October 6, 2014

BSFpanoramic SAH LandSpeed Louise Wins 2014 James Valentine Award from Society of Automotive Historians

Many peaks of the Silver Mountain range surrounding the Bonneville Salt Flats are named after land speed racers including Ab Jenkins, “Terrible” Teddy Tetzlaff, John Cobb, Athol Graham and Malcolm Campbell.

Click photo for full panoramic view

 Los Angeles, CA  - The Southern California Chapter of the Society of Automotive Historians named “LandSpeed” Louise Ann Noeth the winner of the 2014 James Valentine Memorial Award in the periodicals category.

Presented for “Excellence in Automotive Historical Research,” the entry entitled “Counting Down to a Century of Speed” appeared in the October 2013 issue of the GoodGuys Gazette. The 18-page feature encapsulates 100 years of land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

“One judge commented about the possibility of expanding the article into a full length book,” explained Bob Ewing, Chairman, Valentine Award committee, “ ‘I would look forward to seeing something along those lines on the shelves.’ Another judge commented the entry had ‘considerable value in a number of ways,’ but also felt it could have been edited better, and that the lack of captions on some photos left him wondering which vehicle was which.”

Noeth, an acknowledged expert on the subject matter, was equally grateful for the award as well as the critical remarks.

“A new book is underway!” said author Noeth. “One judge, a retired college professor, said that there should have been more detail into how the research into the article was done. As a street urchin who learned her craft through the tender mercies of thoughtful, yet tough university-trained editors through the years, I don’t automatically think about creating a bibliography when hunting down historical facts – but I will now.

The Valentine Memorial Award is named for the late J.H. Valentine, at one time the recognized authority of automobiles built in Los Angeles. Valentine devoted his life to accurately compiling nearly insignificant data on early automobiles one by one. With no chance of personal wealth, he ensured that future historians would have a large quantity of priceless material. The Valentine Award honors authors whose automotive historical research is linked to people and events in California, but does not preclude significant historical milestones anywhere in the world.

Noeth was first honored in 2002 by the SAH SoCal Chapter, winning the Valentine for her book “Bonneville Salt Flats.” She has repeatedly earned additional honors through the years for her historical work.

Here is a link to the 2014 Valentine Award winning article:


LSL HC web Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic Racing Oil: Pretty Puffery or Power Protector?

In the Shell Technology Center: LandSpeed Louise and Penske Indycar driver Helio Castroneves

In late June, I was the guest of Shell and Pennzoil at the Shell Technology Center as well as the Grand Prix of Houston. While many were enamored with the double-header of open-wheel racing I was focused on getting details about the Pennzoil Platinum synthetic motor oil. Yeah, OK, another snake oil in a pretty silver package, right? Maybe.

What caught my attention is that this “synthetic” is derived from nearly pure natural gas. Some big brains figured out how turn gas into a liquid to form a base oil into which they then blend in some additives and come away with what Shell/Pennzoil claims will kick the butt of Mobil 1 and Royal Purple. Seriously.

Now it helped that Roger Penske uses the stuff in his Indy engines. My respect for “The Captain” runs deep; he does not run junk nor does he “cheap out.” Ever. Never.

Did you know Indy cars can’t use “secret snake oil” anything they put in their racing engines MUST be commercially available.

The Shell Technology Center is no little shack, home to some 2,000 scientists and engineers, the oil giant spends a staggering amount of cash on R&D each year – more than a billion annually since 2007.

If they were opening their doors to me, I figured it was worth a few days to find out if land speed racers might benefit from this ingenious method of lubrication. After all, these ingenious amateurs racers are the fastest people on earth who have, for decades, set extraordinary speed records using mostly modest means.

To prepare for the trip I consulted with some leading and respected LSR engine builders: Al Teague, Mike Le Fevers, Ken Duttweiler, John Beck, Dave Brant, Rex Svoboda, Doug Albietz and Rick Yacocci to get their views on dinosaur oils versus synthetic versions.Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology Bottle 160x300 Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic Racing Oil: Pretty Puffery or Power Protector?

I explained that Pennzoil was claiming its Platinum Synthetics would provide complete protection, without compromise, in five key ways:

1. Cleaner pistons
2. Better fuel economy
3. Protects horsepower
4. Unsurpassed wear protection
5. Excellent extreme temperature performance

The engine builders held basically the same opinion that synthetics had a clear advantage in protecting any engine, but the price made many people hesitate when taking something off the shelf – especially when talking about street-driven cars.

While I savor technical discussion, I am no lubricant or fuel expert so I am grateful for the time they spent coaching me on what was important. All were very generous with their knowledge and insightful about what wsolar121 1024x603 Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic Racing Oil: Pretty Puffery or Power Protector? as important for me to discover. From the conversations, I came away with specific questions for the Pennzoil science and tech people. some I have answers to, others are in-process of being answered.

My goal was to take home details about how the stuff worked in high performance and racing engines. I am all too aware of how LSR must simultaneously protect their investment while wringing out every last pony of giddy-up out of every run.

I was introduced to power-packed group of people and given a great deal of time to talk with each candidly. Participants in the PurePlus™ Technology Innovation Tour included Shell’s brain trust of  Dr. Opinder Bhan, Dr. Alison Falender and Scott Rappaport  together with senior motorsports engineer Paul Bastien, and Penske driver Helio Castroneves.

Richard Dixon 207x300 Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic Racing Oil: Pretty Puffery or Power Protector?

Dr. Richard Dixon

Later, trackside, we met with Chris Hayek, Shell Lubricants Global Brand Director; Dr. Richard Dixon, Shell NA Motor Oil Technology Manager; Penske drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power; Dr. Tony Sime, Senior Design Engineer, Ilmor Engineering. You might think that was enough, but Shell hit us with the power tools later that same evening where we  enjoyed private, leisurely cocktails followed by dinner with all of the above PLUS Tim Cindric, President, Penske Racing; Derrick Walker, President, IndyCar Competition and Operations and Will Phillips, IndyCar VP Technology.

I am NOT crowing about the VIP line-up. Rather I believe it important to mention these people because all were willing to talk at-length and in-depth about whatI kept calling the “fancy new snake oil.” What a fine, respectful guest I turned out to be. . . .,  thankfully, the irreverence was taken in the spirit it was intended: lighthearted but pointedly skeptical until proven otherwise.

The non-technical highlight of the entire five-day immersion was a rip-snorting, fun-poking, who’s-the-best-driver banter at dinner between Castroneves, Power and Montoya reminding all of us that we were the slowest in the room. It was bench racing at its finest and funniest. Those boys could easily do stand-up with Leno or Ferguson on their days off.

Once I get the questions back and answers sorted, I intend to share the information with the entire land speed racing community. That will include my Fuel For Thought column in the Goodguys Gazette, Bonneville Racing News and www.landracing.com.

Stand by, this stuff has some merit, but there are miles to go to show you what and why.

PurePlusbaseoilgraphic pdf 27 Feb 2014 Pennzoil Platinum Synthetic Racing Oil: Pretty Puffery or Power Protector?


June 27, 2014 – Berkley, MI – Winners of the 23rd International Automotive Media Awards were announced at during a ceremony held at the Vinsetta Garage Restaurant. IAMA’s were presented at a joint event with the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year (NACVOTY) Awards.

The International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), is a program to recognize and encourage excellence in
all forms of automotive media. Louise Ann Noeth submitted three works for review – all three were judged to be
worthy of an award.

Cover 150x150 Packed Podium Finish for LandSpeed Louise at International Automotive Media Competition BSF100OCT2013 art 150x150 Packed Podium Finish for LandSpeed Louise at International Automotive Media Competition





GOLD | The Demon’s Dozen | Book – published by LandSpeed Productions
SILVER | Counting Down to a Century of Speed | Magazine – Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette
BRONZE | Counting Down to a Century of Speed | Magazine Graphics – Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette

“I’ve taken part in the IAMA’s since its inception,” explained Noeth, “At first, only as a hopeful entrant, to find out
how to improve my writing and photography storytelling skills. Years later, the administrators asked me to judge
some categories and I found the volunteer effort to be as rewarding as it was educational – we’ve got some
dandy fine motoring media folks at work in the world! When asked to step into the Chief Judge position, after
entering three pieces of my own, I accepted only after it was clear my entries would get a beating if they
deserved it. That those works finished Gold, Silver and Bronze tells me honest, serious peer review was done. I‘m
grateful. As I see it, my readers are the REAL winners because I believe it critical to never stop tweaking the
talents the good Lord saw fit to give me.”

Noeth shares the Bronze award with Kevin Reynolds, Art Director at the Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette.

Judging is by peers, to a standard; entries may earn up to 100 points. The Medallion International Automotive

Media Awards (IAMAs), Bronze (85-91), Silver (92-96) and Gold (97-100) medallions are presented for those
works so qualified. From among the highest-point (98-100) Gold awards are chosen the Best of Divisions, with
Best of 2013 being chosen from the Best of Division awardees. Therefore, the Medallion IAMAs are a competition
against a standard, whereas the Best of Divisions and Best of the Year IAMAs are a competition against other
award-winning entries. If no entry in a category meets the minimum standards no award will be made in that
category. Entries are judged by Category within their Division. The works sent for judging were published or
aired January 1 – December 31, 2013

The IAMC™ is administered, produced by and is a property of The International Society for VEHICLE Preservation,
©2014 all rights reserved. ISVP™ is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) educational organization.

16 Jan, 2014  |  Written by  |  under Uncategorized

Cover The Demons Dozen











 George Poteet, owner of the Speed Demon streamliner, commissioned “LandSpeed” Louise Ann Noeth  to chronicle the 2012 racing season of the land speed racing team whose dedicated work allowed Poteet to drive in excess of 400MPH a dozen times during two speed meets on the Bonneville Salt Flats. The timed runs on the surveyed course resulted in the certification of 1 National and 2 World Land Speed Records. This unprecedented achievement surpasses the remarkable speed demonstration by Californian Al Teague driving his Spirit of 76 streamliner in excess of 400MPH eight times in one season.

Introduction Page 300x222 The Demons Dozen

Click Speed Demon to Enlarge

Hours of  personal interview time with Poteet were combined with Noeth’s historical archive reference materials as well as that of the team to write the text, select photographs and collect appropriate descriptive art before designing the  cover as well producing the complete print-ready layout in a record 43 days.

FIA Certificates 300x223 The Demons Dozen

Click Certificates to Enlarge




The limited print production run included 22 personalized editions, one for each member of the Speed Demon Racing Team that was comprised of a dedicated photo page and a biographical page for each respective team member.


Poteet’s goal for the project was to herald each team’s member’s role on the team and added his personal  observation emphasizing his appreciation for their well-focused work. 

Team Roster 300x222 The Demons Dozen

Speed Demon team member Betty Howard was a critical liaison partner in the project providing, in addition to her exceptional interpersonal skills and dozens of snapshots used in the book.

Click the Roster to Enlarge

 Aerodynamics 300x223 The Demons Dozen

Click Text to Enlarge
13 Nov, 2013  |  Written by  |  under Hot Rods, land speed racing, Motorsports

Greetings land speed racing speed fans. .  .

If you are waiting for the epic motorsports update of my Bonneville Salt Flats history book first published in 1999, please know it is a year behind. I wanted to include the full 100 years of land speed racing, not just sell a book during the 100th year. 

Bonneville: A Century of Speed published by the University of Utah Press will, hopefully, be available for sale sometime next year. I have been working on this massive chronicle for many years. It will contain several hundred thousand words and upwards of 1,000 photos.

Hundreds of interviews were conducted with world and national reBSF100OCT2013 art Bonneville: A Century of Speed cord-setters, sanctioning authorities, engine builders, high performance parts suppliers as well as hundreds of crew members. Thousands of images are being collected from public and private archives as well as directly from racers, families and friends. Original art has been drawn, or contributed by skilled, expressive artists including the work of Robert Seabeck, Tom Medley, Robert Rampton, Rex Burnett, Connor Lock and Stacy Becker.

The point is to reflect an in-depth land speed racing historical narrative that is (pardon me, Mr. Lincoln) “of the racer, by the racer and for the reader.”  Information is also being culled from articles I wrote for the New York Times, London Daily Telegraph, Chicago Tribune, dozens of automotive magazines  and of course my Goodguys Gazette column “Fuel For Thought” that has appeared monthly for the past 12 years dedicated to telling the story of land speed racing.

Because I’ve had numerous people contact me about another project scheduled to debut at the upcoming Grand National Roadster Show in Southern California, I must state that I have nothing whatsoever to do with this venture. I am not part of, nor have I contributed to the Save-the-Salt fundraising project that sold pages to racers, promoters and parts suppliers. 

Please be aware that although similarly entitled, my book and the fund-raising project are not in competition with one another.

One cannot buy pages in my book. This is a significant, historical retrospect that will be professionally edited and fact-checked by the university press staff, editors and distinguished reviewers. For a preview of what to expect, the Goodguys Gazette recently published my quick-study Bonneville summary in the October 2013 issue. 

 Click here to download the 18-page feature article: “Counting Down to a Century of Speed” 

Make no mistake, I fully support efforts to protect and restore the Bonneville Salt Flats. It is my considered opinion, based on countless hours of unpaid research conducted at numerous public and private archives throughout the nation, that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has failed in its mandated duty to protect the federal lands in Utah known as the Bonneville Salt Flats. That the flats are also listed on the Federal Register of Historic Places (Reference # 75001826) makes the failing that much more egregious. 

Today, the fastest speed machines are taunting the razor’s edge running on less-than-optimum surfaces made smaller, thinner and unsafe by years of unchecked mineral mining. The mining companies are not at fault. They are operating under a BLM approved, legal mining plan that fails to include any direct preservation or restoration directives. While the Salt Lake City BLM office is directly responsible for this debacle, apparently no one in Washington, D.C. seems to give a damn that treasured federal land is being legally and systematically salt raped. Gone are contenders for the absolute world record and now even slower (if you can call plus 400MPH slower) class hopefuls are feeling the pinch. If lack of oversight is allowed to continue unchecked, I firmly believe that land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats will be severely curtailed if not completely halted for safety reasons within the coming decade. Unless, of course, Intrepid allows the racers to come and run on the north side of Interstate 80 on the where the salt is upwards of 10 feet thick after nearly a century of fetching salt off the Speedway for potash extraction.

– LandSpeed Louise


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