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Friday—the last available day—was still windy and Wingfoot was still balky. "Fuel-pump troubles," groused Arfons. Morning passed. Green and Arfons saw their hopes riding away with the fast-falling sun. Finally Arfons tried a vital 1/16th of a turn on the idle adjustment. Then he said O.K. and reminded Green to be sure to use the afterburner.
Clad in a pale-blue Goodyear-marked uniform and a safety helmet, Tom Green wiggled his 5 feet 11 inches into the cockpit and roared down the course.
It was 4:06 p.m. Green, steering with one hand, pumped a lever with the other, and the afterburner fired. "It went zoom, zoom, zoom. That's the only way I can describe it. The air speed indicator told me I was going 440, but I didn't use the afterburner enough in the measured mile. After I popped the chutes, they told me my official speed was only 406."
Green sensed that something had happened to the motor and told Arfons, who found that somewhere along the 10-mile straightaway Wingfoot's engine had ingested something—most likely a bolt—and four blades had been damaged. "What had happened further in the motor we could only guess," said Arfons. It was now 4:45, and there was no time to look, because a driver is required to make his return run within an hour, or not at all. There was no hesitation. Wingfoot roared into the measured mile again. This trip Green fired the afterburner three times. The spurts were enough, and the record fell.
"You know," Green exulted moments later, "the car handles better at 400 than 200. It has the power for 500. Now I wonder what the limit of speed on land may be. I don't think 700 is out of reason."
Walt Arfons listened intently as Green described the noisy life inside Wingfoot at 400-plus. "It rattles a lot," he said. "And those little irregularities in the salt—you feel every one. You sort of get the feeling you are inside a rocket that's rattling around on the ground."
"It's a great moment," said Walter Arfons—and a moment was all it was. For on Monday afternoon brother Art turned loose his 17,000-horsepower Monster, the most powerful car ever built. Art, 38, had only planned a test run, but the weather was right and the engine—a type used by the B-58 Hustler bomber—was ready. His first sweep through the mile was a mere 396.3, but he was back minutes later in an eerie 479 for an average of 434.02—a new record, by far. Nor was there any telling how high he might push the record during the week as he risked more runs. "It howls like an animal," Art had said of his car, and its howl was one of success.
Walt Arfons was not there to see Art's triumph. "Have to be getting along," he had said as he packed up the day before. What he had not said was that brothers Walter and Arthur Arfons of Akron, who stopped speaking to each other during the years of racing failure and frustration, have no plans to speak to each other during the years of prizes and profits.