ROSE PARADE FLOAT CLOSED-COURSE SPEED RECORD ATTEMPT TO TAKE PLACE AT IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY OCT 16 Irwindale, Calif. - - An attempt to set a World Closed Course Speed Record for Rose Parade Floats will take place on the Irwindale Speedway oval ...
ROSE PARADE FLOAT CLOSED-COURSE SPEED RECORD ATTEMPT TO TAKE PLACE AT IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY OCT 16
Irwindale, Calif. - - An attempt to set a World Closed Course Speed Record for Rose Parade Floats will take place on the Irwindale Speedway oval on Saturday, October 16, at 6:30 p.m. (just prior to the start of that night's scheduled United States Auto Club open wheel championship races). The float is the City of Duarte-City of Hope official entry in the New Year's Day 2000 parade.
Built "just up the road" (about 2 miles from the race track) at Fiesta Floats in Duarte, California, the float-turned-speed-racer is 35 feet long, 18 feet wide, and tops out at 17 feet tall. The steel, styrofoam, and chickenwire, computer-animated vehicle weighs over 12,500 pounds and is powered by a Chevy 350 small block motor. "This is a first for Fiesta, we've been designing and building prize-winning Rose Parade floats since 1988, but this is the first time that we've ever had one of them try for a speed record on a real race course," said company president Tim Estes. "We're preparing for Saturday's big run like a NASCAR team, checking everything, trying to get the 'set-up' just right for Irwindale's 12-degree banking."
Tom Gaffney, a veteran of five Rose Parades will do the driving assisted by the Speedway's own Frank Deckard, himself a big fan of racing. "This looks like fun, but the whole crew is taking this deal very seriously … We want this record," Deckard smiled.
"Everyone associated with this project fully expects to set a record during this attempt," said the man most responsible for putting the unique run together, chief track announcer Bruce Flanders. "In fact, since, as far as we know, no one has even ever thought about trying to set a lap record with an authentic Rose Parade float, I believe that this will be recognized as a new record at whatever speed we reach," Flanders added. Irwindale Speedway has a sophisticated electronic timing system that registers every lap of every car, every time that it's on the race track. "We can time laps down to the third decimal with the AMB system. In fact, many nights we've had to rely on the system to tell us who won a very close race," said Flanders. "Whatever top speed figure that we hit with this float will be accurately reported to the nearest thousandth of a second … There'll be no guesswork here!" Representatives of the Guinness Book of World Records please take note.
Entitled "Life's Celebrations", the City of Duarte-City of Hope float will not be swathed in hundreds of thousands of flowers (as it will be on January 1, 2000) when it runs against the official clocks at Irwindale Speedway, but it will have all of its basic shape (that of a gigantic mother duck pulling a floral wagon with three of her ducklings happily going along for the ride) and structure intact for the timed test.
"This record attempt started out as something of an inside joke at the track, then someone said, 'Why not?', and, Shazam! we were 'off to the races'," Flanders confessed. "If we can have some fun with this one and get a little extra publicity for our wonderful neighbors at City of Hope, all the better."
The Speedway's spectator gates will open at 2 pm on Saturday and fans are encouraged to come out early to witness practice and qualifying. There's always live band playing in the meeting area/food court behind the grandstands, and a free car show in the chalet area. Early-arriving fans can also take their choice of the over 6,000 comfortable seats, picking the "exactly right" ones to view the world's first such record attempt prior to the 7:00 pm opening ceremonies and subsequent evening of racing.
FOR TICKETS AND DIRECTIONS TO THE TRACK CALL: (626) 358 - 1100