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For the record, let it be noted that the fastest man in the world fueled up on hot chocolate, cereal and a cinnamon roll, accompanied by the digestion-inducing sounds of Creedence Clearwater Revival on the cafe jukebox. He was wearing his lucky canary-colored T shirt, Levi's and black stocking cap. On top of that, at the Flats, he added the things he wanted for spiritual comfort: 28 strands of beads around his neck, a hair clip from his girlfriend, a St. Christopher medal, various Indian good-luck pieces, a Mexican peso, several key chains and four letters which had been carried by John Cobb during his 1947 record run in which he averaged 394.196 mph.
Spirit thus fortified, Gabelich took care of the physical: over all that stuff he donned flame-resistant suit, gloves, boots, face mask and helmet—producing an effect that was pretty much astronaut at that. Except that the suit also displays the decals of the participating companies, plus one peace symbol and one American flag. That left only one thing left to do: talk to the car. Gabelich patted the nose cone and said to the Blue Flame, urgently: "Let's do it together, baby. Give me a good ride. Let's go, baby. You can do it. We can do it together, baby." Then he climbed into the cockpit.
"This is what happens," says Gabelich. "You're sitting in it and they put the cover on you. Suddenly, all my adrenaline pumps up to about the same pressure as the gas. My thinking clears up and it's all beautiful. I'm in a completely different world, man. I know how a lion tamer feels. I turn on the recordings and let it go: suddenly I'm blasted back into the seat and my body conforms to it exactly. And I count off the speeds. Then my hearing cuts out at 600 mph and it's all beautifully still, quiet. It's better than sex, man, it's better than anything."
First run down, the Blue Flame hit 617.602 mph through the measured mile. In 48� minutes the car was ready for the run back. The truck eased up behind and started the push-off. It got the Blue Flame rolling down the approach at about 35 mph and backed off. Inside the cockpit, Gabelich fired off the engine with a shattering roar and was away.
The slick tires quickly picked up a coating of damp salt, creating the eerie visual effect that the car was floating, slightly airborne, as it flashed through the mile, stretched out in a long, shimmering silver-blue streak. Behind it, drifting lazily, came puffs of fluffy white vapor. And inside the cockpit, despite the push of some five G's, Gabelich kept his cool. "It was smooth, very smooth," he said. "It seemed to float a little. Nothing wrong, though. Everything was perfect." Then, even as the car zinged past the timing trailer, the chutes puffed out and it was all over: 630.388 mph through the kilo and 627.287 mph through the mile. A world record two-way average of 622.407 mph.
When the crew unsnapped the canopy and unstrapped him, Gabelich, now officially the fastest man in the world, uttered the historic words: "Plenty boss, man, plenty boss." Then he added, more prosaically, "I knew it was a good one. It was a wild ride. We really got with it. I'm very happy.
"Next year," said Gabelich, "we'll go after the speed of sound. It's about 720 miles an hour at this altitude. I'm also looking for a sponsor to build me a rocket-powered boat. I want to be the first man to hold both land-and water-speed records and survive."
Then they all piled into cars and paraded back to Wendover, honking horns and shouting the news. And they finally drank the champagne. Plenty boss. Maybe better than going to the moon.