The Reluctant Rocketman: A Curious Journey in World Record Breaking


Sarah Kasprowicz

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In October, 1970, The Blue Flame rocket car screamed across the Bonneville Salt Flats at 622.407 mph setting the absolute world land speed record. The title held fast for 13 years and remains the fastest American-built car in history. Ray Dausman designed the rocket engine for The Blue Flame. Why wasn’t he present when The Blue Flame set the world record? Why didn’t the car achieve 1,000 mph as he designed it to do? Ray’s story unfolds with humorous observations of what it was like to be a fish out of water in the racing world. The reader has a front row seat for this wrestling match between regret and perspective of achievement. Sarah, Ray’s daughter, shares his story in this memoir of a man with a passion for rockets and new ideas. The Reluctant Rocketman introduces the reader to a boy with a thirst for new adventures who develops a passion for rockets as he reaches adulthood with an even greater appreciation for new ideas. The Blue Flame project is the common thread throughout these chapters which shed light on the life a self-taught rocket designer who had to decide if the price of invention was worth it after all.