Layers of mud at Bonneville Salt Flats forces Speed Week organizers to cancel event

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WENDOVER, Utah -- Speed Week on the Bonneville Salt Flats was canceled for the second year in a row due to lack of salt.

The annual event draws thousands of spectators.

“Made a decision as soon as possible so everybody could quit spending money trying to get there,” said Speed Week organizer Bill Latinn.

Last year, there was standing water on the flats. This year, the flats appear to be dry at first glance, but in many places there are layers of mud just under the surface.

A layer of mud recently got stirred up by those prepping the four salt tracks where 600 cars were set to race starting Aug. 8.

“We have a slight crust of salt on the surface, we have anywhere from a half an inch to an inch of silt, and then we have hard salt again,” said Mike Crawford, mayor of Wendover, Utah.

Latinn thinks heavy rainfall in the mountains near the flats, washed soil onto the salt flats in the past year, creating the problem areas.

“In Wendover this is kind of our identity, Bonneville Salt Flats puts Wendover on the map,” Crawford said.

The mayor added the city will feel a financial pinch.

“They’re a captive audience. They have to come to Wendover, they have to eat,” he said.

It may take time to get better but, Latinn believes it will.

People in Wendover told FOX 13 News the Salt Flats have rebounded from similar conditions in years past.
They say the layer of mud eventually dries up and blows away, leaving only salt behind.

That’s what they hope will happen in time for next year’s Speed Week, if not sooner.

There are other racing events planned at the Salt Flats in the fall.