Driving a sprint car and being a bull rider have a lot in common — you’re strapped to a beast with a ridiculous weight-to-horsepower ratio that requires an incredible amount of finesse and can get out of control in a hurry. So taking a beast like a sprint car and running it all out at Bonneville on the salt is a lot like running a small tire, high power drag car out the back door — you better have your act together or it’ll bite you quick.
Damion “The Demon” Gardner, one of the most accomplished drivers in the sport, recently became the first person to ever run a sprint car over 200 MPH, doing so on the famous salt flats of Bonneville — not an easy task at all.
Gardner has really been a demon on dirt over his accomplished racing career. Since Gardner started racing sprint cars he’s racked up 55 wins racing everything from 410 and 360 dirt sprint cars, wingless sprints, and even taking home the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals title. Gardner decided that after he lost his full time circle track ride, why not see what the limit of a Sprint Car really was. So he partnered with Steve “Biggie” Watt ,who had experience with the Speed Demon street car and began their land speed journey.
Gardner and Watt started with a 2010 Beast Chassis pavement Sprint Car, narrowed it to try and help with aerodynamics to get everything out of the win. A standard 410 Shaver sprint car motor powers the streamlined dirt monster on the salt. A transmission out of a USAC Silver Crown car without a clutch was customized with two forward gears and a deleted clutch to accomplish maximum terminal speed. Special Goodyear Bonneville land speed tires were wrapped around custom Weld Racing wheels and hubs for the speed runs.
Out back, a custom-built narrowed Franklin rear end is centered up instead of being offset to help drive the car down the two-mile course.
On one of his final runs, Gardner was able to run the car to a top speed of 211.58844 MPH. Check out the video from Loud Peddle Productions that shows how hairy it is to run a short wheelbase car originally meant to turn left with a 410 cubic inch motor over 200 MPH.