Danny Thompson, Challenger II, 419 MPH

Dsanny Thompson Challenger II
Holley Martin Photos Courtesy Thompson LSR

After a terrific first season in which the revitalized Challenger II achieved a top speed of 419 MPH, Danny Thompson and the Thompson LSR crew are expecting big things in 2015. The car will be competing at Speed Week and at the Cook Shootout for the first time.

Challenger II  – was originally constructed by Danny’s father Mickey Thompson in 1968. After some promising shakedown runs, the car was sidelined as other business concerns surfaced. Decades later Danny brought the car out of retirement determined to show the world that his father’s original creation was indeed a world class land speed record contender.

Challenger II in 1968 with Mickey and Danny Thompson

It quickly proved its mettle, qualifying for the AA/Fuel Streamliner record with a 419 mph blast through the timed mile. A failed clutch and advancing storms put an end to the dream for 2014, but the Thompson LSR crew has spent the winter months modifying, adjusting and tweaking  the speedy blue streak Challenger II to take advantage of the lessons gleaned from its early success.

Challenger II

While the design has proved mechanically and aerodynamically sound, the team has  incorporated changes to the gear ratios and final drive. An undertray has been added to the rear of the car to improve stability and the dry block nitro-burning twin Hemi engines have been freshened for the upcoming struggle between traction and aerodynamic drag. The team plans to run the preliminary “test and tune” event on July 9th to verify their setup for Speed Week and the Cook’s Bonneville Shootout. With all-wheel drive and 4000 horsepower providing the motivating force Challenger II is primed to make a name for itself.

Challenger II El Mirage Test -© 2014 Holly Martin- METAL AND SPEED-15-X3

Meager funding, an all volunteer crew and countless hours of dedicated effort have brought the Challenger into the limelight and Danny Thompson is itching to feel the salt under his feet again. If all goes well at the forthcoming test session, Danny plans to run the car hard right from the get go at Speed Week. He wants to capture the AA/Fuel Streamliner record. And we hope he succeeds in this bold endeavor to advance the longstanding Thompson legacy and a cherished father and son dream.

And of course we hope he leaves enough steam in the engine room for the Bonneville Shootout because that’s where world records and ultimate glory reside. A World Land Speed Record would provide the perfect punctuation mark to an incredible racing story and the longstanding Thompson family heritage of speed.

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Danny Thompson