Category Archives: Bellytank

Final Thoughts on Speedweek 2012

To say this was an adventure would be an understatement. This started over 5 years ago as I watched many nights go by with Andy feverishly working on his laptop, long before any hands on building actually started. Then the “I need” portion began – but, “I need a welder”, “I need a tube bender”, “I need custom racing tires”, “I need another set of custom wheels” and the list goes on. My comment was always the same, “that sounds expensive!” We’ve all said that our UPS and FedEx guys will now be out of a job. Good luck guys!

He always had a vision in his mind exactly how he wanted this car to look and whether he could buy it or had to make it, he did what he needed to do without compromising the look he wanted. The details that he paid close attention to were well received by those on the salt. Everything from the font used for the numbers to the careful placement of each rivet was recognized. The respect among car enthusiasts is impressive. It’s so hard to explain this to people if you are unfamiliar with the event. You don’t win money, you don’t get a trophy, it’s the pride you feel when you drive a vehicle you built that keeps people coming back. The vehicles range from roadsters to streamliners, something for everyone. In the end, no matter what you like, everyone respects what you’ve done as seen by the many thumbs up you get when simply going to the starting line.

Again, I want to thank everyone that has gotten us through this journey. We could not have done it without the great support system that we have. Our blog went past all of our expectations. In the month of August we had over 17,000 views, sometimes over 2,000 a day. We can’t believe the response we received, I mainly did this for close family and friends so I didn’t have to keep repeating the same stories over and over. The feedback I’m getting about who is viewing is amazing. I thank all of you and encourage your comments to this final posting. I’d love to know who is a Blonde Bitch follower.

If you haven’t learned anything from our trip, the least that you should take away from this is that you can follow a dream, some take you to a giant dry salt lake! I learned that I can be around family for two weeks without gouging my eyes and ears out (if you know me at all, I have personal space issues), I learned that altitude effects the fuel mixture in a car and it’s performance, I learned that kids can go without tv, video games and iPods, and I learned that as much as I complain, I’d do it all over again!

Please keep in touch. Check back, we will be posting many more pictures and videos. We had a camera on board the car so some of that is pretty cool. I’ll also put up images of our t-shirts that we are still selling to help support our cause or at least make the fuel cost more bearable. 4,800 miles at $4.00 a gallon adds up when you average 10 mpg!!!!

It’s been my pleasure to take you with us, I’m sure this is the first of many trips. – K

P.S. – Andy wants more horse power, better aerodynamics and faster speed.
I believe… “that sounds expensive!”


The End

On our last leg of the trip. For those of you stuck in an office somewhere, sucks to be you. It’s beautiful outside as seen below!

We are returning from an endless sea of salt to a welcoming sea of green. Couldn’t have asked for a better day!

I’ll be back later for a final thought. – K

Monday update

I hate to say it but as we get closer to home, there are less interesting things to show you. It’s not quite the same when you just went by it a few days ago, the excitement has begun to subside. I did, however, see this bus…didn’t anyone notice the location of the back up camera? You think they would have incorporated that into a larger moustache.

Then, when we stopped at one of the fine establishments at a truck stop, we found these. If anyone knows me, you know how I feel about them (not a fan). When you put a quarter in, they all danced. Nothing like making the freaky little dolls dance a jig!

Slowly making our way through Ohio. Try to make one more stop tomorrow before we come back to reality. Keep checking, hope to get more photos and video links up upon arriving home. Its been so nice leaving all worries behind for awhile and not too anxious to see what’s waiting for us when we get back. I highly recommend taking the time to get away, life’s too short not to!!! – K

Friday, August 17

The end of Speedweek 2012 has arrived. For a “virgin” as we were called, I have to say it could not have been much better. This is not your typical family vacation, that’s for sure. I still keep saying that this is crazy, who does stuff like this? Well, luckily, we do, who wouldn’t want to live out a dream if opportunity knocks.

I just want to say how proud I am to be a part of this and to see Andy succeed at such a huge endeavor. Many people go through life wishing they could do this or see that. He stepped up and followed through with a project larger than most of you could even imagine. This started 5 years ago when I gave him the go ahead to proceed. I mean, who gets to do something like this at such a young age? He had the knowledge and drive to make it happen. I think it got a little more than expected but he stepped up and worked harder. If you don’t like it, do it again! And he did, many times.

All his work has paid off, even if all it provided was an experience of a lifetime and memories that won’t fade. I am just glad that I can finally fill the empty wall in my living room with the photo we had to drive to Utah to take. Not like I couldn’t have photoshopped it onto the salt. That may have been a bit cheaper!

I have to say, if you know Andy at all, I have never seen him so nervous. It was a bit rough on that first run. We were all pretty silent. With each run it got much easier as our duties all fell into place. Talking to other people, it’s a common theme to work day and night for weeks before you leave and finish it as it goes on the trailer. I just love the fact that our car never ran under its own power until the first run off the push truck. That was a great moment to see him pull away on his own. What a relief!

We were very lucky to not have any major issues. Sure, who doesn’t want to go faster, that’s what you are here for, but to design it, build it and drive it on your own…think about that! The car is coming home in one piece and he is safe. That is everybody’s goal. Sure records are nice but not necessary. While other pits had engines tore out and other issues, we were able to take naps in our pit. That’s the sign of a good build.

Don’t worry, the list has already been started of improvements to make and talk of our next visit. This was a good jumping off point to see what it could do. The process will never end and everyone tells you that you will get the fever and have to return every year. So any money that you would like to donate, send to ….. Or stop by for a photo op with the car, only $10.00 each!!! Unless you have a lot of money, then bring your check book.

I would like to thank our pit crew for getting us through this. You cannot do this alone and luckily all of ours was family so it did make it more of a vacation. We each participated in our own way to make Andy comfortable and keep him focused. I, however, would like a medal for being with 4 Welker men for so long and it’s still not over! And yes, the spray has been used many times.

We are in Wyoming for the night, nothing really interesting to see. I’ll try to start posting more along the way home since I have a lot of car time doing nothing else. Keep following, it will be another few days till our adventure ends. I don’t want to think about that yet, I’m on vacation!!!!!!! – K

Thursday, August 16

Today was a full day again. Got on the salt early and ran a 164.981. Had to let the car cool down for awhile and got ready for a final run. This time he ran a 164.521. That Bit** just didn’t want to hit the 165. He was going faster but since it’s the average, it came out lower. We think we were still the best time in our class, the next one was around 160.

So, after all of this, we started to pack up. We did, however, have two photo shoots at the end of the day. We were approached by an Australian magazine and a free lance photographer who shoots for a bunch of Canadian magazines. Andy has actually been in contact with the Australian journalist before on the internet so it was nice to actually meet.

Friday morning will also be busy. We have another free lance appointment at 7:00 am so we can catch the morning light. We were also approached by a woman working on a Bonneville book, so she may stop by as well. Lots of interesting things going on. No promises that anything would actually be published but I can guarantee that a lot of photos will be making the rounds. If I only had a nickel for every photo taken, I may have enough money for fuel on the way home.

We worked on cleaning the salt off of the trucks. Everyone can clear their schedule and help us when we finally decide to come home. Every nut and bolt must come off the car and each piece needs cleaned. That’s not even including the truck and trailer! We’ll have enough salt left over for our whole town to get through the winter.

So, we hope to try to leave by noon tomorrow and start our journey home. I should be able to post more upon getting better cell phone reception. The goal is to see a few things on the way home, not sure what. If I leave it up to Steve, we’ll see the “world’s largest” of anything he can find. Luckily, I have given myself veto power over everyone else’s suggestions.

So, goodby from Wendover for now. Below is a picture of Wendover Will, the town mascot that looks over the casinos at night. He would look good in Berrysburg.




Wednesday, August 15

Well, we are still trying. Today only resulted in one run. We got out around noon and ran a 157. This time there was a 6 mph head wind to deal with so we are thinking it was around the same as before. The car is ready to go for a run first thing in the am. They run better when it’s cooler due to the air being more dense than later in the day. Hopefully we will be able to get another run in later, we’ll see how it goes.

We do have the top speed in the class that we are running in. There are 5 others, the next one is at a 159. The funny thing is that some of our competition sure does like our car. We could probably have switched some over to our pit crew. It has become a little challenge between us which makes it fun.

For those of you unfamiliar to the timing process, it’s not as simple as it may sound. The course we run on is considered the short course which is 3 miles under power. The overall track length is 5 miles. Speed is measured 3 times. The first mile is not timed, it is only for acceleration. The second mile, the average speed is measured. Then, your instantaneous speed is taken at the 2 1/4 mile. Then you also take the average speed of the third mile. These are the three times that are recorded. You may have actually gone faster but it’s taking your average, not the max. Not as simple as going out there and flooring it even though we’ve had much encouragement to do so!!!

I did enjoy when the announcer gave our name ( they announce all cars and speeds on their own radio station). He said it and then commented, “I don’t name em’ folks!”

Till tomorrow, wish us luck!! – K

Tuesday, August 14

1st run today – 161.373
2nd run today – 164.028

Car is running good. Needs more sh**!!!

We had a good day today. Weather held and it was in the mid 90’s. It’s much less nerve racking since we got that first run out of the way. The record in our class is 196. We know that is not reachable with the current engine – if someone would have only released more funds…

We are having a good time and enjoying all the people we are meeting. People are appreciating all the aspects that had been scrutinized over so carefully. It has been mentioned many times about the attention to detail and quality of the workmanship. These are the things that make it worth the 2,200 miles we’ve traveled.

Andy’s version –
The only difference between the two runs today was shifting at a higher engine rpm from low to high (5500 instead of 5000) and we tuned at the fuel injection slightly. Now we have to figure out what we can do to go faster. We will sleep on that and get at it first thing in the morning. All things considered the car is working well and drives nice.

We tried to upload some videos to YouTube but our Internet access is limited, that will have to wait until we get closer to civilization on the way home.

Going to try to upload another group of pictures to the Speedweek page so be sure to check that out.

Monday, August 13

Glad to see website traffic is up now that a lot of you are back at work for the week. Apparently no one works anymore!

No run today. Spent the day thoroughly checking out the car. The water pumps were drawing too many amps so they were split into two circuits. By the time all of this was done it was too late in the day to run. Checked out the engine and torqued the heads with the assistance of the fine employees of MDGM. Packed up just in time, the wind rolled in around 5:30 and ended racing for the day.

The car is ready to roll in the morning and Groundhog Day will start all over. I will have to say, I just love finding salt everywhere, I believe I’ll be cleaning it out of places for the next few months.

Tim S. – this photo is for you.


Here are a few more cars you may like.



Sunday, August 12

Good morning from the Salt Flats.

Today was the culmination of 5 years of hard work. We got two runs in. The first run had to be under 150 and he came in at 133 on a 3 mile course. Speeds are calculated as an average mph over the course of a mile. Everything went well and Andy was pleasantly surprised how it ran. I believe she had more in her than he thought. So, they changed gears in order to go faster. After doing so, another quick storm rolled in. We got smart this time and took all the canopies down first and put the car in the trailer. After tucking it away, we waited a bit and the courses opened back up. We ended up getting to the line right before they stop for the evening which is 7:00.

The second run needed to be between 150 and 175. We ran on a 5 mile course and came in at 153. This time the car got hot and Andy backed off. A fuse blew and the water pumps stopped working. At this point we only had time to get the car in the trailer so we don’t know what the problem is. Could be minor…could be worse. We’ll know in the morning. As if this isn’t nerve racking enough!!! Here are some before and after images.

Check out the other pictures added to the Speedweek page.




Saturday, August 11

Today was a busy day and I can’t get enough service to get any info out. We had a drivers meeting in the am followed by a rookie meeting. Both were very informative and they even go as far as having all rookie crews drive down the course so you know it up close. That took us all morning and then the car was tuned up a bit more. I think it’s finally at a point where you just need to run it and get a feel for what it can do. Rookies must do a clean rookie run under 150 to pass as a rookie. Then they can move to a different course if they want to.

We had more good comments, Andy could have a welding job in MN and his rivots impressed a guy who makes apache helicopters. We were also told it should be in the living room! (there was always a stipulation I gave Andy that if he ever ran 200 mph we could put it there so it cracked me up when he said this). He was also excited to speak with a man that wrote a flathead book that he references.

Weather was beautiful today and we were joined by 3 other family members. We hope to get going early tomorrow and get in line ASAP to get a run in. The goal is not a record, just safe runs for this year so he can fine tune things for another year. And yes, I’ve accepted that this will continue.


Here is what your vehicle looks like. From the storm it made it a little loose but then it gets hard when it dries.

I did see this beauty last night, anyone else have one?

And, we thought this one was pretty cool.

I’ll try to keep you posted!