Automotive journalist, author of literally hundreds of books, former director of the NHRA Motorsports and World of Speed Museums and all-around fascinating guy and friend of the Gearheads, Tony Thacker stops by. We talk about the wild and crazy 1970’s car mags, trading cookies for access to the Ferrari plant and design studio, and make some Monty Python references, too.
Ever since I was a kid, I loved land speed racing. Guys like Gary Gabelich, Mickey Thompson, Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons seemed “otherworldly” in their quest to go faster than anyone. As I grew older, I decided there was some goals I needed to chase in this amazing form of “free-for-all” motorsports and this version definitely had my name written all over it. I decided to build a streamliner and go play with some crazy guys and girls and chase some crazy records.
Just off I-80, make a right, pass the gas station, and keep driving until the road ends. As soon as the hauler’s tires leave the hot pavement and touch the sacred salt of Bonneville, it’s like a boxer entering the ring for the championship fight. All the long hours of preparation are over. Danny Thompson and his crew are ready to rumble.
The red truck approached and the girls knew it too and it seemed like they anticipated my disappointment. So instead I focused on how far we’ve come and how close we are and feel the pride and accomplishment in that. The timing slip confirmed the speed of 81.577mph, only 1.424mph off the record…