Merna Man Sets Speed Record in 1949 Studebaker “Logan’s Run”

Merna Man Sets Speed Record in 1949 Studebaker “Logan’s Run”
Louis Maring, Manager at Carquest Auto Parts in Broken Bow, stands in front of Bonneville Salt Flats racing posters where he recently set a new record.

MERNA—A record-breaking speed of 164 miles an hour may seem fast to most people, but it still is not fast enough for Louis Maring. The Merna man and manager of Carquest Auto Parts in Broken Bow recently reached 164.904 MPH at the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway near Wendover, Utah (about 90 miles west of Salt Lake City).

The Bonneville Salt Flats race was held September 29 through October 2, 2020 as part of the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) World Finals. Maring beat his own record of 142.037 MPH set during the Bonneville Speed Week in August of 2020.

“It’s just part of the way. I want to go a lot faster! I got to go a lot faster, steps as you go,” Maring told KCNI/KBBN. “The ultimate goal I want to set a record over 230 is where I want to be.”

Louis Maring races a 1949 Studebaker in the A Fuel Modified Pickup Class. The truck was originally obtained by Maring and his late son, Logan, a few years ago from friend Mark Lewis. Maring fixed it up in a matter of only 44 nights along with family and friends who spent evenings and weekends working on the Studebaker, which now includes a big block Chevy engine, 4 ½” tires, and weighs 5,000 pounds.

Louis Maring in front of his 1949 Studebaker pickup at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Photo: Geriatric Rods Facebook Group, Tim Troxel.

The record-setting vehicle is named “Logan’s Run” in honor of Louis and his wife Lou’s son, Logan Maring, who passed away in May 2019.

“He rides with me,” Maring told KCNI/KBBN referring to Logan’s ashes that ride with Louis in a small metal box welded into the roll cage.

Logan and friend Gabe Coon drove a belly tank at Bonneville in 2018 and became addicted to the race, Maring said. Following his son’s passing, Louis said he needed to find something to keep busy and decided to get the Studebaker ready to race. Medical issues and weather did not allow Louis to race last year, but he was glad to be able to make it to Bonneville this fall.

“I just had to have something to keep my mind busy,” Maring said. “He liked it, it just felt right to do that.”

Maring began working in the pit crew at Bonneville in 2011 for a car he helped build for Scott Blackburn. He and family and friends have been to Speed Week many times but this was the first year to race in the SCTA World Finals.

The Bonneville Salt Flats is referred to as the fastest race track on earth, made up of a thick crust of salty soil that looks like a frozen lakebed covered in snow, according to Utah.com. No vegetation grows in that area.

The Utah.com website continues, “The Bonneville Salt Flats and the Great Salt Lake are remnants of ancient Lake Bonneville. Wind and water combine to create the flat surface of salt. Each winter, a shallow layer of standing water floods the surface of the salt flats. During spring and summer, the water slowly evaporates while winds smooth the surface into a vast, nearly perfect flat plain,” making it the perfect race track.

“It’s just me getting used to driving it on the salt, it’s totally different than anything you’ve ever done. We’ll keep going, keep trying!” Maring said.

Maring appreciates all of the support from family and friends. He enjoys being part of the “Geriatric Rods” Facebook group where friends can gather and share about the cars and racing they love.

“It’s amazing the support and stuff throughout the community and everything, it’s humbling,” Louis added. “It’s just what I want to do and it’s just neat that other people find it interesting as well. We’ll just keep trying to go faster!”

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