Summer Update

After making two trips to the salt flats this summer to inspect the condition of the racing surface, I doubt we will make any runs this year. The salt crust is thin, fragile and very rough in spots. I do think it shows some signs of improvement over past years but still not good. My last visit was a couple of weeks ago immediately after the Speedweek event. I wanted to see how the race track held up with all the activity on it. It just is not in the condition where I am comfortable making any high speed attempts. We have been to 341 mph in the past and need to go faster!

The World Of Speed meet is in a couple of weeks and the World Finals the first week in October. I don't foresee any thing that will change or improve the salt conditions in the near term. Consequently we will be focusing on 2018.

We have made a bunch of somewhat minor upgrades to the car this past year and we are really comfortable with the changes and general condition of the car. We are ready when the salt is!


Spring update

We are planning on attending the World of Speed Meet September 15-18. The WOS is the usual meet for us, we like the low keyed atmosphere and the temperatures are much cooler than August. Have not had any reports on the salt flats for a while other than they were under water a month or so ago, which is not unusual. Hopefully we will get some drying conditions soon, likely won't know the actual condition of the race course until late June.

We have the backup emergency parachute deployment installed and it works great. After a lot of searching we found a pitch/roll sensing device that senses the car position and will trigger the chutes if we get to an "OS" moment. We have reworked the high speed chute system and have a new pilot chute for the HS as well. Really happy with the system now. 

We did the chassis set up on the car using scale pads in my shop recently, so we are ready for the salt. Just need to do a couple of minor tweaks to the Motec ECU.

Stay tuned for more updates as we get into the summer months. Let me know if you might be coming out to Bonneville this year.



Some Sad News

We lost a couple of good ones recently. Glenn Baxter who I worked with when I got out of college  and became long time friends with he and his wife Jo. Glenn  was a part of my Bonneville crew from the beginning. We will miss him.

We also lost long time friend and fellow Bonneville racer Bill Brooks. We first met at the salt flats in the early 1980's and had been close friends since. Bill was a very interesting guy and accomplished a lot of interesting things in his life. He was 100+ years young.

Click on their names to read their obits. God speed my friends! 


September 2016 Update

I am little slow in getting this update posted, sorry. With the salt at Bonneville being less than ideal we have decided to pass on running the car this year. I visited the salt in late July and determined that without some moisture so the crews could properly groom the course we would not run. As most of you know it has been extremely dry in the west this summer and we have not gotten any precipitation on the salt to any degree. As of this week the crew prepping for the World Of Speed event reported the salt was so hard they could not get the drags to “cut” the surface, consequently the racing surface is pretty rough commencing around the 4 mile. In fact the long course at the WOS will have the final set of timing lights at the 4-mile location instead of the usual 5-mile position. So, plans are now we will shoot for attending Speedweek 2017 in mid August.


The car is ready other than a little “race prep” and a coat of wax! We are installing a safety gizmo in the event the pilot (me) is a little slow on getting the laundry out should the car misbehave. I have been thinking about such a system for a while and the incident at Bonneville earlier this summer prompted me to move it up the priority list. We have designed a roll/pitch/yaw system that will automatically deploy the parachutes in the event the car gets crossed up and exceeds preset limits. We have “weather vane” type device on the nose, (kind of like a stall indicator in an airplane) which will provide a trigger to the chute system. We are testing a pretty cool solid-state device consisting three accelerometers and three gyros that combined provide a signal relative to roll and pitch. We need to provide an interface device between the sensor package and the chute deployment system. Hoot is working on designing and testing that interface and we are pretty confident it is going to work. Assuming the total system works as planned we will likely have one of the best systems for this purpose in motorsports. Pretty cool.

In order to satisfy my need to “do something” I am going to start repacking the storage bins for the trailer. Will be ready to load and go next August.

Please feel free to drop me a note or question at

New website

I have decided my Lessman Racing website needed refreshing. The old one developed by Blase Design served us well but it is time for something new. The new setup will allow a lot more flexibility and I will be able to easily update, add or change things around as our effort progresses. Feel free to offer comments as to how we can improve it. Thanks, Rog.

June 8, 2016

below is an update from the usfra regarding the salt. not sounding particularly good at this point. i also saw a report from one of the scta guys that had been out there a couple of weeks ago and there is a soft spot just past the two mile marker on the international course. that is about where the problem was two years ago that made me “wiggle”. will keep you posted as i hear more.


the world of speed is scheduled for sept 10-13, world finals sept 27-30

Latest news!!!
On Tuesday, June 7th, myself and several other persons visited the salt flats.The salt is still wet and there are some standing puddles around the international course. The thickness of the salt has not changed much from last year and in some places it maybe thinner.
After looking for several hours we think that there are a couple areas that we we can use for a test and tune course. We will be able to select a course after the salt has dried some more. As of this time the USFRA test and Tune is on, pending future weather conditions. Dennis Sullivan, Pres. USFRA