Team Vesco's TURBINATOR II Set the fastest mile time in the 70 year history of Speed Week at 463.038 mph. The fastest record at 455.107 mph and the fastest exit speed at 470.605 mph. Team Vesco and driver Dave Spangler set up pits a day before racing began and stayed until the last possible moment to run at the end of Speed Week. At stake was the coveted "Hot Rod Magazine Top Time Trophy." This prize is awarded to the fastest mile recorded during the week. It can be won by a motorcycle, steam car, lakester, roadster virtually any legal entrant. This is the third time in 4 decades that Team Vesco has been the recipient. The first time was for Don Vesco's motorcycle time in the 1970s, again in 2001 for his run in the Turbinator and finally now for incredible speeds laid down by Dave Spangler in TURBINATOR II.
Hot Rod Magazine photo shoot.
Hot Rod interviews Rick Vesco
Hot Rod Magazine did a photo shoot and interviewwith Rick Vesco, designer & builder of record setting TURBINATOR II.
Speed Week 2018 saw some of the fastest times in nearly 20 years with Team Vesco's TURBINATOR II and driver Dave Spangler coming out on top and winning the "Holy Grail" of land speed racing - the Hot Rod Magazine Top Time Trophy. Three of the world's fastest land speed cars were in pursuit of the fastest flying mile time on the salt flats. Although the salt crust remains very thin, due to a dry winter it was hard enough to support high speed cars. The top three cars put down speeds of 448, 452 and 463 mph. In the end it was Team Vesco with the powerful Advanced Turbine Services (ATS) T-55-L-712 shaft gas turbine engine that set the fastest mile time and fastest record in Speed Week's 70 year history.
Historic Timing Slips
It takes many months of intensive work to prepare a high speed streamliner for Bonneville. Most of the work takes place in the Vesco shop in southern Utah. As Speed Week approaches each year, team members from near and far come to lend a hand with the preperations.
Team member Glen Barrett and Rick Vesco
Team member Buddy James helps with loading.
Cliff Scott from CA prepares onboard camera bracket.
James Gabl, systems engineer AZ, completes electrical wiring.
Complicated wiring necessary for the car's "fly by wire" systems.
Ken Braccio, Advanced Turbine Services, delivers new equipment for the turbine.
Rick installs some new connecting lines.
Setting up and Testing
Pit tents go up first.
Pit banners are next to display.
Rick and James prep car for warm up and final testing.
Software and systems engineer, Elden Crom checks connections.
Chip Brosseau keeps the starter "iced up" between starts.
Mike Sherwood starts up the turbine engine in the pits to check all systems before the first day of racing.
Speed Week 2018 began with Team Vesco setting up the pit area and run some final diagnostics on the powerful turbine engine. Several changes have been made since 2017 with an entirely new, patent pending aviation control system providing faster acceleration and an integrated traction control system, new GPS system, all new production tires from Mickey Thompson Tires, new shields to protect the tires from salt spray and erosion were also added. SCTA inspected the car and we were ready to race.
Rick shows Lee Kennedy the car.
TURBINATOR II made its first test run on Sunday. All systems checked out and driver Dave Spangler was well on his way to 400 mph. He clocked in at 385 mph on Sunday, 463.038 mph on Monday (best run) and 447.175 mph on Tuesday! His exit speed on Monday was a whopping 470.605 mph beating Don Vesco's 2001 Turbinator exit speed by .317 of a mile!
Glen Barrett takes the car to the starting line.
On the Starting Line with TURBINATOR II
The 470 mph Run!
SCTA Bill Lattin congratulates Dave and Team Vesco members Glen Barrett and Buddy James
Team camera tech, Cliff Scott gives the thumbs up while TURBINATOR II is in impound.
Team Vesco trucks arrive to load up the car & driver.
Race officials and Glen Barrett arrive first on the scene after the run.
Technical engineers Elden and James gather data from the run.
Eric helps driver out of the car.
Dave begins to smile after his spectacular run.
Jinx congratulates Rick on the successful run.
Karen Spangler gives husband Dave a big hug.
Hugs all around for Dave
Dave receives the "Black Hat" from 200 mph Clulb president, Dan Warner.
The Black Hat is awarded to those setting a record over 400 mph.