NHRA Museum - First American to 400MPH 50th Anniversary Tribute

Fifty years ago, race driver Mikey Thompson was setting an important motorsports milestone at the Bonnevile Speedway, reaching 406.6 mph, the fastest speed that an American driver had ever traveled over land in a wheel-driven vehicle. To honor this important achievement, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum will open a very special new exhibition on February 12, 2010, dedicated to the late Mickey Thompson.

Gale Banks Engineering, a company that’s led by one of Thompson’s friends, will be the presenting sponsor of the exhibition that will run through the end of September 2010.

“When we heard that there was an opportunity to help Tony Thacker and the Museum put this tribute to Mickey together,”
Banks said in a release, “My only question was, ‘How can we get involved?’”

“Mickey was ten years older and already pretty well-known when I opened my first little speed shop in 1958. What I was doing with engines always intrigued Mickey, and the progress that he was making with chassis design and tires always got my full attention,” Banks remembered.

The exhibit will feature many of the innovative machines that Mickey Thompson designed, built, and in many cases, drove, including Challenger I. This four Pontiac-engined machine was the vehicle Thompson drove through the 400 mile-per-hour barrier on the Bonneville salt flats some 50 years ago.

“It’s a great honor for me personally to have the name Banks associated with both Mickey Thompson and a true racing icon Wally Parks, two men that I felt very privileged to call ‘friends’,”
Banks concluded.
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