Texas road race satisfies need for speed

SANDERSON, Texas -- For most of the year, the speed limit on U.S. 285 in West Texas is 75 mph. But this Saturday, the limit comes off for the annual Big Bend Open Road Race, a 118-mile round trip between Fort Stockton and Sanderson, open to anyone 18 and over who prefers life in the fast lane.

The West Texas dawn is echoing with the rumble of revving for the chance to drive fast -- very fast -- with volunteers along the route to keep stray cattle and buzzards off the highway.

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Every year, the speed limit comes off a stretch of highway in West Texas.
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But first, technicians check out the cars. Some qualify to only go 90 or 168 mph. Others with high-end tires and safety equipment have no limit. Their top speeds can climb well past 200 mph.

Lawyer Jonathan Suckling came from England to drive his rare $150,000 1960s Chevrolet Cheetah, a sports car with seating so tight the steering wheel has to stay off until he gets in.

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Etta Valdes
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Glenn and Etta Valdes will keep their 1966 Sunbeam in the 124 mph range.

"This year it's his bucket list, so we get to check one off for him," Etta says. "Last year was mine, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

John Fowler from Round Rock, Texas, put us in full safety gear for a practice run in his 2001 Corvette. We hit top speed in seconds.

"It's a huge rush; I'm an adrenaline junkie, I guess," Fowler says, agreeing that speed is his drug of choice.

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Barry Petersen goes along for a ride.
CBS News
Slower cars get extra points for driving the course in a specific time frame. Unlimited cars win their trophies just based on miles per hour. But the draw is more than just winning -- it's about something in the nature of man since time began: the need for speed.

  • Barry Petersen

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