Dennis Sullivan, president of the local Utah Salt Flats Racing Association, says, "We need thickness, length, purity. That's what we're battling for right now." The problems with the surface at Bonneville have been a hot topic for years, with racing fans, scientists and corporations all converging on the historic landmark in the early 1900s. Last year, heavy rains that flooded the area were to blame for Speed Week's cancelation. This year, rains have contributed to overall poor condition of the salt, but experts are at a loss to fully explain where the salt comes from or where it goes when it disappears.
If Speed Week organizers aren't able to find a seven-mile course in time for the event's planned start on August 8, there's a chance a smaller four-mile course will be used, or the event could once again be canceled. Perhaps a bigger concern, though, is whether or not the Bonneville Salt Flats are an appropriate place to continue holding land-speed contests, or if there's simply no other place where such an event could be held. In any case, with just three weeks until Speed Week, the clock is ticking fast.