Rain Cancels Weekend Event for USU's Biofuel Roadster

Sep 6, 2013

The flooded conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats led to the cancellation of the World of Speed event Sept. 7-10. The racing event would have featured USU's biofuel race car, the Aggie A-Salt.
Credit Utah Salt Flats Racing Association

  The Aggie A-Salt streamliner has been setting records since its debut on the Bonneville Salt Flats one year ago. The dragster set a new land-speed record in August when it topped 73 miles per hour running on a tank of algae-based biofuel from USU’s department of chemistry and biochemistry.

The streamliner was supposed to race this weekend at the World of Speed event, but nature had other plans, according to USU chemistry professor Lance Seefeldt.

"What had happened was, the rainstorms that came through over the weekend piled up the water out there on the flats," said Seefeldt, a member of the Aggie A-Salt race team. "We saw some pictures, and the water is actually maybe a foot deep in some of the places that we were supposed to be racing, so the organizing committee that organizes the race had no choice but to cancel the event."

The Utah Salt Flats Racing Association says only a handful of vehicles had shown up before the rain rolled through on Tuesday and Wednesday. This is the first time the event has been canceled since 1999.

Seefeldt says they were hoping for a competitive weekend.

"We were pretty confident, since we had exceeded that existing record in our last round, that we would be competitive," he said. "You never know when someone else is  going to bring to the event, maybe something a little bit faster, but we were confident that our car would be competitive."

The Aggie A-Salt won’t be racing this weekend, but Seefeldt says there will be other opportunities in the future.

"There's another event that's supposed to occur at the end of October, middle part of October, and we're hoping that the water will clear by then and that we can make it back out for that event," Seefeldt said.

Eric is from Las Vegas, Nevada and studies broadcast journalism at Utah State. In joining the Utah Public Radio family, he has now delved into each of the "Big Three" of journalism: print, television and radio. His dream is to someday live and report the news in Chicago, Illinois (or wherever his career takes him.) In addition to reporting for UPR, Eric is the copy editor at the Utah Statesman and contributes to Aggie TV News.