Roy Lewis sits on top of his car as he waits for his crew to retrieve him after his first run during Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Lewis started building the car by hand in 1998 and returns to Speed Week every year in an attempt to break the land speed record for a diesel powered engine.
Bruce Watson (left) and Cameron Schmidt (right) work on the car’s dual 5.9 liter diesel engines toward the end of a day at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Most of the car was built from scratch, which can often lead to long hours in the pits troubleshooting various problems.
Salt is scooped out of the outer panels after a run down the 5 mile track. The car has the ability to pick up close to 80 pounds of salt during a single run and must have it’s panels cleaned out after each drive.
Chrispi Pestalozzi (left) and Doug Humble (right) fold parachutes into the back of the car before taking it to tech inspection. The car uses one parachute to slow itself under lower speeds, but will release a second if the car reaches about 300 mph. ALEX GOODLETT/Daily Herald
The yellow streamliner is rolled out to the track’s starting line several miles away from it’s pit. The track is five miles long, but has several miles of runout in order to give the drivers time to slow down from high speeds. Crowds often gather along the side of the track to spectate each day’s races.
One of the crew’s pillows is placed over the windshield of the car in order to help the temperature in it’s cockpit stay as cool as possible. intense heat often reflects of of the salt and heat exhaustion is a common occurrence among the drivers.
Spectators crowd around the yellow streamliner as it prepares to make it’s first run of the year. The car often draws a lot of attention due to it’s twin engines and unique design.
Roy Lewis is helped into the car at the starting line by his daughter and her fiance before a run down the track. Although many safety precautions are put in place to keep the drivers safe, the team takes every extra step to ensure Lewis’ safety before a run.
Roy Lewis rides on top of his car as it is towed out of the track area after it’s first run of the week at the Bonneville Salt Flats. During it’s first warm up run it reached speeds of 230 mph, but was still far off the current record.
The car sits striped of it’s bodywork in order for the crew to sweep out the salt and inspect it’s parts after a run. The front wheels were converted to carbon fiber because normal rubber is not rated to achieve the speeds at which the car is now capable. The wheels sits staggered in the front to keep the body as narrow as possible.
Doug Humble sweeps up salt after a run late in the day. The team finished the week early after a transmission problem led to a blown out engine. The car never reached the record but Lewis began talks of returning next year before even making it back home.