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The Silver State Classic Challenge returns to Ely this weekend for a host of festivities, capped by Sunday’s road race on Highway 318.

The Ely Times

Ever wondered what it would be like to race along 120 miles of closed, two-lane public highway while going 110 miles per hour? How about 125 or even 155 miles per hour?

No semis, oncoming traffic or cops writing tickets. Just you and your car on a long stretch of asphalt.

For the past three decades, driving enthusiasts from around the world gather on the third Sunday in May in Ely, for the running of a very unique event.  The road consists of long fast straights, twisty canyons, sharp corners and blind dips.

If you have the cash, the nerve and a fast car you too can join in on the race as fast as you can legally down a public highway.  This event is called the Silver State Classic Challenge.

The Silver State Classic Challenge is a nonprofit organization that annually hosts the Silver State Classic Challenge in May and the Nevada Open Road Challenge in September.

Events begin early morning on Thursday, May 17, in Las Vegas with a practice session and qualifying rookie school. Participants begin their travel up to Ely on Friday, a parade of cars make their way through Ely at 5:30 p.m.

Many young boys and girls get the opportunity to ride in the cars during the parade as well. A welcome reception hosted by the Silver State Class Challenge Inc, awaits participants at the Bristlecone Convention Center.  Drivers can test the speed of their cars in the Half Mile Shootout or High Noon One Mile Shootout on Friday. The format for the 1/2 mile and 1 mile shootouts has changed a bit to include three difference class divisions; a street, super street, unlimited divisions.

A big change in the open road challenge is after 30 years of record-setting 90 miles down Nevada Highway 318, they are embarking on a new fun and exciting changes that should prove to be a great challenge for the participants. The 2018 Nevada Open Road Challenge will be a two-way, 120 mile race.

Events are based on time, speed and distance. Classes begin at 95 mph, and increase in 5 mph increments. The race is open to anyone 18 years of ag or older with a valid driver’s license and a roadworthy vehicle.

On Saturday, the Ely Lions Club will host a pancake breakfast at Broadbent Park where the car show and final tech inspection will be taking place.  The Open Road race begins early Sunday morning begin promptly at 8 a.m. but you will find yourself getting on the road by 6 a.m. to make it to pre-grid in Lund by 6:30 a.m.

Vehicles start one at a time, in one minute intervals against a GPS time clock, and attempt to break the beam at the finish line as close as possible to their speed class target time.

Last year, the world record for the fastest speed on a public highway was broken by driver Robert Allyn and his navigator David Bauer when they were racing in a 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at an average speed of 219.6430 miles per hour.  The pair shattered the previous Guinness World Record of 217.5570 mph set by Jim Peruto in 2012.

The grand finale will take place in Ely this year, another new twist to the changes made to this years race.  The banquet will be held in Ely on Sunday after the race at the Bristlecone Convention Center.