This weekend I watched a VW Golf race to 200 MPH, a 250 MPH Lamborghini with a parachute and a diesel-powered Ford Mustang. I also saw police officers nodding their heads in approval. It's not heaven, it's the Texas Mile.
To hear Shannon Matus tell it, when she and her husband discovered an airport in Goliad, Texas with an unused runway it was a no-brainer to invite their friends to race down the length to see how fast they can safely go. Texas had just passed strict street-racing laws and enthusiasts needed a place to safely and legally test the limits of their cars and sanity. Seven years ago this meant 35 cars and bikes. When I went this weekend there were around 220 cars signed up, with more waiting to get on the track.
The event is so well run there were almost no incidents and they were able to complete more than 1,000 runs in just the first two days — there are no classes or complex regulations so cars can run as often as they can get in line. Radar guns aren't particularly accurate at these speeds so timing genius Ed Raether — who owns an LS1-powered E24 M6 — setup a triple-redundant GPS-time based laser trap system.
It recorded a naked Hayabusa going 250 MPH. As soon as the crowd heard the speed over the PA they lept to their feet to hoot-and-holler. While the revery was going on few noticed the almost silent black Hayabusa following it down the track. I just heard "what is that" and turned around to see a bike crossing the mile-marker at ludicrous speed. You can't even fathom what 261.5 MPH looks like until you see it.
When he saw the score the rider was shaking. We asked him how he felt and all he could say was "I gotta go hug my wife" before taking off down the pits.
There's also no stigma associated with brands. Nitrous-injected diesels, tricked-out imports, American all-motor muscle, and even a brand new Scirocco were all welcome. Here are a few of our favorites.
1983 AMC Concord
Odds are you don't even know what an AMC Concord is, let alone would recognize one stripped of all most if its chrome and flying by you at 130 MPH. This makes Joel Hannig's car extra sleeper. Picked up for $25 not running, he's bored out the standard AMC 401 V8 to 426 and is capable of turning a 12.83 in quarter-mile run.
The World's Fastest Bandit Trans Am
We love nothing more than a Bandit Trans Am and there was no mistaking the big black screamin' chicken owned by Dick and Gail Jurkowski. There's no forced induction or nitrous here. It's all motor — just not a Pontiac motor. Behind the stock-looking graphics is a big-block 496 c.i. Chevy V8. We saw him cross the 195 MPH threshold, but he thinks hell crest 200 MPH before long.