Bonneville Salt Flats, UT Speed Setting Racer Crash, Aug 1960
300 MPH CRASH KILLS DRIVER IN SPEED RUN.
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah (AP) - ATHOL GRAHAM, 36, once said: "All my life, I've wanted to break the world's speed record."
He died trying Monday.
The left rear wheel snapped off his 3,000-horsepower car as it was going 300 miles an hour. The car skidded, flipped and tumbled 4,000 feet before coming to a stop with GRAHAM pinned underneath.
He was flown to a hospital in Salt Lake City but died minutes later.
The Salt Lake City mechanic told a newsman and close personal friend Sunday night that he thought he'd break the world record of 394 m.p.h. but added: "I certainly wish that all the people would say a prayer or two for me."
Marion Dunn, sports writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, said he thinks GRAHAM was scared to death and not very happy about making the run.
"ATHOL told me last week," Dunn wrote in his column today. "I'll have a lot to tell you about my feelings toward this whole thing. I think a lot of it will shock you. When all this is over, let's you and me have a long talk."
Dunn said, "I think he was going to give me a story - a story that he was quitting the high-speed business."
Expenses had been piling up on GRAHAM because of the time he took from his job and the money he spend to get his car ready.
The morning of the race GRAHAM talked confidently but several of the newsmen covering the run felt something was wrong. One asked him if he had it to do all over again, would he do it?
After a moment GRAHAM replied: "Yes, I guess I'd have to."
He built his car for about $2,500, not counting his time and skill and got it up to 344 m.p.h. last fall.
Rushville Republican Indiana 1960-08-02