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Ackerman: Studebaker ready for another Bonneville run

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Ackerman: Studebaker ready for another Bonneville run

This rebuilt 1941 Studebaker race car constructed by a group of Omaha car fans reached 201 mph during a run at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The South Omaha Boys car is headed back to “Bonneville Speedway.”

In 2008, word began to spread about a bunch of South Omaha car nuts who rebuilt a 1941 Studebaker into a race car at the Arbor Garage on Leavenworth Street. Their plan: Take it to the Bonneville Salt Flats and break 200 mph.

Over the years, the car — a creation of Larry Cain, Harold Schuman, Kevin Nichols, George Roseland, Duane Juzynka, Don Lee, Tom Shonquist and others — gradually gained on the team’s goal.

In 2012, with the 80-year-old “youngster” Roseland behind the wheel, the mission was completed with a run of 201 mph.

Now the car, with a few changes, is headed back to Bonneville — the area in Utah known as the site for setting land-speed records. The car was bought by Sam Hornish Sr., father of NASCAR Nationwide star and former Indy Car driver Sam Hornish Jr.

The elder Hornish was in Omaha earlier this week to pick up the car and a couple crew members headed by Roseland. They left for Bonneville on Wednesday.

Hornish, a Defiance, Ohio, native, hopes to make a few passes at Bonneville.

“I’m going to give it a shot,” said Hornish, who plans to take the car back to Ohio and add it to his collection. “It will be interesting because I’m claustrophobic and it’s tight in the seat of that car.”

Hornish Sr. said his son was going to Bonneville, too, but it was doubtful he’d take a spin. However, if you’ve been around race car drivers, you know the temptation is always there.

Hornish Sr., while not a race driver, said his father always took him to the Indianapolis 500. Then along came Sam Jr., and because of his trips to Indy with his father and grandfather, he always wanted to be race car driver — a dream that came true. Hornish Jr. finished second last Saturday in the Nationwide race at the Iowa Speedway.

Hornish Sr. became aware of the South Omaha car when he was searching for vintage racing vehicles on the Internet.

“I’ve always been a Studebaker guy and when I saw a Studebaker race car on eBay my eyes lit up,” he said.

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Lee covers Midlands racing for The World-Herald.

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