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LSR Legend Craig Breedlove receives 2017 Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award

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Breedlove at the time he received the Spirit of Competition Award from the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia in 2011. Photo courtesy Simeone Museum.

“The Bonneville Salt Flats have seen some strange things, but the strangest thing yet was a jet without wings…”

When Brian Wilson and lyricist Roger Christian penned Spirit of America, the Beach Boys ode to Craig Breedlove that appeared on the band’s 1963 album Little Deuce Coupe, neither could have known that the Californian’s record-setting days on the salt were just beginning. Over the following two years, Breedlove would set a total of five land speed records, becoming the first person to post two-way averages of 400, 500 and 600 MPH.

The original Spirit of America referenced in the eponymous 1963 recording was just the first of three Spirits, the most recent of which, constructed and campaigned in the 1990s, has demonstrated an ability to hit 676 mph—though Breedlove has indicated he believes it is capable of 800 mph.

In the late 1960s, Breedlove was employed by American Motors to promote the performance of its AMX model with speed and endurance runs. Prior to this, and at the time he set his fourth land Speed Record with the Spirit of America Sonic I in 1965, Breedlove borrowed a Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (now owned by the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum) from Shelby American and set an additional 23 FIA speed records at Bonneville, though this act was not without controversy. Arch-rival Art Arfons, driver of the Green Monster, was quick to point out that Breedlove’s real goal was holding the salt and potentially degrading the surface, preventing his team from contesting Breedlove’s latest record.

Breedlove was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993 and into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000. Now a new honor has been bestowed upon him—the 2017 Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award, which “recognizes motorsports personalities who have made valuable or distinguished contributions to the various types of motorsports in California.”

The award is presented by Justice Brothers, Inc. in honor of the late Shav Glick, a motorsports writer for the Los Angeles Times.

This year’s nominees were Breedlove, rally driver and YouTube personality Ken Block, seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and Indy Car builder and mechanic A.J. Watson. Past award recipients include Ed Iskendarian, Mickey Thompson and Frank Kurtis.