Safety First. Speed Second.

Posted by Dana Craig August 30, 2011

Another year of Speed Week has come and gone and it was great fun as always. This year was special though because it was the inaugural year of Quickstone Racing running with their gas roadster. Everyday was an adventure, with the first day requiring a technical inspection of the car. The SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) and BNI (Bonneville Nationals, Inc.), the sponsors of Speed Week, publish a new rule book each year that's loaded with the requirements for qualifying a car in a particular class, licensing a driver, and ensuring safety.

It's easy to get excited about the speed and power of the cars, but safety really needs to be an equal, if not paramount, priority. Some of the safety equipment includes the following:

  • Nomex fire suit - you'll win no style points for these little gems, but they're an absolute necessity! 
  • HANS device - a head and neck restraint 
  • Arm, waist, and shoulder restraints
  • On-board fire extinguishers
  • Drag chute - sometimes 2 are used for the streamliners exceeding speeds of 300 mph

Driver's View

The technical inspectors not only ensure all these items are available and operational, but the driver (in this case, me) has to demonstrate the ability to exit the car in a timely manner. With all the restraints, bulky fire suit, and tight quarters, this can be a bit of a tricky task. We practiced in the pits several times before getting in line at tech. And not because we wanted to impress the inspectors with my speed and dexterity, but because we needed that peace of mind for ourselves.

It's like with anything you want to do well - focus first on the fundamentals, the rules, and non-negotiables. Once you have those mastered, you have the proper foundation to explore the possibilities.

If you're interested to see what driving on the salt is like, Spectre Performance posted some great live reports from Bonneville on YouTube.


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