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History Bonneville vs. El Mirage VS. Daytona Beach

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hyfire, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232

    Hyfire
    Member

    Hello guys,

    I'm trying to get a handle on the differences between these three events during the 1950's.

    How the courses relate and differ. How speeds relate and differ. How the environments and conditions relate and differ.

    THANKS!
    Josh
     
  2. BillWallace
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 132

    BillWallace
    Member

    They were in different states. That's not a smart allic answer because that made a difference. El mirage really was where hot rodding began & it was a dry lake bed home to southern California speed shop & equipment folks from Harry Miller to Vic Edelbrock. Bonneville replaced El Mirage as a peddle to the metal hot rod place & invited along anyone from any place. Daytona beach became the Detroit place to show the world what Iron engines & Factory engineering could do with grandmas Ford or Chevy.
     
  3. Grahamsc
    Joined: May 13, 2014
    Posts: 466

    Grahamsc
    Member
    from Colorado

    Daytona actually predates the other 2 as a place to set land speed records.
    By the 1950s daytona had become what was already mentioned a place for detroit to show what they could do.
     
  4. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232

    Hyfire
    Member

    So Bonneville was "faster" than El Mirage due to surface traction and smoothness... Correct? How does Daytona compare to each?

    And how did the different altitudes affect things?


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  5. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    RichFox
    Member Emeritus

    Bonneville is way longer than either of the others. Muroc is very long, but the Air Force wants to keep it for them selves
     
  6. Jan 28, 1904 92.299 MPH Mercedes 90 William .K. Vanderbuilt Daytona Beach
    4-cylinder in-line
    The salt flats were first used for motor sports in 1912, but did not become truly popular until the 1930s when Ab Jenkins and Sir Malcolm Campbell competed to set land speed records
    Back to at least the early '30s--hot rodding and top-speed racing happened on Southern California's dry lakebeds such as Harper, Rosamond and Muroc (now within Edwards Air Force Base), and El Mirage.
     
  7. 65pacecar
    Joined: Sep 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,649

    65pacecar
    Member
    from KY, AZ

  8. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232

    Hyfire
    Member

    So Bonneville is strictly Flying Mile...

    Daytona was both Flying Mile and Standing Mile.

    El Mirage is a one way 1.3 mile run?

    Is this correct? And how do they rank against each other in difficulty achieving speeds??? And why?


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  9. Grahamsc
    Joined: May 13, 2014
    Posts: 466

    Grahamsc
    Member
    from Colorado

    Glenn curtiss was the fastest man on earth in 1907 on his v8 motorcycle.
    He did it on Daytona/Ormon beach Fla.
    Last I did the math , that was more than 100
     
  10. 59 brook
    Joined: Jun 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,017

    59 brook
    Member

    i think Malcolm Cambell was running on the beach of daytona in the '20's
    fyi in ormond beach just north of daytona is the birthplace of speed museum
     
  11. Grahamsc
    Joined: May 13, 2014
    Posts: 466

    Grahamsc
    Member
    from Colorado

    I reread my first post for typo's and since both statements are still correct I accept your apology.
     
  12. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    RichFox
    Member Emeritus

    If you apply yourself a little bit, you can read the SCTA and USFRA rule books to find the difference between Bonneville and El Mirage. USFRA 130 club is a 1 mile event I believe. Also the altitude of either place compared to Daytona is pretty self evident. Throw in wet sand and the natural beach slope and you have a lot of what you asked for. Why do you ask?
     
  13. Grahamsc
    Joined: May 13, 2014
    Posts: 466

    Grahamsc
    Member
    from Colorado

    And you called my statements wrong , which they are not.
    What does the OP's question have to do with it.
    Any way you apologised I accepted ,its over.
     
  14. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 7,032

    Special Ed
    Member

    No sense in letting this thread die simply because of other member's inability to understand and answer your questions. Here's what I know (a little more than some, a little less than others on here ...)
    DURING THE FIFTIES ...
    1) Bonneville (Utah) is a very LONG straight course made from a FLAT dry salt lake bed, and was (and still is) only open to racing for a very few weeks out of the entire year. It is where you went (from all over the world) to set land speed records.
    2) El Mirage, a FLAT dry dirt lake bed, is within an hour or two drive from the greater Los Angeles area (where hot rodding was, of course, very popular), and during the fifties was basically open year-round (weather permitting). It's length was longer than any drag strip, but not as long as Bonneville.
    3) Daytona (because of encroaching development during the fifties) was used mostly for running stock cars, and as an oval track, and was toast by 1959, as that's when the speedway there opened. Running four hundred plus miles an hour on damp sand while dodging beachgoers is not exactly conducive to keeping control of a vehicle.

    Three distinctly different "tracks", with (during the fifties) three distinctly different types of racing. Now that I've posted this, I'm certain you will get plenty of clarifications and corrections. Sometimes, that's just how it works in here ... ;) Rich Fox would be an authority, as are a handful of others, so pay attention to their responses. I hope you get the answers that you are seeking.
     
  15. choptop4
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 663

    choptop4
    Member

    Last time at El Mirage, it was 1.2 miles long.It's like racing in a plowed field.Bonneville (the short course) was 5 miles.It was so nice ,I drove with one hand ,rested the other on the shifter.Cheers
     
  16. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,460

    296ardun
    Member

    You refer to the '50s. the SCTA started their Bonneville trials in 1949. At the time, hot rodders praised the choice because El Mirage was seen as deteriorating and increasingly unsafe (this from publications like Hop Up, HRM, etc.). Still, the SCTA held monthly meets at El Mirage, usually starting in April and ending in November, sort of like now. Bonneville was a once-a-year deal held initially on the Labor Day weekend (it was later moved to deconflict with the NHRA Nationals, because some hot rodders ran both). Now there are two Bonneville time trials (fortunately because this year the first got rained out). Daytona did have speed trials on the beach (hot rodders like Art Chrisman, Wally Parks, Alex Xydias and the SoCal streamliner timed there, for example), but I think that beach time trials largely ended in the late '50s.
    Bonneville is faster because it is longer, but even if El Mirage was as long, it is doubtful that the really fast streamliners would run more than 1.3 miles there, over 350mph on dirt would not be a ride that most drivers would not want to take. The real difference is clay versus salt.

    Like Ed said, Rich Fox is an authority, but so is Ed...(I have only spectated, never raced there, so defer to the guys who have).
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  17. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    RichFox
    Member Emeritus

    I don't know how many passes i have made at El Mirage. Quite a few. Everyone was or at least started out to be, 1.3 miles. 3/8thX3/8th Ardun is correct about the course on the dirt being way rougher than the salt. When possible there are 2 SCTA meets at Bonneville, as well as the WoS meet of USFRA and this year the 3 mile tune up meet. Also the Cook Shootout which can go to a 10 mile course. With the last 2 or 3 miles for shutdown. I think last year the #4 course at SpeedWeek was 1 or 2 miles (your choice) with 1 mile for shutoff. At SpeedWeek we had 5 miles under power and 2 miles shut down. When we were able to run at Muroc we had 1.5 miles + shutoff. Softer dirt than El Mirage. That's pretty much all i know about it. On a good year i have smoked the tires at Bonneville. On a bad year it's slush.
     
  18. firingorder1
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 2,147

    firingorder1
    Member

    I've run El Mirage and Bonnevile albeit at much slower speeds than most. El Mirage surface varies depending on how much rain there is over the winter and how the winds blow it around when drying. If it dries too fast it gets the "potato chip" effect and it breaks up very easily. If, over the winter, it floods and dries and repeats this cycle a few times you can have a smooth hard surface that stand up. Its 1.3 miles to the lights. El Mirage is not a big lake bed and that's as long as it can be to run safely. there have been a couple of 300+ mph runs there.

    Bonneville runs three courses. Four if count the course they use for rookie runs. I'm not fast enough to run the long course. I believe the long course timing starts at the three mile, four mile and five mile. The short course timing starts at the one mile mark to the two and you can go to the three mile if you want. Top speed is measured at the 2 1/4 mark. There is also a "combo" long/ short course.

    Speeds vary depending on the course conditions. When the salt is hard you fly. When its wet it slows you a bit. El Mirage is similar. Hard = fast. Cut up = loss of a few mph. Wind can be a factor at El Mirage. Head winds kill ya. Tailwinds are free HP. And crosswinds suck.

    I've never been to Daytona and have only seen photos. Nor have I run USFRA or BUB. So I can't comment. After the unfortunate wash out of SpeedWeek I'm looking forward to World Finals (burning offerings to the rain gods that they may smile on us this time).
     
  19. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232

    Hyfire
    Member

    Thank you guys. The thread got a little sideways, but got right back on track... Thanks!

    Rich, I'm asking because I've been asked to contribute to 2 magazine articles on a related subject. I've talked to a few 1950's Daytona Beach drivers who have described their runs from inside the car. I was surprised by how serene they describe it and wondered how the Bonneville and El Mirage experience compares? Obviously by some of the answers, El Mirage isn't the same.

    Also, they mentioned that they thought the altitude, heat and environment would make for a very different experience. I wanted to see if that was true?

    Also, I wanted to know course differences. For example if Bonneville is Flying Mile, Daytona Flying & standing and so on.... Maybe the difficulty of each type.

    Ed & guys.... the info helps a lot. THANK YOU!


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  20. Hyfire
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 1,232

    Hyfire
    Member

    Thanks guys... I appreciate it.


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  21. Mike
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 3,535

    Mike
    Member

    I've found that running at Bonneville and El Mirage to be the same. You are aware of all the noise and vibration going on all around you, but you become very focused on the task at hand (driving the race car), so all of that kind of disappears and any nervousnes or apprehension (sp) goes away. I've found that most runs seem actually quite peaceful.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  22. boo
    Joined: Jul 6, 2005
    Posts: 566

    boo
    Member
    from stuart,fl.

    couple years ago on our way to bonnivlle my buddies and i attended a meteor shower party at the black rock desert [playa] in northern nevada. the speeds run there are higher than anywhere in the US ,754mph. an amazing place, there are no rules ,you just go and run. the party we were at was inside a large circle of our cars with lights on poles around the perimiter. i asked why the circle and lights? we had to sleep inside the circle so at night if someone was running at high speed they would see the lights or hit the cars befor they ran through the party. was a wild crazy bunch.
     
  23. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,152

    Relic Stew
    Member
    from Wisconsin

    Here is a tube video of the NASCAR beach racing.

     

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