The 68th annual Speed Week provided Team Vesco with challenges as well as high expectations for future land speed records. TURBINATOR II arrived on the salt fully loaded with a new T55-L-712F turbine engine as well as the all new, state-of-the-art electronic control to manage fuel, traction, engine temperature, and provide emergency shut down.
Advanced Turbine Services and Arizona Turbine Technology also arrived with a full crew to operate and fine tune the new systems. These advances helped propel TURBINATOR II from an analog system into the digital world - making our goal of reaching 500+ MPH a likely reality.
Eager to test out the new turbine engine and fuel control technology, Team Vesco arrived two days early and zipped through inspection. We thank the BNI inspectors for their thoroughness and interest in our high speed turbine streamliner.
At the driver's meeting Rick was honored to be the recipient of the "Bob Higbee" award for his service and dedication to Land Speed racing and Save the Salt efforts.
Meanwhile back in the pits...
Crew begins to erect the three large tents.
Cliff attaches the tent poles.
Jean, Pinky, Lee, Bob and Bruce hang our sponsorship banners.
Elden and David of AZTT set up computer data systems in the air conditioned trailer.
Both cars are prepped and prepared for their runs. #444 is discovered to have an undetected broken head bolt calling for an engine change. TURBINATOR II is ready to run. Driver Dave Spangler does a fit check in the pits.
#444 crew prepares to install a second engine.
Glen and Rick help Dave with his fit check.
And on the starting line...
Team Vesco once again had two land speed record holder streamliners on the starting line.
Team Vesco crew pushes #111 to the starting line.
Driver Dave Spangler suits up for the ride.
Crew members make final checks.
Eric and Rick tighten the seat belts.
TURBINATOR II on course!
TURBINATOR II made a total of five runs, testing the new engine and electronic controls reaching a speed of over 352 mph. For the first time in decades a Vesco streamliner was plagued with parachute deployment problems. The rough quality of the race course caused our chute latches to open prematurely. We are now redesigning the mechinisms and will be ready for World of Speed!
#444 was troubled with engine issues. Our energetic crew managed to change engines out several times but was unable to make a successful qualifying run.
Driver Eric Ritter tests out the 'B' motor.
Chip makes sure all is set for Eric's run.
#444 developed a small oil leak cutting the run short of the goal.
Speed Week Candids
Team Vesco would like to thank the BNI officials and volunteers for a safe and efficiently run Speed Week. We know it takes hunders of hours to set up, run and clean up after such an event. There would be no Land Speed racing if it weren't for your dedication to the sport.
Thank you also to the Save the Salt Board and the Utah Alliance for bringing public awareness and congressional pressure on the enormous task of "saving the Bonneville Salt Flats." It is now or never - the preservation of salt flat racing depends on our sustained efforts.
And finally, we want to thank our family back home. They help shop for all the water & gator aide at Costco, watch our house, and take care of our dog! Thanks!