A group of Homewood-Flossmoor High School students—dubbed the H-F Auto Club—have been working on a 1997 Ford Mustang drag racing car for several years. After making its post-COVID racing debut during the 2022 season at nearby Byron Dragway (above), the club has been forced to shelve its efforts from now on. The students can’t work on the car, drive it, or race it anymore, because their insurance provider dropped their coverage.
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At the start of this school year, it was made known to the students and their senior advisor that the insurer would no longer offer the policy it had been covered under. After months of searching, no other insurer is interested in offering a policy for the club and its race car.
“The H-F Business Office has been working to secure insurance for the H-F racing team since last spring. H-F’s insurance broker has reached out to 19 markets that serve Illinois and all have declined to provide a bid because a high school racing team is too niche of a market,” Carla Erdey, director of communications for Homewood-Flossmoor High School, explained.
“It appears that the other race teams in Illinois race as a corporate team that adopts a school,” Erdey continued. “The insurance broker has also reached out to eight other states and none of those are interested in insuring a high school racing team.”
The racing club provides students with several unique skills they’d be hard pressed to find in other venues. There are so many STEM-related applications of automotive technology, plus soft skills like team building and interpersonal communication. It’s a totally unique program in the state, as it operates independently from the school’s auto tech classes, allowing kids to hone their automotive passions toward a common goal of going fast. Unfortunately, that also means the Mustang is off-limits and can’t be so much as touched until the school can find an insurer willing to take it on.
Since the project began in 2016, student volunteer members of the club have revamped the car’s engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, and electrical system, prepped it for racing, and sent it down the 1320. The H-F Chronicle says it “can reach a speed of up to 100 mph” which I assume means it has run a trap speed of 100 miles per hour, because a stock 1997 Mustang GT had a top speed of 139. 100 in the traps means this Mustang is probably running in the low 13s, which isn’t so bad at all.
Hopefully some insurance company comes to their senses and sponsors the volunteer drag team to keep them running. And maybe with enough cash injection to get them into the 12s.