UVU Racing Team Sets Another World Record
September 23, 2010
For Immediate Release
For more information: Todd Low (801) 863-6434
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Jim McCulloch (801) 863-7004
Utah Valley University’s racing team set a new world land speed record last weekend during the 24th annual World of Speed event held at the Bonneville Salt Flats by clocking 180 mph on the speedometer.
Completely built and raced out of the UVU Automotive Department, the 1969 El Camino with a 572-cubic inch big block Chevrolet engine with a turbocharger was driven by UVU automotive instructor Todd Low, the car’s owner/operator. It is the fifth world land speed record set in the car by the UVU racing team since 2006.
“It was a great thing for the University and for the department,” Low said. “The amount of interest in our car and our program by hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people on the Salt Flats was pretty amazing.”
An official world record is actually an average of two runs, both 3 miles long. Low, who has been the driver on all five world record setting performances, was hoping for an even faster mark.
“We had run 190 mph in the morning, and I was sure we could break 200 mph. But when I passed the two-mile marker, we blew a breather and oil started flying out of the engine. I had one hand on the wheel and one hand on the (fire) extinguisher hoping that the thing didn’t turn into a giant fireball. I had to lift a little to make it to the 3-mile marker and we ended up at 169.9 mph, giving us an average of 180. Still a world record, but we could’ve gone even faster.”
Six UVU automotive students were members of the racing team, preparing, testing, and providing support during the actual speed runs for the El Camino that competed in the Classic Blown Gas Coupe division during the Sept. 15-18 event.
“It takes a lot of hands to actually make it happen,” Low said. “Everybody wants to get involved with the race team but these students earned their spots.”
The Wolverine racing team annually consists of a few handpicked UVU automotive students who want to experience top-flight competition. This year’s team members were Daniel Allen, Chris VanWagoner, Ryan Stanworth, Jay Leithead, Kolton Bundy, Tony Anguiano and Rina Robinson.
“It was the most awesome thing I’ve done so far at UVU,” said Allen of Provo. “It really was an amazing experience being so involved and coming away with a world record on my resume.”
The entire UVU Automotive Department took part in the weekend action as staff played host to over 600 high school students from around the state. Department staff grilled hot dogs for the students on the Wolverine Racing Grill, an exact replica of the racecar minus engine and transmission, then answered questions and gave the students a tour.
“It’s a chance to both show off our program and to let these potential students see that we provide real world experience,” said Don Wilson, chair of UVU’s Automotive Department.
For more information, contact Todd Low at 801-863-6434. To access a photo gallery of images taken at the event click on the Pictures link in the text at http://www.uvu.edu/blogs/tc/.