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Updated on May 03, 2012
The mad men behind a great new website called Hooniverse were kind enough to post a blog about the Bullitt Mustang video. Check it out here at Hooniverse.
The Silver State Classic
Fuel, Speed and Hookers
by Rob Krider
as published in Motoracing Magazine December 2008
We all want to drive fast. We don’t buy cars that have 300 plus horsepower so we can do battle with overweight single moms vying for a parking space in front of Wal-Mart. We want to find an open road and hold that right pedal down to the floor as long as we can. We want to feel pure unadulterated speed. Of course, we want all of that while avoiding possible jail time. It’s tough to find this balance. That is, unless you’re in Nevada.
That’s right, the same state that allows gambling and prostitution allows driving with no speed limit on a public road. God bless that state’s legislature.
The Silver State Classic Open Road Race is held every September for those fool enough to climb into a car and go pedal to the metal on 90 miles of closed highway. There are no rumble strips, no catch fences or “safer barriers,” just you going well over a hundred miles an hour amongst the coyotes and the jagged rock walls. It sounds just dangerous enough to be cool, so I had to do it.
The Silver State Classic is no place for four cylinder cars with glow in the dark shift knobs, stereo speakers shaped like nitrous bottles and airplane wing spoilers. This is a sacred place of torque and horsepower. I left the Sentra SE-R at home and started prepping the auto-x killer Bullitt Mustang. I needed a navigator for the race so I informed my friend of all the strip clubs he could hang out at while we were in Vegas. Like any good man faced with the proposition of women and speed, he was instantly on board.
The Bullitt Mustang was an obvious choice. It only seemed fitting to scream along the open road at speeds ludicrously above the speed limit in a car based on the quintessential cool car guy, Steve McQueen. In 2001, Ford built a limited edition number of hopped up Mustangs styled after the ’68 machine Steve McQueen jumped over hills in San Francisco (reportedly while he was high on heroin) as he filmed the cult car chase movie, Bullitt. Using the car in a race like the Silver State Classic is what Steve would have wanted.
To get past the tech inspection Gestapo we needed to add a few safety items to the car. We pilfered some five point harnesses out of other racecars nobody was driving for a couple of weekends and bolted a fire extinguisher to the floorboard. I bought the cheapest fire resistant driving suit I could find (G-Force $85.00, what a bargain). We installed a rallye computer so we could watch our average speed and then yanked a handheld GPS off the handlebars of a buddy’s mountain bike as a back up to the rallye computer. We grabbed two stop watches, a police scanner to listen to the safety crews and threw a radar detector up on the dash. The number one rule from the Silver State promoters is “anyone who gets a speeding ticket within one week of the event is disqualified.” This stiff rule is to keep racers from “testing” their cars or “learning the course” at speed. We would never do such a thing, but the radar detector turned out to be an absolute must have item which in the end kept us eligible to race. Enough said.
Because I was a rookie to the Silver State, I was required to go through a driver’s school at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway a few days before the event. Navigators weren’t required to have any training so while I went to race school my partner went to Scores in Vegas. It turned out that hour for hour, lap dances at Scores cost a lot more money than laps around the track at Derek Daily’s racing school.
During the school, an instructor got up in front of the classroom and gave us this little pep talk, “You are entering the most dangerous motorsport event in the world.” He looked at me specifically and said, “Son, that cheap ass driver’s suit you’re wearing will last you about a total of three seconds in a car fire.” Good to know. I made a mental note: avoid catching the car on fire.
The driving portion of the school was fun as we got to hot lap our cars around the LVMS road course. The Silver State Classic brings out some wild cars and even wilder characters. There were two twin turbocharged Dodge Vipers with dyno rated motors of over one thousand horsepower each. A Japanese drift team was there in a sick 350Z and thought to bring a Japanese TV film crew with them but forgot to bring an interpreter. There was a Eurotrash guy who bought a custom five hundred horsepower 1969 Camaro Z28 sight unseen on eBay. He flew over from Europe, picked up the car in Los Angeles and drove straight to Vegas for the race. All of these cars and characters were on the road course at the same time doing their best to rip up concrete and narrowly avoid each other. I really didn’t want to rub paint with any of the many Z06 Corvettes recklessly sliding around the track, as I was pretty sure my insurance wouldn’t cover any damage caused on the racecourse. Hello Geico?
The Bullitt Mustang emerged from the racing school unscathed, but my on track antics of trying to teach old guys in expensive fast cars that young guys in cheaper, slower cars are actually faster, completely toasted the tires. The tech guys informed me the car needed new rubber before the race started. They also informed me that the angle that I bolted in the 5 point harnesses was “no bueno.” I would need to have a fabrication shop build some better mounting points or the car wouldn’t compete. I drove around the industrial park which surrounds Las Vegas Motor Speedway and found a shop who would fix my seatbelt problem. The shop was called, and I’m not making this up, Fast and Furious. They were neither fast nor furious, and six hours and three hundred cash later, I had seatbelt mounts that were two degrees different than the previous mounts I had. Whatever, at least I would pass tech – that was if I could find a tire shop and get some Z rated tires.
It was Friday and nearly 5 o’clock before I finally got out of the fabrication shop. I was hauling ass through Las Vegas, frantically looking for a tire shop that was still open. No tires meant no race. I found a place that was foolish enough to forget to lock the front door at closing time. I waved around the universal sign for I need help, hundred dollar bills, and I got four Yokohamas. The tire boys in the back had already started their Friday night routine of sitting on the lift rack and drinking some beers. I threw twenties in everyone’s pockets and pleaded with them to make sure these were the four most balanced tires they have ever mounted on a car. I needed the guys to overcome their blood alcohol level enough to concentrate on the task at hand as my tires would be going over a hundred miles an hour for an hour straight, and I didn’t want any problems. The cold hard cash seemed to sober everyone up, I hoped. Nevertheless, I had tires.
The racing school was in Las Vegas, technical inspection was in Vegas, the host hotel, Sam’s Town, was in Vegas, and the awards ceremony was in Vegas, but I soon found out that nothing about the Silver State Classic race had anything to do with Vegas. The race is in Ely, Nevada, far, far, far, from the lights and glamour of Vegas. We traded in Scores’ strip club for a desolate, one stoplight town with a population of three thousand.
After miles of traveling to Ely, which included running through the 90 mile racecourse backward, the front of the Bullitt was covered in all kinds of dead insects, some of which looked like something from the X-files. The good news was the local high school cheerleading squad hosted a car wash for all the Silver State cars. For ten bucks you could stand beside your car like a pedophile and watch underage girls in bikinis scrub off insect carcasses. If that didn’t do it for you there was always the girls’ mothers who were close by, some of which still had most of their teeth.
The town of Ely has two things going for it: the annual Silver State Classic race and whore houses (they prefer the word ‘brothels’). We were introduced to some of the local professional talent during the pre-race car show where they handed out the “Hookers Choice” award. Unfortunately, the Bullitt didn’t win. I know it’s hard to believe, but out of all of the cars: Ferraris, Panteras, Porches, the ladies chose to give the award to a Corvette with gold wheels and a flake paint job.
My navigator navigated his way up to one of the girls and was making pretty good time with her until she introduced him to her six year old son. Apparently, the boy’s a big fan of the car show. Interestingly enough, his birthday is in June, nine months after the Silver State race; I’m guessing he’s probably looking for his father amongst the annual competitors. That was inspiration enough to keep my navigator’s mind on the race and off of the hunnies.
We went out to the course late at night and did some testing (at the speed limit due to an incredibly large police presence, thank you radar detector) and found that the accuracy of the rallye computer was total crap compared to that of the GPS unit. My navigator went to plan B and we would rely on the GPS time and distance readings and a programmable TI-83 calculator to make sure we ran at an accurate pace. The Silver State Classic is actually two kinds of races, all out speed, or average speed. Our Mustang was by no means going to break the all out world record of over 200 miles an hour over 90 miles, but the Bullitt could sustain high speed. We entered the 100 mile an hour class and had the task of making sure when we crossed the finish line our average speed was exactly that, 100 miles an hour. We could go faster some places, and slower some places as long as it all added up to a 100 mile an hour average at the end. Admittedly, racing for an average speed had a lot less to do with balls and machismo as it had to do with nerdy math calculations. Of course, how many nerds do algebra while sitting in the right front seat of a car traveling at over a hundred miles an hour? It’s a cool nerd who can do that. Lucky for me, my friend and navigator was one of those cool nerds.
Finally, after all of the forms, the preparation, the inspections, the driver’s meetings, and the loss of cash, the moment of the big race finally arrived. Hundreds of fast beautiful machines lined the side of the highway, awaiting their chance to tear up the open road. Competitors were spaced out in thirty second increments. As the start approached, I was feeling butterflies stirring in my stomach. My navigator was in the passenger seat of the Mustang totally asleep. I smacked him to wake him up and told him to put on his helmet. We had a race to win. How could he sleep at a time like that?
The starting line had a count down clock. We rolled up to the line and the moment the clock hit zero I punched the gas, smoking the rear Yokohamas as my navigator simultaneously activated two stop watches and the GPS. We blasted down the highway with that Ford V-8 screaming. We quickly learned that with the motor revving, the wind noise at over a hundred and our racing helmets on, we couldn’t hear each other to communicate. We spent the next ninety miles yelling at each other like an old married couple.
As we hauled ass down the highway, we passed Elliott Sadler’s #38 M&M NASCAR Nextel Cup car broken down on the side of the highway. There were a number of other entries which were parked along the highway with blown motors and blown tires. We pressed on and caught up with a C3 Vette, which for some reason began to slow. We were coming up on him fast when smoke suddenly started to billow from under the Vette. The Vette lunched a motor (obviously not running Mobil 1 like us). The driver was obviously looking at his gauges and not his mirrors because he suddenly stopped dead in the road while we were closing on him at about one-twenty. I swerved into the opposing lane narrowly missing the ailed Corvette and narrowly crapping my pants. The ghost of Steve McQueen was looking out for his Bullitt Mustang on that one. My navigator was looking at the calculator and missed the whole thing. Lucky for him.
Part of the course was a ten mile straight away where you could really put some speed down. We found that speed is relative to your environment and even though we were well over a hundred, it was so desolate out there that after a few minutes it felt as if we were just cruising down the freeway at the posted limit. Another part of the course, aptly named the narrows, was a two mile section of twisty curves surrounded by car crushing rock walls. A number of Silver State competitors have found their demise in the narrows, something we were hoping to avoid. We went into the narrows with time to spare and took it slow (around 90), conservatively navigating the switchbacks with ease. About eighty percent through the dangerous section my navigator announced, “Hit it, we’re losing speed!” The last portion of the narrows I did at a bowel shaking 110 plus, squealing the Yokohamas and using every bit of roadway through the corners available.
As the finish line approached, my navigator was crunching numbers on the calculator as fast as he could to tell me if we needed to slow down, speed up, or stay the course. Finally we decided to do nothing and we went through the finish line with the cruise control set at a hundred miles an hour even. When was the last time you drove with your cruise control set at a hundred? After we parked the Stang, my navigator, who was happy to be alive, jumped out of the car, ripped his helmet off, and yelled out to everyone around us, “Where are all the hookers at?” A line he ripped off from the movie Cannonball Run but was quite appropriate to the demographic of our location.
After everyone who was going to finish did, (some broke down, a few crashed, luckily this year nobody was killed) we drove our cars back to Las Vegas for the awards ceremony to either feel the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. The large atrium at Sam’s Town had a great bar which was quickly filled with racers. Everyone had a story to tell: near misses (like ours with the Corvette), tires which lost their balancing weights at over a hundred and fifty miles an hour (can you say paint shaker?), dead batteries in GPS units or calculators (sixty thousand dollar car and you were too cheap to buy new batteries for the calculator?) and brakes that caught on fire at the finish line burning the car to the ground (better get Maaco). Beers, bench racing and bullcrap flowed for hours at the Sam’s Town bar after the race. It was probably the best part of the entire Silver State experience.
The award ceremony was all Vegas with two beautiful ladies dressed in short skirts to hand out the trophies as well as hugs and kisses to the winners of each class. The trophies were gorgeous silver platters. When our class came up during the announcements we learned that we were on the podium. We won third place after finishing just 32 hundredths of a second from perfect time. We also got the Rookie of the Race award for being the most accurate team out of all the crazy bastards we went to racing school with. I guess there really is something to be said for beginner’s luck.
In conclusion, we went to Vegas, got lap dances, went over a hundred miles an hour, kissed the trophy girl and came home victorious. Not a bad trip. We also spent cubic dollars, destroyed a set of tires, and had a fabrication shop drill holes in the floorboard of my limited edition Bullitt Mustang. Oh well, excess, that’s Las Vegas and that’s the Silver State Classic. So if beautiful women and high speed interest you, then I’ll see you next year at the Silver State Classic.
THE KRIDER RACING BULLITT WENT ON TO DOMINATE THE WEST COAST SOLO 2 (AUTO-X) SCENE WINNING NUMEROUS NATIONAL TOURS AND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Read Rob Krider's "Racer Boy" blog about autocrossing the Bullitt at Speed Sport Life.
No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. This is exactly what it looks like. It's a washing machine full of beer. Natty Light beer to be exact. It's the coolest washing machine in the world, no contest. This bad boy helps get Krider Racing projects done. Just watch out for the spin cycle.
Krider Racing gets all its racing gear from I/O Port Racing Supplies
All Krider Racing cars are made to look good by Figstone Graphics
All Krider Racing transmissions are done by Napa Valley Transmissions
All Krider Racing cars are chassis dyno tuned
at Performance In-Frame Tuning.
All Krider Racing uniforms are embroidered by Jackey.
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Displaying entries 1-5 of 7
Nice Stang. Usin it for some real stuff.
great ride, great page, great story.. definately 5*****
Hey, just ALEX, checking out your sweet car. I like how it looks, so I gave you 5***** stars! How long have you had it, and do you plan on keeping it for a while? Let me know, keep me updated! Check out my MAZDA Protege 2004 sometime!
Great 'stang!! Check out my rides and comment, please!!
WELCOME , NICE RIDE MY FRIEND
CHECK OUT THE MY RIDE AND RATE IT PLEASE...
5 STARS FOR YA'
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