Published: November 22, 1999

    When the rules were changed last fall to waive the normal five-year waiting period for potential inductees who were age 62 or older and still racing, no one had any idea who would be the first individual to be voted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame under the new policy.

    The man who has, on five different occasions, been the fastest man on earth moved to the head of the line in a hurry. Craig Breedlove, who turned 62 in March, is still very active in racing, and will try to bring the world land speed record back to the United States in late 2000.

    Officially, it will take a speed of at least 771 miles per hour (1% over the existing record of 763), but Breedlove figures he might as well go for the 800 mile per hour barrier while he’s at it. After all, he was the first to exceed 400, 500 and 600 mph, so milestones are not new to him.

    Other than recognizing that 800 miles an hour is faster than anyone else has ever gone on land, most people can’t relate to how fast it really is.

    “It’s faster than a bullet, and you’re sitting only a few inches off the ground. Needless to say, it’s quite a rush,” says Breedlove.

    IMHOF Executive Director Don Naman takes it a step further. “When Bill Elliott set the NASCAR qualifying record of 212 miles-per-hour at Talladega, it took him a tick less than 45 seconds to get around the 2.66-mile track,” said Naman. ‘At 800 miles per hour it would take Breedlove less than 12 seconds.

    “That’s strictly theoretical, however, since there is no way he can actually make the turns at that speed,” said Naman.

    Breedlove, who has wrecked at a speed twice as fast as any of the other inductees of the Class of 2000 have ever traveled, will be joined in the April 13th induction ceremony by other racing greats Mario Andretti, A. J. Foyt, Nelson Piquet, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Ayrton Senna. The 1999 DRIVER OF THE YEAR will also be honored that evening.

    Tickets for the ceremony are now on sale at the IMHOF office. They are $100 for individual tickets and $760 for a table of eight. For more information, please call 256/362-5002.

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