Helena man recalls setting land-speed record

Flying Rose Racing at Bonneville Salt Flats
Posted at 5:27 PM, Sep 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 15:36:57-04

HELENA — Jimmy Wollenberg of Helena is not only a car enthusiast but a record-setter in 2020 and 2021 on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

"Last year, we set a record 173 and a half (mph), and this year we set a record earlier in the week at 177 (mph), and we smashed that record at 198 (mph) in the last class," Wollenberg said.

Web Extra: Jimmy Wollenberg

Wollenberg and his pit crew entered a 1927 Ford Rear Modified Roadster with a supercharged Chevy engine powered by blown gas. Flying Rose Racing competed in the D/BGRMR class, which means the engine is between 261 and 305 cubic inches.

The car's official record-setting speed was 198.503 mph.

When it comes to engine modifications to push his car even faster than his 2020 record, Wollenberg said, "We changed the rear-end gearing and put taller gears in it, so we could run out further to get more top-end speed."

Web Extra: Bonneville Salt Flats

Numerous land speed records have been set at the Bonneville Salt Flats due to the large, flat area offered by the geography.

"Like 100 square miles of nothing, but white salt. So, you have such a definition, so it's super flat. You don't have anything flying by, but mile makers, it's a super quiet place. It's like being on the moon. I mean, there is just nothing else like it," explained Wollenberg.