Last year was my second year attending Bonneville Speed Week as a spectator, and I wanted to write up this quick post on my top tips for those who are attending this year. I think you’ll find it especially helpful if you haven’t been before!
1. Get some info when you get your button or pass
Everything that goes on at Speed Week can make it both intimidating, and at times, confusing. Help yourself out by buying a program and maybe a rule book when you buy your pass (daily) or button (weekly rate). When you pay you should also be able t0 find out what radio station the event is being broadcast on, and this also really helps to make you more aware of what’s happening at Speed Week!
2. Don’t underestimate the brightness
The sun, both in the sky and reflecting off the sand, is BRIGHT. Sunglasses are basically a necessity and most people wear sun hats as well. Sunscreen is a must, and be sure to apply it on the bottom of your nose, chin and arms too because reflected sun can burn too! Then of course wear light-colored, breathable clothing and be sure to stay hydrated. Conditions on the salt flats are not exactly “friendly”!
3. Stop by the nightly car show at the Nugget
If you’re attending Speed Week, it’s probably safe to say you are interested in cars and/or motorcycles. Be sure to stop by the Nugget Casino in West Wendover, as there you’ll be able to see a wide variety of really interesting vehicles. Most of them are hot rods or classic cars, but there are also motorcycles, more modern cars, rat rods… you name it! Don’t miss seeing the variety (and maybe having a drink with some new friends?) while at Speed Week.
4. The early bird gets the worm at the long course start line
Record return runs (the second runs that are averaged with the first runs to set new world records) happen early in the morning. The long course will be the one with the really exciting cars, and the fastest cars (300+ mph) usually run first. So of course good viewing spots there fill up fast; go early if you want the best experience of the action!
5. Camp at the Bend if you’re on a budget
Hotel prices in Wendover and West Wendover skyrocket during Speed Week so if you are on any kind of budget, camping out at the Bend is a better option. There’s no fee to camp and very little organization–you basically just pick a spot! For your own comfort using an RV or camper is good if possible, but since that wasn’t an option for us we tent camped and that worked out just fine too. 🙂
6. Binoculars are a good idea
As you can see from the video, having a good zoom lens for your camera or binoculars can really add to the experience at Bonneville. The cars are fast so if you’re at the starting line they can pretty quickly get beyond your eyesight. If you’re situated along the course to watch you will be quite a ways from the course (for safety) and sometimes you won’t really be able to tell what kind of car is racing without a little help.
7. Visit the pits
One of my husband’s favorite parts of the experience is walking around the pits and talking to the crews and sometimes the drivers. You can learn a lot from them if you are interested in cars or engineering, and most groups are more than happy to chat. The pits run parallel to the course, so you can still watch long course races too while you’re meeting new people and checking out the cars!
I hope you found these tips, my top ones for those attending Speed Week, helpful! For even more information on what to expect, check out this complete guide to Speed Week I wrote last year!