SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Another race event at the Bonneville Salt Flats has been canceled. First it was Speed Week and now World of Speed. Both races called off because officials say the salt conditions at the salt flats are not safe for racing.
Wednesday afternoon race teams and members of the Save the Salt Coalition came together at Totem's restaurant to bring awareness to the problem.
They have the need for speed, but these racers have no place to race. "We can't get a 3 mile track to run on this summer," said Mike Nish.
Nish of Nish motorsports says there just isn't enough groomable salt at the Bonneville Salt Flats to accommodate the majority of the 600 race cars which need about 5 to 7 miles of smooth track to hit record speeds. "What we really need to happen is the reclamation to happen immediately because the racing surface is basically gone."
That's why they've come together with other race teams, the Save the Salt Coalition and Utah Alliance to raise a caution flag.
Bonneville Salt Flat Historian Louise Ann Noeth, AKA "Land speed Louise" told ABC 4 News, "These are racers who are essentially up in arms about the fact that for the second year in a row the Bonneville Salt Flats have been a wash out."
Noeth, and the organizers of Wednesday's event, invited out the community and local lawmakers to get a better understanding of the importance of the salt flats to Utah's history and legacy. In the two hours ABC 4 News was at the event, it didn't appear any lawmakers showed up.
"If this was pollution in the Colorado River or somebody was painting Mount Rushmore they would be up in arms. We are up in arms about the Bonneville Salt Flats." said Noeth.
But Noeth and the race teams are committed to continuing the conversation. At this point it's unclear what's causing the deterioration of the salt flats; it could be wet weather or the mining industry or a combination of the two. No matter the cause, these groups just want to come together to find a solution.
Nish said, "Maybe we can work with the mining company and have them help us with the reclamation. Maybe we can all work together on this, but unless there's some discussion nothing's going to happen."
Researchers from the University of Utah are looking into the issue and they'll be starting their studies in October. Rather than waiting the three years it will likely take to get any answers, the race teams are taking action. Many are headed down to check out the salt flats next week and to sit down with officials from the mining company. Stay with ABC 4 News for the latest.
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