RENO, Nev. — Ed Shadle’s first race was a soapbox derby in Puyallup, Washington, in 1955. Now, more than 60 years later, Shadle, 76, is preparing for what might be the biggest race of his life in Nevada’s Diamond Valley.
Shadle’s plan is to pilot a jet-powered car across an isolated, desert playa at more than 763 miles per hour.
It would be fast enough to break the world’s land-speed record, set 20 years ago on the playa in Nevada’s Black Rock desert.
Even more impressive?
It would mark Shadle’s comeback from a lung cancer diagnosis that threatened to put an end to his racing career – and his life.
“I’m not in remission, but it isn’t dragging me down,” he said.
Shadle said he was diagnosed with stage four cancer in June and has since undergone 33 radiation treatments and 18 chemotherapy sessions.
And he’s done so while continuing to manage preparation and logistical planning for the pending speed record attempt.
The preparation and perseverance is expected to pay off later this year when Shadle’s North American Eagle team arrives in Nevada. Two other teams, one British and one Australian, also have eyes on the record.
“We’re not just trying to break the current record, 763 miles an hour,” former Royal Air Force fighter pilotof the British team told CBS News correspondent Charlie D’Agata last year. “We’re gonna have an engineering adventure that will push back the boundaries of physics, literally push back the boundaries of human endeavor.”