World’s Fastest…Bar Stool???

Bar Stool? Did someone say bar stool? How can anyone race a bar stool, and how can they go over 45 miles per hour on a bar stool?

Competition is just an integral part of being a Homosapien, it’s just in our blood and we’ll compete against one another for the title of being number one at most anything. Some competition is quite the norm, golf, bowling, baseball, basketball, hockey, and on and on it goes with each of us having at least a passing interest in them either as a participant or spectator. But ‘bar stool racing‘??? Well, it isn’t like the barstool isn’t worthwhile, there are a variety of things done with a bar stool or on a barstool (and even sometimes off a bar stool). Think of it, we interact with the opposite sex on bar stools, we eat chicken wings on bar stools, we host parties in our homes on barstools, we even sometimes fall off of barstools. But, seriously, racing them?

Racing bar stools is just as serious as any other type of racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats, can you believe the land speed record for bar stools is over 46 miles per hour? This speed in a car is a Sunday cruise, running 45+ MPH while sitting atop a barstool is likely a form of lunacy. Think of seeing a bar stool pull up to the start line of the world’s most famous race track and then watching it turn in a top speed of 46 miles per hour! Not to outdone by the race teams running everything from the 130 MPH Club to breaking the sound barrier in a thrust powered car, the bar stool racers are allowed 2 “body” style with one being the lakester and the other being the “streamliner”. Yep, you read it right. A streamliner bar stool!

The thrill of run what you brung racing is alive and well at the Bonneville Salt Flats where they actually condone and encourage folks to bring their customized bar stools out to the salt to race.

You’re aware of the various classifications of other vehicles at the Bonneville Salt Flats so you have to figure there is a class for the bar stools. And there is. Actually there is only one class for running the bar stools on the salt and a separate class for running on dry lake beds. Oddly enough the classification for the Bonneville Bar Stools is appropriately named ‘Streamliner”.

Since the class inception around 1998 their has been one name synonymous with Bar Stool Racing and that is Cec McCray. MCCray’s original record speed in 1998 was a bit over 21 miles per hour (21.852 to be exact). And he is holder of the current record of 47.586 miles per hour, as well as holding the Lakester Class record of 46.425 mph.

Bar stool racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats

One common theme is prevalent with the USFRA – safety. They don’t allow anything to run on the salt without strict safety guidelines, construction practices and driver protection issues.

Here’s the lowdown on bar stool racing specs:


1. Must be constructed from a REAL BAR STOOL

2. 12 Volt DC Maximum Power (limited to ONE battery only)

3. MOTORS – Optional (limited to ONE single 12 volt motor)

4. STEERING – Required (keep it simple but safe)

5. BRAKES – Required, single-hand operated, external hand brake okay.

6. BODYWORK and FAIRINGS – Optional at builder discretion. There are TWO class records available. STREAMLINER class will have enclosed wheels and tires. LAKESTER class will have open wheels and tires. Other bodywork allowed in LAKESTER class.

7. TIRES – Either pneumatic implement type tires and wheels or solid rubber tires and wheels. 10″ MAXIMUM height. NO BILLET ALLOY WHEELS ALLOWED.

8. 30″ MINIMUM seat height.

9. 23″ MAXIMUM overall tire and wheel width. In streamlined class bodywork can exceed this measurement.

10. 21″ MAXIMUM wheelbase.

11. Competitors must wear full face helmet, gloves, long pants and jacket to cover arms. NO SHORTS AND TEE SHIRTS ALLOWED.

12. No Gearbox, or Mechanical Shifting Device.

13. Rider MUST sit on the seat. (Your Butt must be on the Seat!)

(Copyright USFRA)