Silver State Classic Challenge - September 24th Update

At the last minute I decided to go to the Silver State Classic Challenge (SSCC). The reason it was last minute is that my Viper is having the motor upgraded (made even faster) so I didn't have a ride. My partner found out about this and told me to take his '96 Blue/White Viper GTS Coupe, I agreed without much of a fight. :-) Boy, does he trust me.

 

The SSCC is a 90 mile course ( a section of Highway 318). You pick a class to be in by the average speed that you want to go. The speeds go as low as 85mph up to 165mph and then there is a special unlimited class. They time you to see how close you come to your target speed. ThisDodge Racing Viper event is run the third weekend in May and the third weekend in September every year.

 

Wednesday, September 16th, I drove to Las Vegas and checked into the Showboat Hotel and Casino where the SSCC was based for the first part of the event.

 

On Thursday, September 17th we went to the Las Vegas Speedway and registered with the Derek Daly Performance Driving Academy. They took all the drivers out on a road course and made sure they knew how to handle their cars. This is a qualifier that all first time entrants are required to do and they must complete the course and be approved by the Instructors to go on to the actual SSCC event. We had a lot of fun running our cars on this great road course and the instruction was fantastic, they made me able to go even faster than before!

 

On Friday, September 18th we were given a tour of Carol Shelby's new plant out by the Las Vegas Speedway at around 9am in the morning. We saw his old '65 Cobras and his new Fibeglass Cobras as well as his new Aurora powered 2,800 LB car that will be out very soon.

 

Ron Levi and racing Viper at Silver State Classic ChallengeAt 10:00 am approximately 150 cars took off from Shelby's location and caravaned up to Ely, Nevada (about 250 miles). The caravan was headed by a Mercedes Sedan that runs the 150mph class each year and usually wins. This caravan was not your everyday garden variety caravan, this caravan moved at anywhere from 90mph up to and over 130mph - it was a site to behold when we would come up on an unsuspecting RV - all of the cars would just pass on by at a rapid rate of speed.

 

We arrived in Ely around 3:30pm and checked into the Holiday Inn & Casino. Ely is a small town of around 5,000 folks and their main employers are the mines up there. There is also an Indian reservation just out side of town. At 5 pm we gathered at the local High School. We dressed up our cars with black & white racing flags they gave us and then formed a parade. We paraded all around the town and then stopped at the convention center where registration continued and they served food and drinks.

 

On Saturday everyone brought their cars over to the Park right by the Fire Station. This is where cars are tech'd and it doubles as a car show from 10am to about 3pm. ESPN and BBC had camera crews there covering the event. Everyone stood around answering questions about their cars to the folks that walked around. These were both locals and other people who came to see the event. After this we had an early dinner and went to bed. Sunday morning at 6am all the cars gathered at the Fire Station and headed out on Highway 6 to Lund, Nevada about 25 miles from Ely where the race starts. We pulled into the Lund Truck Stop. They guided us from there into our pre-grid postions, we were number 95 on the Dodge Racing Vipergrid. Once our cars were pre-gridded we stood around and watched as the first cars started the course around 8pm. By about 10:30am we got started on the course. This was an unbelievable feeling to be going down a two lane highway - right down the middle of the road. Knowing the whole time no cops will ticket you and there will be no oncoming traffic and you can go as fast as you like, what a concept - what an experience.

 

Well the the course was great, the "narrows" which is a 2.5 mile stretch with some tight turns was a bit of excitement. After going 120mph and slowing down to 110mph to go thru the narrows felt like an E-Ticket Ride. The only problem was this 90 mile high-speed excursion was over before you knew it, about 49 minutes is all it took. Next year I'll enter a much higher class - probably the 130mph class - they're allowed to go up to 160mph, whew, what fun - pure adrenalin pumps above 130mph!!

 

If you're interested in their next event go to http://www.phenry.com/sscc/ and check it out.