Brent Hajek admits the experience was fun while it lasted.
The avid car collector whose Super Stock Cobra Jet Mustangs have wreaked havoc in NHRA drag racing, decided to convert one of his special 2011 models into an E-85 burner and attempt a land speed record at Bonneville. The car was as “green” as it could be right down to the soy-based plastic body panels. Even the seat covers were fabricated partially from corn stalks.
The Mustang, driven by Danny Thompson, nailed the C/Blown Fuel Altered record at 258 miles per hour but before either party could celebrate eclipsing the previous 255 mile per hour mark, the vehicle went out of control and crashed in the slowdown area.
“At the three mile mark we broke the old record by running 258,” explained Hajek. “He kept accelerating and got the car up to 264.703 and then the car began swaying and spun out.”
Witnesses, including Hajek, confirmed the car was airborne for an estimated 1,000 feet before barrel-rolling four times. Pieces of the car were found as far away as a mile and clocked in excess of 200 miles per hour.
“After it was all said and done, Danny was fine after the crash,” Hajek confirmed. “He walked away without even a scratch. That’s a 264-plus miles per hour crash test. He didn’t even have a headache.”
As impressive as Thompson’s survival was, the soy body panels are reusable.
“It’s amazing that a car could go through a crash like that and still have parts that are reusable,” Hajek admitted. “We’re going to build that into the next car. I don’t knowm of many times that anyone has survived a 264 mile per hour crash in a stock bodied vehicle. That’s only 199 miles per hour over the speed limit.”
Bear in mind, this Mustang is pretty close in design to the cars he races in NHRA competition.
“We had to change the programming system,” Hajek explained. “The rods, pistons, block … we pretty much left them alone. We made some adjustments to the heads. It was a 331 cubic inch engine. We didn’t change the bore or stroke on the engine. We are going to shoot for 300 in the future.”
Hajek would love to run an E85 car in NHRA competition except for one sticking point – there’s nowhere for it to run in class racing.
“We introduced our E85 combination and Bill Elliot set a record for us at Talladega,” Hajek said. “Now NASCAR is testing ethanol blends. It could very well be released in the near future. We’d love to showcase the power in drag racing of E85.”
Currently E85 is legal and used by a limited amount of teams in the NHRA’s Super Gas and Super Street divisions.
“We just haven’t found a good way to showcase it yet, but give us some time,” Hajek said.
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