The HRM Spl. Rides Again…at 208 MPH
Hot Rod|August 2021
Wow! Yesterday I conquered a career-long goal and defeated a 37-year-old land-speed record to become a member of the El Mirage 200 MPH Club.
David Freiburger

Like most HOT ROD readers, my first and initially only exposure to land-speed racing was through the pages of the magazine when I was a young teen. My generation read about people such as Al Teague and Barry Kaplan in the prose of HOT ROD’s Ol’ Dad, Gray Baskerville. He drew a mental picture of the glories of racing for top mph upon Southern California’s hard-packed silt dry lakes and he turned the Bonneville Salt Flats into the center point of all that was important in the gearhead world. I bought it in. I was incredibly fortunate to have made my first trip to Speed Week at Bonneville with Baskerville in 1992 as a fresh HOT ROD editorial staffer, and he was there when I first visited El Mirage a year later. The dream of heritage-style land-speed racing stuck with me.

By early 2001 when I was the editor of Rod & Custom magazine, HOT ROD staffer Will Handzel introduced me to Keith Turk who was informally doing PR for the East Coast Timing Association, which operated a standing-mile series of land-speed races in Moultrie, Georgia, and then Maxton, North Carolina. Keith set me up with a ride in Brett and Regan Yates’ roadster at Maxton, and later on, I had another ride in a former NASCAR car owned by Bob Gribble. Keith bought a Camaro that had raced at Moultrie and Maxton. He brought the Camaro to Bonneville in 2001, blew up a 302 Chevy, and suckered me into helping him change the engine. By summer 2001, I had become the editor of HOT ROD, and it’d be a couple of years before I ran into Keith again, though I kept swindling rides from other people. I think it was 2003 when I did my first 200-mph pass at Bonneville in Bob Gribble’s former NASCAR race car.

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