RacingJunk has First-Row Seat on Ice Speed Record Run

RacingJunk has First-Row Seat on Ice Speed Record Run

Dave Sarna is a racing enthusiast. It doesn’t matter whether he’s moving fast or slow, whether he’s flying, driving, sailing or going fast on frozen water. In 2013, he dragged this Racing Junk contributor to the Bonneville Salt Flats to try to break 200 mph with a college-backed student racing team and a big-block Pontiac Firebird.

Dave broke the car, but four years later he got into the 200 MPH Club. A week later, he drove my 2017 Oakland across the 406-mile Wisconsin section of the Yellowstone Trail to raise $8,500 for a camp for blind kids. The Oakland’s top speed was about 40 mph and Dave said that it was scarier driving it than the Bonneville racer.


RacingJunk has First-Row Seat on Ice Speed Record Run

Dave has drag raced Camaros and ice raced snowmobiles. For the latter type of competition, he helps organize the annual Snodeo in Manawa, Wis. This event is called “The Best Show on Snow.”

A few weeks ago, Sarna invited RacingJunk to meet Kurt Anderson, a 60-year-old Orono, Minn. speed merchant who’s aiming to set the World Speed Record on ice with his “Artic Arrow” rocket racer at this year’s Snodeo.

Anderson’s goal is to better the current record of 247.93 mph that was set way back on Feb. 15, 1981 by the late “Slam’n Sammy” Miller at Lake George in New York. Anderson – a semi-retired internet services businessman – started his speed career by competing in the NHRA Heritage Drag Racing Series. Afterwards, he started looking for faster rides and met Ky Michaelson, who introduced him to rocket-powered race cars. Before long, Kurt and Ky headed to Aerospace salvage yards in California to get parts to create Anderson’s current rocket-powered car. Kurt and a small team of fabricators built the Arctic Arrow for the single purpose of bettering the World Speed Record on Ice.

RacingJunk has First-Row Seat on Ice Speed Record Run

The shiny gold, 1,510-lb. rocket-powered snow machine was originally built in 1974 by Michaelson and was then modified by Anderson between 2014 and 2016. It is 25 feet long, six inches wide up front and 72 inches wide at the rear. It gets its motivation from a 5000-lb. thrust HTP rocket motor. The Artic Arrow’s fuel system uses a pressurized 90 percent hydrogen peroxide mixture called HTP (high test peroxide) combined with DeZurik wafer valves. Ignition is achieved via a chemical reaction that occurs from converting hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen (steam).

Anderson and Byron Nelson built the car’s chassis and roll cage. The front suspension utilizes 1997 Yamaha V-Max snowmobile struts. The hard tail rear suspension is custom built. The Stiletto rack-and-pinion steering system provides a 15:1 turn ratio. The front independent suspension features 14-in. Drag Ski skis. Areoski MI500 skis are used in back. Stopping is accomplished with a pair of Simpson 12-in. Crossforn drag chutes and a pneumatic ice claw.

RacingJunk has First-Row Seat on Ice Speed Record Run

The Artic Arrow’s safety features include a driver compartment built to SFI 2.3Q specifications, ISP roll cage padding, a 5-point impact harness, an EIS poured form seat, a HyBrid X head and neck restraint, a 3-point high-pressure safety relief system, primary and secondary fuel shut off systems and cockpit arming and disarming controls.

Crewing for the record attempt will be driver/owner Anderson, crew chief Ky Michaelson, assistant crew chief Curt Michaelson, fuel master Buddy Michaelson, chassis master Kevin O’Kelly, commander and chief Capt. Jack McClure, safety supervisor Ed Ballinger, logistics expert Steve Wagner and fuel/motor heating engineer Dan Swanson.

The World Record Speed Attempt will take place during the Snodeo ( at Bear Lake Resort, in Manawa, Wis. For more information about the Arctic Arrow, visit (

RacingJunk has First-Row Seat on Ice Speed Record Run

About John Gunnell 143 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.

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