For the past three decades, driving enthusiasts from around the world have gathered on the third Sunday of May and September in the Nevada high desert for the running of two truly unique automotive events. Their amazing journey traverses 90 to 120 miles of closed, two-lane public highway, comprised of long fast straights, sweeping corners, blind dips, even carving through a twisty canyon. The current course record stands at 219.6430 mph average speed, as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. The best part is, if you’ve got the nerve, a little cash, and a fast ride, you too can join them to run as fast as you can, legally, down a public highway. Welcome to the Silver State Classic Challenge!
The Silver State Classic Challenge, Inc. is a non-profit corporation with a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors and staff who annually host the Nevada Open Road Challenge (NORC) and Silver State Classic Challenge (SSCC) Open Road Racing events on a closed section of Nevada State Highway 318, renamed by the Nevada Department of Transportation as the Silver State Classic Challenge Highway
SSCC offers two completely different types of Open Road Racing event formats. The NORC in May is a two-way event, totaling 119.78 miles (59.89 each way), with a weekend packed full of gearhead activities, and an awards banquet after-party held in the charming, rustic mining town of Ely, Nevada. The SSCC in September is our classic 90-mile, one-way event, with additional activities held in Ely, and the SSCC awards banquet after-party is held at the historic Sam’s Town Casino Hotel in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada.
SSCC events are based on time, speed, and distance. Classes begin at 95 mph, and increase in 5 mph increments up through the 160 mph class, with a 170 mph, 180 mph, and an Unlimited, top speed class. Vehicles start one at a time, in one minute intervals against a GPS timing clock, and attempt to break the beam at the finish line as close as possible to their speed class target time. First, Second and Third place trophies are awarded to the Driver and Navigator/Co-driver in each class, based on most accurate elapsed time targets achieved, as measured by SSCC timing equipment. Trophies are also awarded to drivers of our companion One-Mile and Half-Mile Shootout events, both held on race weekends in conjunction with our Open Road Racing events.
SSCC events are open to anyone 18 years of age or older with a valid driver’s license and a roadworthy vehicle, providing the driver, navigator, car and safety gear all pass a safety technical inspection. Please see our rule book on this site for further details. All entrants will receive a set of course notes and a pre-race DVD to help them prepare for their event.
All first-time SSCC participants are considered rookies, and may enter classes ranging from 95 mph up to 110 mph, determined by their vehicle capabilities and safety equipment, and each Driver and Navigator/Co-Driver’s comfort level. All rookies must also attend an SSCC rookie driver school. Those with documented Open Road Racing or other equivalent racing experience, or those who hold racing licenses from select sanctioned racing bodies, may be eligible to obtain a waiver from rookie school. Please see our rule book for details, and contact us to submit qualifications to our SSCC Race Director for rookie school waiver requests.
For SSCC rookies, the event begins on Thursday of race weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, with a practice session and qualifying rookie school at SPEEDVEGAS, located just South of the Las Vegas Strip. An SSCC prescribed classroom introduction is followed by an exhilarating high-performance driving session, where rookies will complete laps on the road course in exotic cars from SPEEDVEGAS fleet. It’s some of the most fun you’ll ever have while going to school!
During the NORC event in May, registration packet pickup will be held in Ely, Nevada. For the SSCC event in September, registration will be held at Sam’s Town Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, along with a technical inspection session. There is a Press Conference/Luncheon open to all participants, crews, Ham radio operators, and course workers of SSCC events. Following Thursday morning rookie school (NORC), or after the luncheon (SSCC), a caravan of participants will depart for a fun drive to Ely, roughly 240 miles North of Las Vegas, with a pit stop in Ash Springs for refueling and snacks. Along the way, rookies in the caravan will have a chance to preview the course, and ask questions about the road. Upon arrival in Ely, there will be an evening welcome party and pub crawl.
For drivers who want to test their cars at speed, or perform final tuning and reliability checks before the Open Road Race on Sunday, SSCC offers Half-Mile and One-Mile Shootout events on Friday morning on Nevada Highway 490, just North of Ely. All Shootout participants pay an additional fee at registration, and must pass a formal technical inspection prior to running in these events. Participants will be allowed three runs down the closed highway, with their highest speed of three runs scoring towards potentially winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies.
Friday morning registration packet pickup and technical inspection is open for all Shootout participants, and to all competitors immediately after the Shootout participants are processed. Later in the day, a parade of cars will take place on Main Street to give the citizens of Ely a chance to see and hear the competitor cars, and to give the kids of Ely a chance to catch some candy, or even a ride along in your car, if you have room to let them tag along. An SSCC welcome reception awaits all participants and their crews immediately following the parade. For the more adventurous, the annual SSCC Hooker’s Choice Awards Car Show is held Friday night at the famous Stardust Ranch, where prizes can be won, and shenanigans go well into the night.
Saturday morning is the annual charity pancake breakfast, SSCC car show, and a final technical inspection session, all held in the city park. Teams often host their lunch and strategy meetings during the afternoon, and many participants do final vehicle and gear prep before the big race. Saturday evening there is a mandatory Driver and Navigator/Co-Driver meeting, and then it’s off to individual dinner plans and a rare early night, because the Open Road Racing event starts first thing Sunday morning on Highway 318, South of Ely.
SSCC Open Road Racing events always begin promptly at 8 AM on the third Sunday of May (NORC) and September (SSCC), although you’ll find yourself on the road by 6 AM to make it to pre-grid in Lund by 6:30 AM, and then onto the final starting grid beginning at 7 AM. The first car will start down Highway 318 at 8 AM sharp, and cars will launch one minute apart, in order of faster speed classes to slower, and drive off down 318 towards the thrill of victory, or the agony of defeat.
The grand finale takes place Sunday evening with an Awards Banquet in Ely (NORC), or Las Vegas (SSCC), during which cocktails and dinner are enjoyed. Tales of amazing feats related to tearing open the space-time continuum, hilarious navigator hijinks, and countless stopwatch shenanigans will be told in a way only SSCC veterans can share, as the highly anticipated announcements of who bested the time clock to win, place, or show in each speed class are read aloud. It is truly an evening not to be missed by NORC and SSCC veterans and rookies alike. Shock, awe, tears of joy, and the taste of cake are all but guaranteed to one and all.
Best of all, reasonable entry fees put SSCC events within the reach of almost anyone with a vehicle and a passion for racing who would like to test the performance of their car, stopwatch, and driving skills. Some of the best car people you’ll ever meet will be on hand for these events, ranging from true racing rookies and track day warriors, to occasional major series racers, TV star car nuts, and many up and coming driving talents within their own right. We host them all!
Over the past three decades, SSCC events have been featured on the pages of many popular car magazines, such as Road and Track, Car and Driver, and Hot Rod Magazine, just to name a few. We’ve also appeared on major television networks, including many popular automotive shows on ESPN, Fox Sports, SPEED Channel, Mav TV, and others. Of course, we’re all over YouTube on many popular channels, and some not so well known pages, too. Search for Silver State Classic Challenge to uncover many hair-raising videos (though we don’t condone them all).
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to drive your car as fast as you can handle over 90-120 miles of closed highway, or have always wanted to participate in a high speed auto rally or Open Road Racing event, there is no better place to find out what it’s like than on Nevada Highway 318. Best of all, the local Sheriff will smile and wave at you as you pass him by doing 165 in a 70. Where else can you get that rush of constant speed for that long or a distance without risking life, limb, and your driver’s license? Go to SSCC.US
to register for one of our events today, and come experience the automotive rush of a lifetime with us on Nevada 318.
We hope to see you racing with us soon down the Silver State Classic Challenge Highway!