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Driving enthusiasts from around the world will gather in Ely this weekend as part of festivities related to the Silver State Classic Car Challenge.

Special to The Ely Times 

This weekend driving enthusiasts from all over the world will gather in Ely for the running of a very unique racing and automotive event called the Silver State Classic Car Challenge.  

Competitors will test their skills and fast cars as they race from Ely to Las Vegas, down a two-lane public highway. Classes begin at 95 mph, and increase in 5 mph increments up through the 160 mph class, with a 170 mph, 180 mph, and an Unlimited, top speed class. 

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

First, second and third place trophies are awarded to the driver and Navigator/Co-driver in each class, based on most accurate elapsed time targets achieved, as measured by SSCC timing equipment.

Four days of events begin Thursday morning, Sept. 15, 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, a caravan of cars will head north to Ely for race weekend.

On Friday, Sept. 16, two racing events, the Half Mile Shootout and One Mile Shootout, take place on Highway 490 and gives drivers the opportunity to test the speed of their cars. 

Later in the afternoon, participants gather at the White Pine High School parking lot to line up for the Parade of Cars that begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends at the Bristlecone Convention Center.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9  a.m. to 2 p.m., race cars will be on display and drivers plus navigators will be in attendance for a meet and greet during the Car Show at Broadbent Park. Ely’s local radio station, AM1610 The Loop, will be broadcasting live from the Car Show. A food concession stand will be at the park along with a display of the latest exclusive SSCC merchandise for sale.

The Lions Club will be serving their annual pancake breakfast beginning at 8 to 10 a.m.  Breakfast will include pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee and orange juice for a nominal fee. 

Sunday, Sept. 18, is the grand event, sponsored by OPTIMA Batteries and Suncoast Communications. Drivers and navigators from around the globe speed down a closed 90-mile stretch of the Silver State Classic Challenge Highway, also known as Highway 318, between Lund and Hiko, which is officially closed to the public.

In 2000, the SSCC was placed into the Guinness World Book of Records with two records, one for “World’s Fastest Road Race” and the other “Highest Speed on a Public Highway.”

The record originally set in May 2000 by SSCC racers Chuck Shafer and Gary Bockman when they achieved an average speed of 207.78 mph. 

This record was intact until May 20, 2012, when SSCC racer Jim Peruto became the new record holder, averaging 217.7750 mph while driving a modified 2006 Dodge Charger.

The only way to watch these exciting events up close is to become a Course Worker. Manning the gates along Highway 318 is a vital volunteer effort in making these events a success and a great opportunity to be a part of this legendary race. 

The primary responsibility of being a course worker is controlling access through an assigned gate and staying at the gate until the event is declared officially over. Hand held radios for communication between gates and Hams are provided by Suncoast Communications.

 For more information on the Silver State Classic Challenge visit