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Sooke’s Shawn Driver likes going fast. Really fast.
Shawn Driver is returning to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, and this time he hopes to push his 1953 Studebaker Coupe up to 300 mph.
It will be Driver’s 13th trip to the Salt Flats Speed Week, and the third time he will participate as one of the hundreds of intrepid car enthusiasts from around the world in a quest to qualify for ever-faster speed records.
But a little background is in order.
The Bonneville Salt Flats are a singular location for car enthusiasts and particularly for those who like to go fast. Really fast.
Imagine a landscape so flat that some have claimed they can see the curvature of the planet. It’s so barren that not even the simplest life forms can survive.
People have been coming to this location in Utah since 1912 but these days it’s not just a matter of showing up and hitting the accelerator.
A Canadian coast-to-coast drive in a rare Barris-built bird
A full-on “kustom” lead sled, no less, a two-door with a heavy chop, louvered hood, frenched headlights, dual frenched antennas, a custom grille with extra teeth, rear fender skirts, Moon discs and wide whitewall tires, all of it crowned by a bold splash of white-hot flames spilling back off the hood over the well-worn black paint.
Who would even consider driving a slammed Merc from one side of the country to the other when the weather forecasts are full of reports of an early blanket of snow spanning the Prairies?
Apparently, these two..
Sooke racer hits speed of 468 km/h on salt flats
Shawn Driver didn’t even plan to be in the U.S. when the World Finals took place at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah this fall.
Despite what the name suggests, the World Finals – which takes place over four days – is a smaller event than Bonneville Speed Week – about 600 drivers attend Speed Week in August, while 100 go to the World Finals in September.
But an unfortunate transmission failure during Speed Week meant Driver and his team missed out on the record they were trying to set in the Altered Coupe class. He left the car, a 1953 Studebaker, in storage, in Utah.
With Driver’s car failing, another team broke his record, and Driver wanted it back. Luckily because the World Finals are in September, conditions are cooler, and the salt is harder.
Driver and his partner Donna (Miss Daisy) Gray travelled back up to their welding and car parts shop in Sooke, with plans to return for the World Finals a month later, the first time they would ever attend the event.
Bonneville Salt Flats