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The Savannah Speed Classic, And Then Some

Story and Photographs by Don Rucinski

As I have found in the time I have been covering races for Sports Car Illustrated, there are always stories to be found outside mainstream racing activities. This event was no exception as I present three such human interest stories.

Last winter in the cold reaches of Minnesota, Chris Runge decided to build a car. Not in a automotive shop, in a dairy barn - not just a car but, a one-off. Using a VW as a base, he fabricated a tube chassis, hung a VW front end and a VW engine/transaxle on the frame, reversed in mid-engine configuration. He then proceeded to fabricate an aluminum body. Using a wooden block fabricated to the desired shape, hand tools and an English Wheel, he formed a smooth creation that would rival the early Porsche racing machines. The finished product was on display this past weekend at the HSR event and Chris got to drive it on the track during the parade laps. Great job Chris. For more info on Chris and his activities see his web site at

Two years ago in Myrtle Beach/Horry County, South Carolina, Ron Miller and Mack Sarvis saw the need for a different educational path for some students and formed a Public Charter School called Palmetto Academy for Learning Motorsports or PALM. The school teaches high school aged boys and girls automotive arts such as engine building and repair, body work, welding, fabrication and painting. This past weekend, Ron and Mark brought some of their students along with of their study projects to the track for some real time activities. The static attraction was a beautifully restored 1939 Pontiac coupe "dirt car". The rolling attraction was an original 1955 Chevrolet stock car that was salvaged from the woods, where it had been for years after being wrecked while racing. The students restored it and they were on hand to act as crew members as the car hit the track during the weekend with Mack behind the wheel. For more information on this school which gives mechanically minded kids a head start see the article at,

And now we move to the university level, where engineering students at Georgia Southern University fabricated a motorcycle engine powered car under the banner of Eagle Motorsports. It was here on display and the students put it on the track for the parade laps. The vehicle is an evolution of several former models over the past years. This fabrication takes place as part of a competition with other engineering schools and curriculum throughout the US as a way for students to get practical experience in the real world of automotive engineering. For more information about this program go to,


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