Closed-course speed attempt at Irwindale

Irwindale, Calif. - - Last year when the 12,500-lb., 17 foot tall, 18 foot wide "golden goose" sped around the Speedway at a mind-bending 16.937 mile-per-hour average speed everyone present gasped in amazement and made a mental note that they...

Irwindale, Calif. - - Last year when the 12,500-lb., 17 foot tall, 18 foot wide "golden goose" sped around the Speedway at a mind-bending 16.937 mile-per-hour average speed everyone present gasped in amazement and made a mental note that they had been present to witness one of the greatest moments ever in speed runs, perhaps a record that would stand forever in the annals of modern transportation history as the fastest ½-mile oval lap every set by an official Rose Parade float ... But no one on had on that historic night took into account the competitiveness of the builders of the track's nearest neighbor city to the north. There Tim Estes owner of Fiesta Floats in Duarte, California, had already been making plans to blow by his old record from the day after it was set.

The City of Duarte / City of Hope float, all 6.25 tons of it, driven by Tom Gaffney, co-piloted by Frank Deckard and ridden by the Mayor of Duarte Dr. Bob Davey, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Roger Ward, KFWB traffic reporter Jeff Baugh, and Irwindale's own PA announcer Bruce "reporting directly from the float" Flanders swooped majestically around the wide ½-mile circuit to a world record speed of 16.937 miles per hour.

The 1999 Rose Parade float depicted a mother duck and her ducklings, aerodynamic shapes but hardly racing images (still, when that Godzilla-sized duck came by the elevated starter's stand at about 20 miles and hour right eye-level with the flagman it was an awesome sight), this year's float subject will be a much more appropriate "Soap Box" derby-type racer. "We are serious about this record ... We want it ... This will be an all-out record run," Estes was heard to swear.

"All Rose Parade float builders go back to work on January 2 and start laying down plans for the next year's float," Estes indicated. "It was the same with this record ... All the way back up Buena Vista (heading back to their hangar-like construction shops about mile and half from the Speedway) we were talking about how we could make the float go faster down the straights and track better through the turns ... We were just stoked at the idea of breaking our own record even before the ink was dry on the certificate." And man's quest for speed has only just begun ... (again) ...

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