LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A remote stretch of Nevada highway will bring out drivers looking for a test of speed — and their nerves — from May 12-15.
It’s the Nevada Open Road Challenge, and it will close Nevada Highway 318 while drivers throttle up and take a shot at the course record — an average of 219.643 mph over the 119.78 mile course. The May event is a down-and-back that runs from “Checkpoint 3” to Hiko, and then back: 59.89 miles each way, according to organizers. Highway 318 is about 110 miles north of Las Vegas, via U.S. Highway 93.
An event that runs in September — the Silver State Classic Challenge — runs a one-way 90-mile course from Lund to Hiko.
Motorcycles are not allowed, but cars and trucks of all kinds will be on the course. It’s not just for racecars.
Entry fees range from $200 to $900, depending on the division you want to enter. Different divisions are available depending on the speed of the vehicle.
“You just can’t do something like this in any other sport,” says White Pine County tourism director, Kyle Horvath. “Anyone who has the cash, a fast ride, and a strong nerve can compete. You don’t need to be a professional, but you do need to be safe.”
A training requirement for “rookie” drivers and navigators is strictly enforced. A no-show will disqualify you from participation.
The list of reasons you will be disqualified provides a glimpse of the emphasis on safety — or at least as safe as you can be running an open road race:
- Receiving a moving violation (speeding ticket) on Highway 490 and/or 318 – The Silver State Classic Challenge Highway (the two event courses) within 90 days prior to the event, or the day of the event that the participant is entered in, and the event officials are properly notified [this is required by the Nevada Department of Transportation].
- Doing a burn-out or other unsafe driving during the inspection, car show or the parade
- Failing to decrease speed and stop safely immediately after completing a Shoot-Out run on Highway 490
- Exceeding Tech Speed
- Finishing the event with an average speed which exceeds the Target Speed by 10 mph or more
- Crossing the finish line below their minimum speed
- Continuing at a sustained speed more than 30 mph (80 mph for Support Crew & Touring Divisions) below the Target Speed (Minimum Speed in Unlimited is 160 mph)
- In the Touring Division, passing the pace car or exceeding 124 mph
- Disregarding or over-driving a flag signal
- Impeding a safe pass
- Violating any of the Rules of the Road (see “Rules of the Road” section)
- Using Nitrous Oxide
- Using a parachute
- Failing to notify the Event Director of an incident that happened after tech inspection requiring reinspection
- Other behavior or actions deemed by Event Director to be detrimental to the safety of the event.
A 42-page rulebook lays out everything you need to know about the event.
Although you can’t set up along the highway and watch the cars, there is a weekend full of activities that accompany the event, which runs out of Ely as a home base.