job as a Custom Parts Fabricator in the Extrusion Department at Mideast Aluminum, and a hiatus from racing. The methods he was able to learn and perfect at Mideast Aluminum, which is the process of changing the shape of metals by forcing it through a die while under pressure, would prove invaluable later in life.
“I saw a race when I was 5 or 6 on TV and determined that was what I was going to do,” explains Weigand. “It was all I ever really thought about until the mid 80s, and didn’t even consider doing anything else.”
Until, that is, he accompanied his dad to a gun club meeting and watched a demonstration in combat shooting. Weigand was inspired.
“I thought I’d like to try it and it ended up evolving into a business,” he recalls. Weigand has been a member of several professional shooting teams and garnered numerous shooting awards, including four former NRA Action Pistol National Records and certification as an NRA firearms instructor.
Weigand was right about the business potential of combat shooting. After spending a great deal of time shooting, studying and modifying his own firearms, Jack established Weigand Combat Handguns in 1982. He served as President of the American Pistolsmiths Guild from 2000 to 2002, the Custom Shop Director of the Springfield Armory and Design Consultant for the Taurus Custom Shop, as well as a Pistolsmithing Instructor for various milling and extrusion techniques as they related to pistolsmithing. Several of his creations have been featured on the covers of gun interest magazines, and Weigand was awarded the American Pistolsmiths Guild’s honor of Pistolsmith Of The Year in 1999. He now specializes in scope mount design, of which he holds several U. S. Patents, and parts manufacturing
Racing, however, was still in Weigand’s nature. Once his business was up and running, Weigand continued to do some road racing and hill climbing locally and regionally, both with his own cars and as an instructor at the Stock Car Racing Experience at Pocono raceway. He started looking around for ways in which he could race on a semi-regular basis without committing to the time consuming and physically punishing seasonal series. He looked into Salt Flat Racing –something he had read about as a kid and, he says, has always been on his mind.
“I wanted to do some kind of racing but didn’t want to have to race every week for an entire season,” explains Weigand. “They run five events throughout the summer by different organizations and I wanted to try it.”
Try it, he did; and broke the 115mph organization record for his class at 117.6 mph for the standing mile in early September at Bonneville Speedway in Windover, Utah, which features hundreds classifications of cars.
“It was one of the most confusing things I’ve ever done as far as to where to fit our car in,” says Weigand. “There are so many different cars”.
Weigand’s task on the Salt Flats was to use the one mile runway given to him to bring his car up to its fastest speed possible. A “trap” at the end of the mile would capture his time. He set the record for the Class SSSBB36hp VW Challenge: “Super Stock Single Carburetor Big Block” Volkswagen in layman’s terms. Weigand was able to do five runs and tweak it each time to improve its performance. While he wasn’t completely satisfied with the performance of the vehicle, Weigand relates he is happy with his “rookie run”.
“I was surprised at how fast it felt at that low of speed and how bumpy and loose it felt,” recalls Weigand who said he wasn’t at all nervous. “It took a few runs before I felt comfortable, but after that I focused on being more aggressive to get to the record. I knew we were close”.
Weigand relates that the biggest challenge of racing on the unique terrain is staying hydrated in such arid conditions. The stark landscape has prompted event organizers to issue each participant a two page safety guide for how to prepare, including drinking a minimum of 6-8 bottles of water per day, sunblock, sun hats and light clothing that covers the entire body.
“The conditions are completely different than what we are used to here. It is an assault on your senses. You’re driving in a lakebed that is nothing but salt with mountains all around, so you feel like you should be cold because everything is white, but it’s about 100 degrees,” offers Weigand.
Weigand says he is definitely going back and has already started building a new car to be ready for next year. His goal is to reach the 150mph mark and increase that to 200mph the following year.
“It’s a difficult thing to do, But this was a great way to start,” concludes Weigand.