Corn farmer proves point with car
AMES, Okla. (AP)--An Oklahoma corn farmer has built an ethanol-fueled Ford Mustang that hit a speed of 252.78 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
Brent Hajek wants to show the world fuel containing 85 percent ethanol doesn't cut performance.
"Why don't you go out there and see if you can go faster than we did," he said.
When Hajek's team showed up at the Bonneville effort, he realized there really wasn't a class for E85 cars, and they put him instead in a class called "C-blown, fuel altered unlimited."
"Basically most of those cars in that class are the nitro cars," said Hajek, who owns a racecar museum in Ames, 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
"When we heard that we thought it was going to be the equivalent of taking a pea shooter to a bazooka contest.
"But we got to playing around with this car and thought 'this thing is really making some real horsepower."'
On the very first run, his car driven by Danny Thompson, son of Mickey Thompson who broke the record 40 years prior in a Mach 1 Mustang, came within 1 mph of breaking a record.
Hajek and Thompson didn't make the record books this year. Although they had a run that was faster than the record, the world record is not changed until the speed is duplicated.
"But we did what we set out to do," he said. "We set out to build the world's fastest Mustang and the world's fastest E85 vehicle."
Hajek said he knows the future of the U.S. auto industry is cloudy right now, and he knows that if things are going to change there will most likely be stipulation accompanying any government bailouts to insist that the "Big 3" create greener and fuel efficient vehicles.
"There will be an E85 Mustang in the future," Hajek said. "And we helped develop the plan. And the best part is that some crazy, danged corn farmer Okie from a small, small town did this."