Engines roar as people mull around, taking pictures and perhaps pausing in a spot of rare shade. The salt, white and packed hard, sparkles in the sunlight. I see a Corvette, tricked out for racing, and snap a picture.
I've been waiting to attend the World of Speed at Bonneville Motor Raceway, also known as the Bonneville Salt Flats, since my sophomore year, since only third-level auto students at Syracuse High are allowed to go, and I finally got my chance.
Cars appeared to be no more than quick-moving blurs on the horizon as they raced past, some going up to -- and sometimes beyond -- 300 miles per hour, depending on which line they were in. There was even a line where anyone could bring their car and run it down the flats. The track was probably a quarter of a mile long.
Excitement ran high, and so did cars, the volume almost deafening at times.
Kristen Stringham, a senior at Syracuse, said that the best part of World of Speed was "just listening to the cars as they were tuning up, getting ready to go."
"The best part was the races," said Christian Potter, a Northridge High sophomore.
But Luke Wright, a Northridge High senior, disagrees, declaring "the Volkswagens" to be the best, as his fingers brushed the Volkswagen lanyard hanging around his neck.
Indeed, there were a lot of different cars there. I saw everything from a Volkswagen bus to a classic Mustang to a brand new Camero.
For Dan Cosens, a Syracuse senior, the best bit was "seeing all the engines, and all the classic cars and American muscle cars."
Clearfield High senior Cody Heird liked "going down to the pits and looking at all the cars."
Still, the trip to the salt flats wasn't all fun and games. Cosens wasn't too thrilled about "annoying people on the bus," and Potter didn't like the drive, which was about two or three hours, one way.
Still, Stringham's only concern was that "we didn't have enough time," and Wayne Burbank, Syracuse High's auto shop teacher, agreed.
Compared with previous trips to the Bonneville Motor Raceway, Burbank said, "This time, the pit was further away. The weather was better: it was cooler. It was just as exciting as last time. The difference is that this year I would have wanted to stay longer."
I was pleasantly surprised that students from three different rival schools were able to ride together on a bus for more than two hours. Overall, it was a great time, and I highly recommend it. If you are interested in watching the races next year, check out www.saltflats.com for more information. I am so glad Utah Valley University helped host high school auto programs so that we could go to the World of Speed. The college fed us lunch, which would have cost much more than the $20 it took to get in.
Although the World of Speed event for 2010 ended on Sept. 18, I have every intention of going back next year and so do others.
"It was a fun time and I got to see a lot of cars I wouldn't normally be able to," Stringham said.
Burbank added, "There were many cars in the 175-miles-per hour and faster line that I really liked."
Or in the poetic words of Cosens, it was "a glorious time driving down the flats, hearing all the beautiful cars racing down the salty roads."
Heird echoed my thoughts in explaining, "It was very worth it."
Dezarae Beaman is a senior at Syracuse High School. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.