Salt Lake City we hit the ground running. We headed straight to the salt flats.

Some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen surrounded us as we made the two hour drive.

This was our set of wheels for the week. It worked great as an escape from the intense heat.

I could not pull out my camera gear fast enough to shoot all the amazing cars I have never seen before.

This is Linhbergh doing his "I told you this is amazing!" walk.

We decided to explore after we finished shooting a few cars.

I had never driven on salt before.

As we explored further and further the salt got softer and softer. Before we knew it, we were stuck.

The sensation was like driving on fresh snow.

So instead of waiting for help we decided to walk to the nearest sign of civilization.

Luckily after a long hike, we found some very nice people to take us to the Spectre performance pits.

Everyone had a good laugh at us. We figured they could just push us out with their dually pusher.

It was not hard to spot our rental car since we were the only ones stupid enough to get it stuck out in the soft moist salt.

The salt was so incredibly soft that our rescue vehicle almost got stuck.

A few tries later, we got our little Chevy out without getting the dually stuck.

Finally, we could get back to speedhunting!

I really like how cars are just parked alone on the salt in the open.

Photographers gather non stop to take photos til the owners decide to pull away.

It also amazes me how much these guys spend on their cars just to get it covered in salt.

I don't blame them. It is the look they are going for and it is quite a becoming look.

What also amazed me is the history this place has. I met quite a few photographers who have been coming to Bonneville before I was even born. What is even more amazing is I met drivers who have been racing on the salt even before my parents were born.

I don't get star struck that often having photographed countless celebrities but I was all smiles to find Japanese motorcycle fabricator, Shinya Kimura, from Chabot Engineering, on the salt posing for a few photographs.

I think he is so cool. Even his van was cool.

Linhbergh and I got really good at shooting out of a moving car.

There is a 5 mile stretch of salt that is coned off as a temporary road.

Spectators and competitors use this road to come and go on the salt.

We drove up and down the road just looking for cool cars while shooting out the windows.

The busiest area was on the starting line.

This is were you will find crazy creations, like this Fiat 500. It's not so little anymore.

This is the Spectre performance streamliner. Last year they went 408mph.

This year they came out to break records in as many classes as possible. They brought multiple engines for the different displacement classes they are looking to break records in.

Meet Kenny Hoover. He has some big guns for a guy his age. He needs them to keep this beast under control. The cockpit is so small that his entire body is compressed just sitting there.

The starting line is also where you will see cars get pushed by a push vehicle. These top speed cars have such a long first gear that they can not start from a stand still.

It requires skill to make sure everything goes right. This Camaro almost ran into it's push vehicle after it got really sideways when he hit the gas.

Not all cars needed a push vehicle. I got a taste of the salt when this one launched off the line.

Racing at Bonneville is unlike any other form of racing in the world. I think I would make a great salty shoe scraper.

There are so many people to support the drivers before they take off for a speed run. The starter personally tightens everyone's harness before every run.

The starter is the last person the driver sees before he goes for his very dangerous top speed run.

As the day was coming to an end, dark clouds rolled in from the east.

Before we left for our hotel, I spotted this awesome Datsun truck. It's strange how everything looks better on the salt.

I think this truck has seen its fair share of Speedweeks.

It started to rain as soon as we left. I wondered if the speedway will just turn into a giant lake.

The next morning, I was surprised to see how dry it was.

With the exception of a few places of course.

I decided to walk the pits a little bit and see what this place had to offer. This scene reminds me of a drag racing paddock.

It was weird to see the majority of cars running shiny dish type hub caps. They looked like the underside of a shiny cooking wok.

A few cars stood out to me over the rest. Mostly because I can relate to them. How often do you see a 240SX with a parachute?

Under the hood was a 2.0L Pontiac inline four that produced 250WHP.

This 20 year old car ran 160mph in the 2.0L naturally aspirated class.

I decided to escape from the heat a bit while trying to get a few shots at the end of the course.

This was the resulting shot.

Linhbergh caught a bit of salt fever after being at Bonneville.

He wanted to do his own speed run so we found a vehicle just laying around.

He never could hit the goal of 4 mph. The salt is challenging.

I tried as well but failed like Homer.

Everything about Bonnivlle is amazing. It really is hard not to get "good stuff."

You can literally just point your camera and fire blindly at rusty cars and you will end up with shots like this.

I will never forget my first Speed week at Bonneville. The sunrise is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It makes me sad when I was told the salt is disappearing. 50 years ago the salt was 3 feet deep. Now it's just a few inches. Salt mining companies in the area sell the salt for a profit. All you Speedhunters out there better make a trip to Bonneville before the salt disappears forever.

Larry


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