Arthur Arfons was exhibiting the Green Monster in Las Vegas when a Firestone man broke the bad news. "O.K." said Arfons. "When can we go?" At dawn the next morning, Wednesday, November 3, he was on his way back to Bonneville.
Arthur and the Green Monster arrived at the salt flats on Thursday, prepared to run. He had assumed that Breedlove and Goodyear, having set a new LSR, would be leaving the salt before their full week was up. He was wrong. Goodyear made it plain that they would stay on the flats till the last minute of their week. "They've heard there's a cold front coming in Sunday," an Arfons crew member complained, "and they think the snow'll shut us down." Firestone complained to the Bonneville Speedway Association, which assigns weeks on the flats. But Goodyear representatives were adamant; they said they wanted to run for other speed records. As a Goodyear spokesman remembered the conversation, "The guy from the Speedway Association said, 'All right, you contracted to break the land-speed record and you broke it. Now you have to get off the salt and let Arthur on.' But we argued that we had other things to do and that's when we quick began running Breed-love's wife, and we brought in a Shelby Cobra to set some closed-course records. We had to do something to tie up the salt."
On Saturday, the last day of Good-year's official week, Breedlove and Tatroe made a 12-hour endurance run in the Shelby Daytona Cobra on the oval course at Bonneville, breaking 23 records and chopping up the international straightaway where Arthur was scheduled to make his LSR runs the next morning. Was this intentional? "It certainly was not!" said a Goodyear man. "I felt awful when I heard that we'd damaged the course."
"I don't know if they went out there with a dual purpose or not," said Chief Timer Petrali. "They could have. There's no way to tell."
Chief Mechanic Snyder was furious. "Last week the salt was all ours and we knew we weren't gonna use it, and we offered it to Breedlove on a Monday," Snyder said. "Now he ties up the salt all week and ruins our course. Well, let's go out there tomorrow and ruin it so he can't come back. We'll take the bus out there and plow it up for plantin'!"
Arthur Arfons said nothing except that he would run on the hot-rod course instead of the furrowed international course. Normally, the hot-rod course was not as safe as the other, but now it would be the lesser evil. Arthur did not seem concerned one way or the other, but he ordered a guard to watch the Green Monster all night. "Watch everything out there, not just the car! snapped Mechanic Bud Groff. "If somebody even takes our starter we're out of business." Arthur turned in before midnight, but as he confessed the next morning, "I woke up every hour and it took me a half hour to get back to sleep." Driving with Ed Snyder from the motel in Wendover to the salt flats as the sun rose the next morning, he did not say a word.
The weather had held clear, and Arthur was pure business as the car was prepared for a "warmup run." Charlie Mayenschein, jet-engine expert from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base who doubles as Arthur's engine mechanic, strolled by wearing his "Art Arfons 536.71 mph" T shirt. He had altered it to read, "636.71 mph." The parachute man, Jim Deist, patted Arthur on the back and said, "The chutes'll work, Art."
"If they don't," said Arfons, "you'll have to help clean out the cockpit."
Don Francisco, a hot-rod historian who covers the runs from the air each year, came up and offered to carry a fire extinguisher in his plane "in case you catch fire off the course where the cars can't get to you."
"Not a bad idea," said Arthur, "but it's a terrible thing to be thinking about."