The Silver State Classic Challenge is celebrating 27 years of road racing May 15-18 as drivers, navigators and volunteers from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and Norway descend upon Ely, Nevada to fulfill their need for speed.
Four days of festivities begin bright and early Thursday morning as first time participants head to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for qualifying school. Following a Press Luncheon at Sam’s Town Hotel in Las Vegas the caravan of cars will head to Ely for a variety of activities.
There are two small racing events that take place during the weekend on SR 490 that lead up to the main event on Sunday on the “Silver State Classic Challenge Highway” aka Hwy. 318. On Friday drivers can test the speed of their cars in the Half Mile Shootout or High Noon One Mile Shootout, both events are sponsored by Optima Batteries.
Participants gather at the White Pine High School parking lot to line up for the Parade of Cars that begins at 5:30pm on Friday and ends at the Bristlecone Convention Center.
Jerry Mall, of K&N Filters, and Gail Waldman are scheduled to be the Grand Marshalls for the Nevada Open Road Challenge parade in his Lamborghini Aventador that will display the #73 as a tribute to the late Steve Waldman, founding father of the Silver State Classic Challenge events.
Cars will be on display, and you can meet the drivers, during the Car Show at Broadbent Park on Saturday, from 9:00am to 2:00pm.
The main event on Sunday is co-sponsored by K&N Filters anda OPTIMA Batteries. Participants speed down a 90-mile stretch of Hwy. 318 between Lund and Hiko which is officially closed to the public. There is a speed class for everyone, ranging in 5-mile an hour increments between 95 and 150mph, plus the 160, 170, 180 mph classes and the Unlimited for a total of 16 different speed brackets. The objective is to average as close to the chosen target speed over the 90-mile course with the exception of the Unlimited division as they attempt to go for the Guinness World Records.
For the first time, there will be two Tesla’s, all electric cars, participating. It will be interesting to see if they can average their target speed relying on battery power.
In May, 2000, Chuck Shafer and Gary Bockman achieved an average speed of 207.78 mph and became the first to establish the “Highest Speed on a Public Highway” and the SSCC becoming the “World’s Fastest Road Race” in the Guinness World Book of Records.
For 12 years the record remained, until May 20, 2012, when Jim Peruto averaged 217.7750 mph driving a modified 2006 Dodge Charger and became the new record holder.
The only way to watch these events is to become a Course Worker, must be age 18 and over, as there are no spectator areas. Manning the gates along Hwy. 318 is the biggest volunteer effort in making these events a success. Hand held radios for communication between gates and Hams are provided by Suncoast Communications. The primary responsibility of being a course worker is controlling access through the gate that you are assigned and staying at your gate until the event is declared officially over. The Course Worker Orientation is conducted at the Bristlecone Convention Center in Ely at 9:00am on Saturday.
As a way of the SSCC saying “Thank You” to all the course workers, they supply each gate with a SSCC hat, two SSCC t-shirts, two bottles of water and once the equipment is verified as returned will send a check for $50. There will also be a drawing on Sunday night at the Award’s Banquet at Sam’s Town Hotel that will give 10 gates a chance to win $100. The winners will be announced on the race’s website.
The Silver State Classic Challenge is a non-profit corporation that was created to promote tourism through open road events and support the communities of the rural counties. The events are held two times a year, every May and September.