Many mid-western Super Chevy show attendees have no doubt heard and witnessed the Chicago Outlaws in action. The track announcer's voice blasts at stratospheric decibels, informing the world that the Chicago Outlaws are in the staging lanes and ready to catapult themselves down the track. Masses of people make their way to the grandstands to watch these wheels-up warriors run the races, and they never disappoint. Who are these guys, and what's their story?
The Chicago Outlaw Super Stock car club is a confederacy of 20-plus vehicle owners (give or take a few) and crews that have outgrown the sedate bracket racing scene and want to go faster. Back in the late 1980s, Bill Houghton, now the club's president, gathered a group of bored bracket racers and semi-reformed street racers with large cubed engines that wanted to participate in raw, undiluted, heads-up racing and founded a class known as Outlaw Super Stock.
The first race for these Outlaw Super Stockers was back in 1987 at Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove, Wisconsin. That day the fastest vehicle in the group ran a 9.50 in the quarter-mile. Compare that to the fastest time in the group now-7.68, which belongs to Jerry Sevik.
The rules that have been set from the beginning for these Super Stockers are pretty exact and strict. To put it in a nutshell, if you plan on running, the vehicle has to have a stock appearance. That means trim, lights, grill, bumpers, interior, front suspension, wheel position all has to be there. Take this rule stated on their website (www.outlawsuperstock.com) concerning body work: "Customizing restricted to paint only. Body must be not altered in height, weight, width, length, or contour. Use of aftermarket fiberglass is restricted to hood, trunk and bumpers. Removal of body parts, fenders, or bracing is prohibited. All body panels must be stock. Acid dipping or other excessive lightening is prohibited."
The Outlaws' go fast or go home attitude is put into action on a varied number of quarter-mile tracks around the mid section of the U.S.. These Illinois midwest marauders hooked up with the Super Chevy Show some years back. It was then that the Gustin gang christened them the "Chicago Outlaws," not to be confused with the true outlaw motorcycle club. All the racers are cut from the fabric that makes up our society: plumbers, carpenters, auto technicians, shop owners. Bill Houghton told us, "If we tried to do this for a living, we ought to have our heads examined."