- Published: 15 December 2014
For immediate release
BY STEPHEN MOORE
FLETCHER, NORTH CAROLINA – A farm tractor has been entered in the august 2015 Bonneville Speed Week in Wendover, Utah. A 1952 ford 8N dubbed the 8NCREDIBLE, built by Jack Donohue of Fletcher, NC, will be the first farm tractor to compete at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats … in 80 years.
Daddy Warbucks and ten cent gas
Little Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks were on the radio in 1935 and gas was ten cents a gallon when an Allis Chalmers model U farm tractor, shod with Firestone tires and driven by land speed legend Ab. Jenkins, crossed the Bonneville salt at a blistering 67.877 miles-per-hour. Press members that were present to record the event were stunned by what they had just witnessed. “What a sight that must have been,” Donohue said. “Never mind a tractor. Back then, very few cars out on the road could go that fast.”
Harvey Firestone and stubborn farmers
The Jenkins tractor run was to promote the use of Firestone pneumatic tires on farm tractors. Harvey Firestone, the inventor of the agricultural tire in 1932 and with the aid of the Allis Chalmers tractor Corporation, was trying to “put America’s farms on rubber.” Until then, tractors were manufactured with steel wheels. Farmers were reluctant to make the switch, doubting that rubber tires would last. When the public learned of Jenkins’ wildly successful Bonneville speed run, Allis Chalmers tractors were suddenly a popular choice of farmers and the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company became the largest agricultural tire manufacturer in the United States. The historic Bonneville event served to make Ab. Jenkins’ a household name and ushered in a new era in farm equipment technology.
A frightened bison
Proving that no land speed run at Bonneville is a cake walk, Ab. Jenkins, a record holder in all types of land speed vehicles, said his tractor driving experience on the salt, “was like trying to hold onto a frightened bison!” Jenkins never ran a tractor on the salt again.
That ‘need for speed’
Jack Donohue, a 30+ year NASCAR mechanic, car builder, and occasional NASCAR driver, admitted that a “need for speed“ may be one motivating factor behind his 2015 Bonneville entry. He recognized a unique challenge. “As soon as i found out that in 80 years no one has even tried another tractor out there, it really got my attention,” Donohue said.
Farm days and ford V8s
Growing up with a beloved 8N on his family’s dairy farm and “messing with“ Ford 8Ns most of his life, Jack’s choice of the tractor he wanted to take to Bonneville was easy. Deciding to install the Ford flathead V8 engine in his Bonneville entry was an educated decision. “Most folks don’t know this, but back in the day you could have your new 8N Ford tractor converted to a 100 horsepower Ford flathead V8 when it arrived at the dealer. Ford V8 tractors are really not that uncommon,” Donohue explained.
Whenever asked how he enjoyed a career as exciting as NASCAR, Donohue said joking, “it was fun … but I was never sure that’s really what I wanted to do when I grew up.” Messing with” tractors and racing at Bonneville with his 8NCREDIBLE may very well turn out to be exactly what he wants to do. Stay tuned!
More information about Jack Donohue, Jack Donohue Motorsports, and the 8NCREDIBLE - jackdonohue.com
Stephen Moore is the owner of MDS, Inc. and is the PR coordinator and sponsor liaison contact for Jack Donohue Motorsports. firstname.lastname@example.org, 828-684-4632