"I don't sleep the night before a record try, and when the time comes to get in the car I feel like running away. But when the car gets moving, then everything is all right. Then it's the kind of feeling you get listening to really deep music, not this rock-and-roll stuff." Arfons has a superstition against talking about any run being his last. "I'm not a kid anymore, and I'm not as quick as I used to be. I don't want to do this too much longer, but I don't want to talk about quitting. I've known some guys who didn't make it through what they'd said was going to be their last run. It won't be that way with me. I'll just get out of the car, call it quits and walk away."
When Craig Breedlove or Gary Gabelich or Art Arfons finally gears up for the next try at the record, nobody knows what will happen. Beyond the 700 to 750 miles an hour that defines the sound barrier at the 4,200-foot elevation of the Bonneville Salt Flats, there will be a shock wave that will explode in all directions—and when it hits the ground it has got to come back up. Nobody knows how this will affect a vehicle traveling over it.
Sponsors tend to be skeptical about ventures that might go up in a cloud of rocket fuel, and they also have accountants who want to be shown a comparable return in publicity for the sizable investment risk involved in a shot at the sound barrier. Breedlove, Gabelich and Arfons all are currently without financing for their supersonic projects, though Gabelich claims he has a hot sponsorship prospect. But each of them is confident he will find the money and be the first to break the speed-of-sound mystery of those air molecules out there on the Salt Flats.