Penticton driver gets coveted red hat

It took just over a decade, 11 years to be exact, but the Black Opel racing team has its red hat.

FRANK KINNEY of Penticton stepped into the drivers seat of this 1970 Opel GT and set a new speed record of 209/mph. The previous mark was 202/mph set by California’s Gail Phillips.

FRANK KINNEY of Penticton stepped into the drivers seat of this 1970 Opel GT and set a new speed record of 209/mph. The previous mark was 202/mph set by California’s Gail Phillips.

It took just over a decade, 11 years to be exact, but the Black Opel racing team has its red hat.

The Summerland-based team achieved their ultimate goal by breaking the record of 202 miles per hour held by Gail Phillips of California. Frank Kinney reached 209/mph during a Southern California Timing Association speed racing event.

“A lot of the kids don’t know how fast 200 miles an hour is, as my oldest grandson told me. At 200 miles an hour ,you are doing over five kilometres a minute,” said Kinney of Penticton.

Kinney, along with Larry Ryll, Ken Brown, Lance Brown, Marc Piccioni and Dick Knorr make up the Black Opel team (www.blackopel.com). The 1970 Opel GT that set a new standard is owned by Kinney, Knorr and Ryll, who with help from their longtime sponsor, Lordco Auto Parts, built over the last 13 years. The Opel was heavily modified to meet class rules, running an (E) 260 cubic inches max, gasoline, modified engine, which is a two-seater. It has 440-horse power in a 2006 GM Vortec inline 6 with race tec pistons, crower rods, Bates valve train and custom crank girdle and Fliudamper.

Their desire to set a new mark simply stems from their interest in racing. Knorr said there was an Opel GT that campaigned in the northwest for drag racing and they felt it would make a nice car for Bonneville, Utah.

“It was just kind of a dream to go fast down the Bonneville (Salt Flats) and see what it’s all about,” said Knorr. “That is sort of how it evolved.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Knorr of them setting a new standard. “It was pretty neat to finally, I shouldn’t say beat the Americans at their own game, but we did take the record away from the American that held it.”

And they accomplished it with the help of the Americans. Knorr said some of the Americans supplied them with materials and parts, adding that they are all on the same side.

“It’s like a big family down there,” said Knorr. “Everybody helps everybody. They will help you beat their own record. We would too.”

Kinney said hitting that speed is a big rush and one that was fun.

It’s the car that is in control.

“The car goes where it wants and hopefully straight most of the time,” he said.

Kinney, a retired BC Tel employee, said he’s just lucky, as any of his friends could have earned the record.

Kinney said it’s the big show of the year with over 500 race cars and thousands of spectators. They have teams from all over the world, eight or 10 other countries represented besides the United States and Canada.

“I just happened to be the guy that got in the car first,” he said. “It is a team effort. I’m very lucky that it’s me that’s got the red hat. Now we have to get one for Dick.”

The SCTA is a volunteer organization that provides safe and friendly land speed racing events for enthusiasts in southern California and Utah.

 

 

Just Posted

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
UPDATE: Fire above Naramata is an illegal open burn

Smoke is still billowing from the blaze Friday morning

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

A search is underway for David Borden in Oyama, since he was last seen Wednesday, June 16. (Contributed)
Search underway for missing Okanagan man

Vernon Search and Rescue, RCMP checking via land, water and air

A truck rolled several times off Highway 6 in Coldstream Thursday night, sending two to hospital. (RCMP photo)
Rollover near Vernon sends 2 to hospital

Highway 6 closed temporarily while emergency crews extricated occupants

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

Most Read