The 20th Run 'N' Gun - Guns A Blazin'
August 27, 2008
By D.Brian Smith
Photography by D.Brian Smith
Anyone who's a fan of KIT CAR magazine probably knows what the Run 'N' Gun is all about. For the uninformed, it's speed and time-capturing the fastest speed and lap time on Gateway International's Raceway, in Madison, Illinois. Achieving the lowest elapsed time in the SCCA sanctioned autocross. Going straightest and swiftest on the track's 1/4-mile dragstrip and getting the lowest e.t.
Unlike other forms of the collector car hobby, many replicar builders/owners create their cars to drive and race them. For those of us who have a need for automotive speed, kit cars are king. Perhaps that's why the Run 'N' Gun has taken place these past 20 years. We celebrated the 20th anniversary by tearing up the pavement at Gateway International Raceway in auspicious style. Attendance and participation were up once again in '07, which silenced the critics who thought the Gun was on its way towards extinction. With clear, crisp skies and temperatures in the 60s during the days, the weather cooperated much more than it did in '06.
KIT CAR made it out to the track a day early to be part of Wednesday's Test & Tune Day and sit in on the racing instruction conducted by two professional racers. Participants could also get their car weighed, have the camber and shocks adjusted, and then test the cars on the track in the afternoon to fine-tune and optimize the changes made to the chassis. Everyone was made aware of all the track rules and what the various flags mean in every mandatory meeting before each track day on Thursday and Friday. Racers were categorized according to their abilities, what tires they were using (race or street), whether they had a turbocharger or supercharger (power adder), what the engine configuration was (4, 6, or V-8), and whether the V-8 was a small-block (under 400ci), or a big-block (400 and up). Gateway Raceway Facilities Manager Tim Giger, and the Gun's trio of organizers, Jay Nordstrom, Dean Lampe, and Clois Harlan drew up the race rules and race groups. Having such a well-defined structure assured that everyone would run in a race group of their peers and each racer would be safe. The goals of the Run 'N' Gun are to enable every participant to have fun at speed in a safe, controlled environment, which once again occurred. The Test & Tune Day on Wednesday was a huge success. Thursday and Friday's laps on Gateway's phenomenal road course enabled most of the drivers to log more than 300 miles on their odometer. Unless you're a professional race car driver, where else are you going to be able to do that?
For those new drivers without much experience on a road course, the autocross gave contestants a great means to hone their skills negotiating the cones at a slower speed than can be achieved on the track. The course was also large enough that cars like the Mongoose Motorsports GTP and the Dragon Motor Cars C5 Sport Rod T-bucket weren't at a disadvantage.
Since running flat-out on a 1/4-mile dragstrip is always hard on a car, the last morning of the Gun is reserved for the drag racing competition. If any vehicle breaks, the owner has all winter to rebuild it for the next Run 'N' Gun. Some combatants really enjoy the drag race. They'll do over-the-top burnouts to warm up the tires for grip, as Brian White displayed before every pass in his No. 99 Dragon. Others have no fear. Take Randy Schranz and his Shell Valley Cobra. He performed several wheelstands at the Christmas tree, one of which we caught a photo of as he was on the rise.
The Run 'N' Gun is most definitely on its way back up. Gateway Raceway officials, as well as Dean, Clois, and Jay in his new semi-retired capacity, all have big plans for 2008 and beyond. But, let's not get too ahead of ourselves. Check out the tire burning, gravity defying, and awe-inspiring, high-speed kit car action at the '07 Run 'N' Gun in the following photos. You'll find additional action photos with this article posted on www.kitcarmag.com.
You do realize that the best way to experience the Run 'N' Gun is in person, with your car as a participant, or, almost as good, as a spectator. For still more information on the 20th edition-including posted times, awards, and the schedule for the '08 event-please visit www.runngun.net.
The Folks Who Made The Run 'N' Gun 2007 A Reality
As everyone knows, it takes a small army of people to put on an event of any kind. Long before a participant pulls into the pits, a background staff has been working feverishly to make his/her experience as seamless and pleasant as possible. This is a big "Thank You" to all those men and women responsible for the Run 'N' Gun 2007:
Registration and Check In:
Sharon Harlan, Tulsa, OK
Kim Nemitz, Kansas City, KS
Lisa Lampe, Centralia, IL
Hershal Byrd, Phoenix, AZ
Bill Frimpter, Texaco, NM
Lew Payne, Phoenix, AZ
Justin Sims, Bradenton, FL
Cliff Speck, Omaha, NE
Mat Twiehaus, Tulsa, OK
James Yale, Houston, TX
David Nemitz, Kansas City, KS
Rick Lake, E. Brunswick, NJ
Timing And Scoring:
Sharon Harlan, Tulsa, OK
Mary Hughes, Kansas City, KS
Harvey Gifford, Omaha, NE
Starter: Phil Hinson
Corner workers: David "Hoot" Gibson, Dan Browning, Bob Burnum, Mark Paoli, Brian Woerndle, and Shane Henderson
Special Thanks go to: Hallett Racetrack and Northwoods Shelby Club for allowing us the use of their transponders.
Richard Bailey, of Florida,...
Richard Bailey, of Florida, drove his Ferrari Fly Yellow Backdraft Racing roadster with rapid dispatch everywhere about the course, especially the front straight.
We first met Bob Hephner,...
We first met Bob Hephner, of Tipp City, Ohio, and his dark blue FFR Type 65 coupe at the '07 London Cobra Show. At Gateway International, he proved he knows how to race his beautiful, well-constructed Daytona Coupe replica.
The Mongoose Motorsports Grand...
The Mongoose Motorsports Grand Sport coupe was first to line up on the pre-grid on this occasion.
Down the front straight, Paul...
Down the front straight, Paul Carlson led in his blue No. 0-clad Dragon roadster. Jim Pass, in the No. 67 re-bodied yellow Corvette was a close second. In the winged blue Cobra No. 5 car, Steve Pass gave hot pursuit.
If we gave out an award for...
If we gave out an award for best burnout at the dragstrip, Brian White, in his No. 99 Dragon would win hands down. Every pass he made, he started by lighting up his rear tires. Smoky, baby!
The manufacturer of a super...
The manufacturer of a super Cobra replica, Hurricane Motorsports, of Lee's Summit, Missouri, was so busy working, they couldn't make it to the '07 Run 'N' Gun until drag race Saturday. They drew a crowd for the duration of the straight-line races.
Zooming by in an orange, freshly...
Zooming by in an orange, freshly finished Stalker 7, wearing No. 8, was Mark Scott.
Jeff Schwartz and his Corvette...
Jeff Schwartz and his Corvette V-8 powered screaming yellow Ultima GTR, performed well on the road course.
Byrd had his 70,000-mile+...
Byrd had his 70,000-mile+ Roaring 40s GT40 Mk I running strong, until his starter gear stripped. He and some friends removed the gear and push-started the car, enabling him to race well once again.
Multiple Pikes Peak Race winner...
Multiple Pikes Peak Race winner Randy Schranz tore up the Gateway International racetrack in his Shell Valley Cobra.
Those lightweight Stalker...
Those lightweight Stalker 7s could sure fly. Jim Woodsmall piloted his red No. 592 Stalker 7, while Dan Doerer in his black No. 185 Stalker was closing fast.
John Shalhoub made mincemeat...
John Shalhoub made mincemeat of the autocross in his No. 55-clad red and polished aluminum Stalker 7.
Bill Walter Hughes goes by...
Bill Walter Hughes goes by the nickname of Wild Bill. He's so named for his enthusiastic personality and his pedal-to-the-metal racing style. In his class, he captured first place for the autocross in his powder-blue FFR Type 65 coupe.
Loren Edwards owns a blue-over-polished-aluminum...
Loren Edwards owns a blue-over-polished-aluminum Stalker 7 that sparkles in the sun and is a scintillating performer on the autocross, as well as on the road course and dragstrip.
The No. 4 maroon Dragon of...
The No. 4 maroon Dragon of Mark McClay tore up the Gateway International pavement both days of driving on the road course.
The long and wide Mongoose...
The long and wide Mongoose Motorsports Corvette GTP car was a handful on the autocross. At the hands of Jon and Aaron, it still turned some swift times.
The gentleman standing and...
The gentleman standing and wearing a red sweatshirt is Morris Clement. He's an accomplished race car driver, Kirkham 427SC builder and owner, and race car chassis expert extraordinaire. His brother Steve used to crew for Morris, when Morris won several SCCA year-end championships in the GT3 class. Morris is paying him back by letting Steve race his winged Kirkham.
B&B Manufacturing showed off...
B&B Manufacturing showed off its Cobra roadster replica and the company's '34 three-window highboy coupe. Gun participants and spectators inspected the well-conceived kits the entire event (www.bandbroadster.com).
The Dragon Motor Cars' C5...
The Dragon Motor Cars' C5 Sport Rod T-bucket made its racing debut at the '07 Run 'N' Gun. Readers will remember its world premiere, in terms of print media, in the January '08 issue of KIT CAR. The brainchild of this low-slung beast and owner of the DMC company, John Chesnut, raced the T-bucket like he'd been doing so for years. Here he jammed down the front straight.
The first one or two laps...
The first one or two laps in any given group gave us our best group shots. Jonathan Blevins, in his silver No. 203 FFR spec racer blasted down the front straight. Another silver bullet, No. 66 kept close to Jonathan, since talented driver and Cobra owner Bill Scholl was behind the wheel. Making another appearance in this article was Mark Scott with his orange No. 8 Stalker. The black-over-silver Stalker in the back couldn't be identified.
Mongoose Motorsports brought...
Mongoose Motorsports brought two cars to race, a Corvette GTP replica and a Corvette Grand Sport coupe replica. Here, they competed against each other on the dragstrip-old school technology vs. '80s high-tech mid-engine GTP finery-cool stuff!
At launch on the dragstrip,...
At launch on the dragstrip, Randy Schranz and his Chevy V-8-powered Shell Valley Cobra does a wheelstand, as Pete Kerkoff and his blue No. 142 Cobra attempts to catch up.
We convinced Lisa Lampe (spouse...
We convinced Lisa Lampe (spouse of one of the event's organizers, Dean Lampe) to model for KIT CAR. She was a natural in front of the camera. Lisa admired Ray Maserang's RCR40 Mk I, which is an authentic replica of the car that won Le Mans in '68 and again in '69.
Before driving the autocross,...
Before driving the autocross, the racers walked the course to learn it.
In his class on the autocross,...
In his class on the autocross, Wild Bill piloted his powder-blue FFR Type 65 coupe to victory. We're guessing he got the nickname Wild from driving fast. What do you think?
Everyone agreed that the hardest...
Everyone agreed that the hardest corner to negotiate on the Gateway International track was turn No. 1. The challenge is, you dive into No. 1 after coming off the front straight at upwards of 160 mph, depending upon how fast your car is and how well you can race it. The Mongoose Motorsports drivers, Jon Krolewicz and Aaron Quine, had little trouble piloting the Grand Sport coupe or the GTP, but they're very accomplished young racers.
Dean Lampe had quite a busy...
Dean Lampe had quite a busy 2007. He sold his 289FIA Kirkham aluminum roadster, acquired an RCR40 Mk I kit from Fran Hall, owner of Race Car Replicas, and completed the race car in time for the '07 Gun. Well done, Mr. Lampe. Read the feature on his fine Ford re-creation in this issue of KC.
Owner of Radical Roadsters...
Owner of Radical Roadsters LLC, a Backdraft Racing roadster dealership in Cypress, Texas, James Yale raced his new Backdraft roadster. Later in the event, he had some unfortunate luck when he tapped the inside wall at turn No. 1. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. His car lost its passenger-side headlight and some fiberglass. We've heard he has already repaired the roadster back to brand-new condition.
Dragon Motorcars owner, John...
Dragon Motorcars owner, John Chesnut, also raced his new model-gray primered Dragon C5 Sports Rod.
Jerry Eddens and his Ferrari...
Jerry Eddens and his Ferrari Fly Yellow WCM Ultralite XR7 is neither a stranger to the pages of KIT CAR, nor a neophyte when it comes to carving up the road course in his No. 1 roadster.
red Ferrari P4 replica ran...
red Ferrari P4 replica ran well until an unfortunate run-in with the inside wall of turn No. 1 ended its racing. Fortunately, the driver wasn't hurt.
Dave Nimitz performed well...
Dave Nimitz performed well at the autocross.
On the autocross course Justin...
On the autocross course Justin Sims and his red and black No. 722 Stalker commanded the curves and ripped down the straights.
Every time we see Rick Lake...
Every time we see Rick Lake driving his awesome 428ci V-8 Ford big-block-powered ERA roadster, we get a big smile on our face, because we know that Rick's going to give us a hard time about something. He keeps KIT CAR in line.
Run 'N' Gun's chief orchestrators...
Run 'N' Gun's chief orchestrators for the last several years, Jay Nordstrom, Dean Lampe, and Clois Harlan, outdid themselves in '07 by producing a wildly popular and successful event. Congratulations gentlemen! KC will see you again in '08.
We captured several photos...
We captured several photos of Ed Morrison and his Sebring roadster, a replica of the Austin Healey 3000, before Ed had an unfortunate accident on the inside wall of turn No. 1. As a precaution, Ed was rushed to a nearby hospital for observation, as he suffered a concussion. Mr. Morrison vows to repair his Sebring and be back to the '08 Run 'N' Gun for all the high-speed fun.
The red No. 592 Stalker of...
The red No. 592 Stalker of Jim Woodsmall was closely shadowed by the No. 185 Super Stalker that Mike Knorr owns.
The stereotype on accountants...
The stereotype on accountants is that they wouldn't be inclined to go like stink in a highly evolved Backdraft Racing Cobra roadster replica. Don't tell retired accountant and Florida resident Tom Jones that he can't race fast. He'll prove you wrong.