Gardner Nears Land-Speed Record
California sprint car driver Damion Gardner stands on the verge of history as he attempts to establish a sprint car land-speed record on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats.
Gardner’s final run on Tuesday saw him cruise by the clocks at more than 185 mph and the magical 200 mph pass could take place as early as Wednesday.
After earning his class “D” license with a speed of 137.318 on Monday, Gardner and the “Green Demon” crew were primed and ready for another shot at the class “C” license with a pass of below 170 mph on Tuesday. Their original attempt at that speed on Monday was curtailed by an oil leak.
Gardner’s target speed was 165 mph and like Monday, he was going to have to do it off the tachometer. However, the early morning optimism was short-lived as the engine would not fire when pushed off for the first pass of the day. The team took the car back in line and as it inched forward towards another pass, the Gardner, Steve “Biggie” Watt crew poured over the “Green Demon” trying to resolve the problem. Further complicating matters was the sizzling temperature that had reached 100 degrees.
The team was able to locate the problem that was in the electrical system. They managed to get it fixed before it was Gardner’s turn to take on the hallowed salt course again. However, there was still a bit of apprehension as rules prohibit bumping off and testing, so when he got ready to go, the slender racer had no idea whether the “Green Demon” would actually fire or not.
Nervousness was quickly eased when the car roared to life and swiftly accelerated down the course with a speed of 163.701 mph at mile three. The “Demon” was the now the proud holder of a class “C” license.
When Loudpedal Productions Mike Truex queried Gardner on what was up next, the black haired driver did not miss a beat.
“Let’s go faster,” he said with his familiar grin. He grabbed his timing slip and certification from the timing stand and there was only one thing on his mind. Get back in line and do it again!
The final run of the day was at 5:20 p.m. and it was for his class “B” license. The required speed was to stay under the cherished 200 mph barrier. Gardner confidently targeted a speed of 185 mph and the “Green Demon” performed flawlessly with a speed of 185.195.
Gardner has impressed the Bonneville officials and his class “B” license allows him to move to one of the longer courses so he can attempt to run at speeds over 200 mph, but less than 250. Once he gets over the 200 mph barrier, he will earn his class “A” license.