In August of 2016, the son of racing legend Mickey Thompson, Danny, came out of retirement to make a run at this father’s land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. He succeeded in his attempt, and in doing so, just narrowly beat out the best time of his father while joining the 400 MPH club with a run of 406.7 MPH. The car used was the Challenger 2, which was built on the chassis of Mickey Thompson’s race car he developed for his next run in Bonneville, which was prevented by weather.
Two runs are required to qualify for the record books at Bonneville Flats, something that eluded the elder Thompson since he was unable to make a second run after clocking in at 406.6 MPH on his first one. Unfortunately, a mechanical issue prevented Mickey Thompson from making a second run, in spite of the fact that he had broken the 400 MPH mark back in 1960. A second attempt in 1968 was called off on account of bad weather.
The Mickey Thompson name is synonymous with motorsports; he holds numerous speed records, was a leader in racing innovation and helped sanction off-road racing events. He is a member of both the American Motorsports Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
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Record Books & The Return of the Thompson Name
Danny Thompson, following in the footsteps of his father, also made a name for himself as a racer and speed enthusiast. Danny, who was a young boy when his father broke the 400 MPH barrier, came of retirement at the age of 66 to attempt the feat himself.
Unlike Mickey, he was able to make both runs to complete the 8 miles course, thus ensuring the family name found its official place in the record books of Bonneville.
Though there are cars that go faster than either of the vehicle driven by the Thompson family on the salt flats, they are powered by different types of engines that are more powerful. The importance of the times accomplished by the Thompsons is that they were done using a piston engine.
Since the news broke of his record-setting run, Danny Thompson has said he will bring the Challenger 2 back for another attempt in 2017 at Bonneville. Citing too much potential in the vehicle to retire it after getting the record, Thompson said he does plan on doing so after this year.
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