Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.

RTTTTed On July - 18 - 2013

 

 

 

Nevada Open Road Challenge Rally 2012

byTed Hlokoff

May 20, 2012 was the day 2 new Guiness World Records were set.  World’s Fastest Speed On A Public Highway was changed to 247mph and Fastest Average Speed On A Public Highway went from 207 to 217mph.  The people that have driven faster than 200mph are so few that there is  200MPH Clubs where those select few that have driven faster are recorded.  It takes more than just going over 200mph (I’d just gone 215mph at Mojave Mile), it requires going over 200mph with all the required safety equipment and an organziation to collect a certified speed reading.  I was missing a dual zone fire extinguisher system and that was why I’m not ‘officially’ in the club … yet.

Here at the NOPC/SSCC it is much different than the organized Mile events.  Safety rules are tougher and easier and just as confusing.  My Twin Turbo 1100whp/1250bhp Viper was not allowed to compete in the sport (130+mph) categories and I was also not allowed to compete in the Mile Shootout.  Only entrys in the 165mph and higher classes were allowed to run the mile and drivers are required to compete in each class to move up in speed catagories.  I was left with the Grand Touring (115- 125mph classes) and the Half-mile shootouts only.  I had planned on running the half-mile and the 140mph class, but no luck getting a waiver for my previous racing experience and/or my racing license that goes with running over 200mph at the Mojave Mile.

 

My wife Deana and I had spent the last week “basking in the California sun” of Palm Desert after competeing at the Mojave Mile (other story).  Leaving my In-law’s house we trailer’d the Beast to Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino where we parked the trailer in the RV parking, then brought the Ram and the Viper to the covered parking area garage 2.  Joe Christopherson was already in Vegas and plans were to pickup my Navigator, Trevor Cameron, and his wife from the airport in the morning.  It would be good to see our friends again since it’d been nearly a year since the last visit.  In the morning Deana and I headed off to the LA airport and found Trev and Terri at the baggage carousel.  After a minor glitch finding our pickup we threw the luggage in the back and headed back to Sam’s Town to feast at their $9 luncheon buffet.  Trev and Terri got unpacked for the 1 night booked at Sam’s Town.  The next morning Joe needed to be at the LA racetrack to take his Mario Andretti race driver’s course because he was a Rookie.  I’d taken the course last year and Trevor, being the navigator, didn’t need it..  lobby of Sam's Town Casino lobby of Sam’s Town Casino

Early registration was possible in the morning and the Media/Press Buffett was at one of the Sam’s Town conferance rooms by noon.  Joe was late because he needed to collect his navigator, but we were registered and finished eating before we collected our stuff and checked out of our rooms.  The girls jumped into the Ram truck while Trev and I climbed about my Twin Turbo GTS.  Joe and his navigator headed over the the other parking garage lining up for the Caravan to Ely.  We headed out of Sam’s Town and the Caravan broke up at the second street light when it turned red.  During the Caravan there are several stops where Blue Offatt (Rookie Liason) would explain the Rally, the route and hint at tips and tricks that would help win the Rally.  Blue also offers a Rookie help route sheet, which you can’t get if you don’t follow the Caravan.

Trevor at Caravan stop at Narrows

I’d booked us rooms at the Prospector Hotel and Casino of Ely.  Only a mile south of the Shootout hwy the Hotel has a restaurant and nice enough rooms.  Sam’s Town is a “host hotel” and rooms are $29.99 a night, $79 at the Propector.TT GTS TT GTS

 There was a Social Gathering Thurday evening in Ely and hosted by the city of Ely.  There was about 130 competition cars in town for this Rally and Ely was “our town” from Thurs afternoon until we left Sunday morning.  We were welcomed everywhere we went in Ely.  Joe had booked a single room at the Historic Nevada Hotel which was the host hotel for Ely ($29.99 per night).  It is a fun Hotel.

 Ely Host Hotel at night Ely Host Hotel at night

Registration and Tech sessions start at 8am downtown Ely at the park.  Tech requires all safety equipment for inspection, ppaerwork, tire sheets, self safety inspection and decals applied properly to the car.  As tech inspects the car they will affix several stickers to the windshield after they have acetained that you do have the required equipment, tires, metal valve stem caps and correct helmet (SA 2005 and up).  The Halfmile Shootout Challenge was to be Noon just North of our Hotel … but it had rained off and on all morning, just like last year.  The Half mle was postponed until Saturday noon to be held just before the Mile Shootout.  The halfmile shootout being slower and attracting less powerful cars (mostly) the safety requirements are less stringent.  Vettes and Viper do not require an extra rollover bar because of these supercars integrated rollover protection from the factory.  Coupes are fine and convertibles require more.  Safety rule change every year and anyone interested needs to read the safety rules for their car and class.

Tech in the Park Tech in the Park

The new safety rule required that all racing suits be one piece.  Just like that my PBI Kevlar jacket and nomex pants were no good for this event.  I cried, tried to borrow somone elses racing suit to no avail.  I had purchased new SFI approved racing gloves and uncomfortable racing shoes (2nd pair I bought actualy fit).  Viper parts supplier Jon Bropst of PartsRack.com sponsored me a new 1 piece racing suit.  He sent me a couple of Viper patches and wished me luck.  His motto is; “If it’s fits in or on a Viper, we have it.”

over 100 cars parade over 100 cars parade

The parade starts at the High School about dinner time and goes through Ely to the Convention Center at the end of town.  Banquet was enjoyed by all and I got re-aquainted with a few hundred friends from last year.

Banquet

The halfmile shootout had been postponed due to rain so we drove the car to the Athletic/Football field at the other end if town and participated in the Car Show for an hour or two until we needed to line up North of town for the Halfmile Shootout Challenge.  The girls chased us down there with the pickup.  Dressed in fire resistant  shoes, a SFI 3 layer Nomex fire/race suit and carrying my fire resistant gloves I waited beside my car in line.  The goddess Terri went and bought me a large coffee that was creamed and sugared.  My morning was improved right then and the slight sprinkle was no longer depressing.  I had faith that the roads would be dry for us, and 15 minutes later it was.

Ready to have a good day Ready to have a good day

Driver’s meeting next, then my group headed over to the closed highway to run.  After the 4 guys kneeled down and inspected each of my tires as I rolled slowly ahead I was ready to run.  Arm restraints were suddenly a problem trying to insert my Go Pro camera into it’s case stuck to the windshield, but I got it done.  First run was an easy pass to get used to the car and how it reacted to the ordinary street tires.

TT GTS

After crossing the finish line I lifted the throttle and saw the speedo come down past 175mph.  My navigator, Trevor, opened his helmet and said, “That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone.  what a rush.”

Yah, Trevor is only slightly younger than me, and we both enjoyed the Adrenaline Rush of going so fast in a short halfmile.  With no traction until 4th gear, it was certainly overwhelming with lots of noise and screaming tires.  After our run we turned around and parked facing towards the start. Mark Capener ran his 1500whp race tuned, race gas twin turbo Lamborghini Superleggarra.  After a hard run with drag radials on all four drive wheels Mark was turning around behind us when his transmission locked up in forward and reverse gears.  He sent for his trailer and kicked out the “spare driver” in his Twin Turbo SRT Viper.  An RSI 1000TT Viper he’d kicked my supercharged GTS butt last year and he was the reason I’d flown to Texas and bought “Shotgun Willie’s” 1500whp Viper GTS.  Although Mark’s TT Viper was fast, it wasn’t in the same class  as my ART1500TT.  My next pass was going to be my serious effort except that when I shifted into second gear and let out the clutch I heard the engine rev and the sound of little pieces in my tranny.  We got a tow and arranged for my Viper to stay in storage for a few days in Ely.  Mark Capener's Superleggarra TT 1500whp Mark Capener’s Superleggarra TT 1500whp

The loudest car of the event was a battleship grey metallic supercharged Caddilac CTS-V.  It looked like a Hennessey upgrade with a carbon fiber ZL1 hood and grey wheels.  I overhead the owner say it had more than 700hp.  At the social gathering when we got to Ely another competitor told me that it had over 900hp.  Being a street driven Caddy I doubted that, but following that car in the Caravan he’d slowed and done full throttle runs in front of Trevor and I.  It looked to be about 500hp to us.  At the Halfmile it was definitely the loudest car there, but it didn’t look very fast.  It had low torque or a much better TC system that the ZR1s were running as it didn’t annihilate the tires very much.

2009 Blown Caddy 2009 Blown Caddy

Surprizing was the performance of an Evo8 that made a quick run down the half mile.  Probably not much in the Mile, the Evo finished 4th in the halfmile with a speed of 150mph, nearly as fast as my 700whp supercharged Viper’s 151.9mph last year at this event.

modified quick evo modified quick evo

Joe Christopherson’s stock 2001 Viper GTS ACR which looks almost exactly like my Sapphire/silver Viper GTS ran down the Halfmile at 135.6mph which was 1.4mph slower than than the “900hp” Cadillac.  Joe’s Viper runs 12.2@121mph in the quartermile at sea level,  136mph was pretty fast since we were racing at an altitude of 6,500′.

Joe Christopherson's 2001 Viper Joe Christopherson’s 2001 Viper

As always Vegas Vette club did much of the work for this event and they were well represented by 3 vettes, of which 2 finished 5th and 6th.  A Z06 and a ZR1 had finished faster than the Caddy.

Vegas  Vettes Vegas
Vettes

After all the competitors had 3 runs, except for Mark’s TT Lambo and my TT Viper, the Mile Shootout lined up for their 3 passes.  Mark Capener’s TT Viper was now the fastest car at the event with a 209mph run, chased by Jim Peruto’s (rumored) ex-Kurt Busch 2006 NASCAR Charger running 195.9mph in the mile.  Jim’s car was different to watch, revving hard at the starting line the car nearly stalled when the clutch was dropped it barely idled away from the starting line but once it was rolling the rpms went up, up and away to unheard of revs.  It was easy to believe that this was the world record for extreme high speed.

ex Kurt Busch charger ex Kurt Busch chargerMark Capener's 1000hp SRT Viper Mark Capener’s 1000hp SRT Viper

Glenn Hillhouse was 3rd with a speed of 164.7mph in his Red Corvette while Tom Glass won 3rd fastest in the mile with a 163.9mph pass in his Black Corvette Z06.

After the Shootouts we went to our hotel and cleaned up, I put away my racing clothes and changed into more comfortable clothing for the mandatory Driver and Navigator meetings.  Trevor and I attended with Joe and when the time for the mandatory Navigator’s meeting came, Joe’s navigator hadn’t shown up from Vegas.  I offered Trevor to navigate for Joe as with all the study and time Trevor had put into the research for this event.  Joe and Trev changed the navigator with Gail Waldman, then we took our seats so that Trev and Joe could understand the navigation skills needed to win this event.  My second time around I also paid attention because you can’t be too smart?  LOL.  Bunny Hill had worked hard to finish this 25th SSCC anniversary Quilt made with the yearly event Tshirts.  All our cars were running memorial decals because of the crash last year when Bunny’s son and another dear friend had died when a tire blew at a speed approaching 200mph.  Unfortunately, racing does come with dangers, hence all the safety requirements.

After the meetings and since my entry was broken, I volunteered to haul luggage for a couple of Corvette competitors.  I also volunteered to drive the Monte Carlo entry’s truck and trailer around the event to the finishline and park it there for them.  I arranged the Vette guys to toss their luggage into our pickup and the Monte Carlo driver said he would park the truck and trailer behind my hotel that night.

Raffle prize quilt Raffle prize quilt

Meeting at the Sports field in Ely Trevor and Joe gathered, then Caravaned about 30 miles to the start point of the Nevada Open Road Challenge on the Silver State Challenge Highway.  With a police escort front and back I’m sure that the speed limit wasn’t too limiting because of the flashing lights?  Once they arrived at the start they lined up at the Pre-start grid – a Gas station, then moved out to park along the edge of the highway in order of the starting times which were 1 minute between cars.  As the cars started leaving, the four tire checkers inspected each tire of each car, again for safety.  Terri and Deana drove the Ram pickup and I hopped into the GM pickup and we drove the ‘other highway’ to go around the Rally to the finish line where we waited for Joe’s Viper to come across the finish line. There was interesting scenery of the desert to see during out 100+ mile drive

Desert scenery Desert scenery

When they crossed the finishline Gail Waldman leaned into the window and granted then finish medals while collecting the event radio.  Each car gets a radio supplied to be used only in case of emergencies.

Gail handing out finish medallions Gail handing out finish medallions

This Rally saw the second appearance of the factory Buick Regal GS team.  Last year they had won the 120mph class with a time variance of about a hundreth of a second.  I figured that they had some pretty sophisticated electronics as both Bill Rietow and John Townsend were Buick engineers.  This year they had had a couple interesting experiences.  During the testing of their new Buick GS they had been running GM’s high speed oval in Detroit and a Turkey Buzzard had flow in front of them near their top speed.  Glancing off the windshield it had put a serious dent in the roof and that interfeered with the power sunroof.  This event they finished second in 135mph class.  uring the Rally they had caught another slow bird and it had broken their front bumper …

factory Buick team factory Buick team

Joe and Trevor needed to attend the “Rookie Initiation” after the beginner classes all crossed the finish line before we could continue to Vegas for the Awards Ceremony Banquet.  Although I only made one familiarity run before I broke my transmission, it was 176mph and the seond fastest (after mark Capener’s 200mph blast) run of the Halfmile.

2nd fastest 2nd fastest

The banquet was wel attended with several hundreds and the pic quality was bad so I asked the K&N Trophy girls to pose after the awards were handed out.

K&N trophy girls K&N trophy girls

Jim Perota had set a new Highway top speed on a Public Hwy Guiness World Record of 243.7mph crossing the finish line and also set the Guinness World Record for fastest average highway speed at 217.557mph.  Congrats to Jim.  When I spoke to Jim’s crew chief recently, he said,”Jim has no interest in beating his record.  He does want to be the older 207mph record though.  Speaking to a couple of the course safety workers one told me that he watched Jim drift around a corner at over 200mph!  I would bet money that Jim’s butt was clenched tight around that corner.

During the awards banquet proffessional pictures taken remotely during the Rally are available.  I bought one the previous year and Joe Christopherson bought one this year.  Taken by Event Photo Digital of LA.  I recommend that everyone running the Rally check them out.  During this event and many others I do my own little Viper award ceremonies.  People that promote Viper brand and/or do good works in the world of performance supercars … I award them Viper Trinkets custom made of quality aluminium and representing Dodge and Viper Cars.  SRTs and ACRs have been added to Viper trinket handouts that my friend has supplied me.  Some of these TRINKETS are worth hundreds of dollars and some are only worth ten bucks, but they all show apprecaition for Viper people that have extended themselves beyond the norm.  Timbo is a genius at building these and is still hiding in the big Viper World.    In the pic above Trevor and I are wearing Timbo engineered and desinged www.thevipergarage.com Tshirts with pride.  Several quality Viper trinkets were handed out at this event, as usual.  Joe, Trevor and recently John Vittone had become Timbo Trinket collectors.  Joe has his own collection of Viper trinkets because of his support.

NORC results can be found at http://www.sscc.us/event_results/results-12-norc.html

Proffessional picProffessional pic At the Prospector At the Prospector

hangin at the finish line hangin at the finish line

This year’s NORC Joe finally earned his own Viper Garage shirt!

thevipergarage.com people at thje parade thevipergarage.com people at thje parade

 

Categories: Dodge Viper Stories

5 Responses so far.

  1. Jim Muskett says:

    Thanks for all the great pics and info,also own Roe supercharged Viper 2001,wondering why iam not going ,still need a co-pilot?

  2. RTTTTed says:

    Thanks. If you get out to the west Steve …

  3. Steve 00RT10 says:

    Nice write up Ted!

    Steve

  4. RTTTTed says:

    Even though I busted my expensive race tranny we did have fun. We always have fun and we don’t let problems ruin that. We make the best of what we get and enjoy the heck out of it. Owning a Viper is like a gift or a dream come true. Even if it’s broken, there are thousands that wish they could be us. Fun is easy.

  5. ViperJeff says:

    Yep, I really need to come out and see you all off on your next run. Looks like an incredible amount of fun

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