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Portion of Bonneville Salt Flats Resurfaced

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

About 2,000 tons of salt were deposited on the mud surface at the end of the access road to the Bonneville Salt Flats. The repairs demonstrate that it should be possible to repair and restore areas of the historic racing venue that have been depleted of salt.

An estimated 2,000 tons of salt were successfully deposited on the mud surface at the end of the access road to the Bonneville Salt Flats. It was graded and then dried to a hard, concrete-like racing surface. Although modest in scope, the project demonstrates that it should be possible to deposit dry salt in targeted areas so as to help preserve our national treasure—the site where land-speed records have been set over the past 100 years.  

The project took place over several days in mid-June. It was organized by the Save the Salt Coalition, which is comprised of SEMA and a number of other organizations and companies within the land-speed racing community with a shared mission of restoring the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Coalition coordinated the project with the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Shelton Construction. Shelton deposited the salt over the mud—an area once covered by salt. The company has decades of experience working in and around Bonneville.

“The dry salt laydown project marks a milestone event as we celebrate a century of racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats,” said Doug Evans, chairman of the Save the Salt Coalition. “There has been a significant loss of salt in the area since the ’40s. While millions of tons of salt brine have been pumped back in recent years, a supplemental dry salt program will focus on targeted areas, such as the race tracks.”    

The Bonneville Salt Flats is a National Landmark and a geologic phenomenon of international significance. For motorsports enthusiasts worldwide, it is hallowed ground. From the first speed record attempts in 1914 and through the present day, hundreds of records have been set and broken in a variety of automotive and motorcycle classes.

“SEMA’s roots are firmly planted at Bonneville,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA’s president and CEO. “SEMA’s founding companies produced performance equipment for many of the early trailblazers that set land-speed records on the fabled salt. These pioneers would adjust their equipment on the salt flats and then go back to the garage to create the next generation of speed equipment.”

“The Coalition is now eager to take the next step this summer by laying down a two-mile strip of salt the width of a race track,” said Ron Main with the Speed Demon team (the world’s fastest piston-driven vehicle).  “Pending BLM approval, the test project will confirm that we can repair areas where it’s needed and help preserve and protect our national treasure—the Bonneville Salt Flats—for our future generations.”  

The Coalition has been fundraising to pay for equipment and transportation costs associated with dry salt laydown projects. 

For more information about the Coalition, contact Stuart Gosswein at