Event: Patriot Day Run

Patriot Day Run Featured

Run to Remember

Auto enthusiasts in South Florida pay tribute to those we lost on 9/11

By Steve Turner
Photos courtesy of Steve Gelles/Blow-By Racing

In the wake of the terrorist attacks that wounded our country and took the lives of so many Americans, we all vowed to never forget that dreadful day. If you were old enough to remember, you surely won’t forget where you were and who you were with the moment you learned of those events. It was a moment that made us all take stock of our lives and appreciate how fortunate we were to still be alive and living in the United States.

Airbrushed with an image of the World Trade Center and the slogan
Airbrushed with an image of the World Trade Center and the slogan “Live Free or Die,” Manny Feliz’s New Edge GT is doing its part to keep the memory of 9/11 and its victims alive. He is a member of another car club down south, Muscle ’Stangs of Miami, which collaborates with SSF on the run.

Moving forward, it’s natural that time might soften the focus on those events. However, for those that truly don’t want to forget, it helps to have an outlet. In fact, in the days following those attacks we were urged to keep living our lives so the terrorists wouldn’t win.

When it comes to car enthusiasts, there is now better way to enjoy your life than gathering with other enthusiasts and appreciating the automotive camaraderie. One group of Ford fans, the folks from Stangs of South Florida organized the Patriot Day Run to keep that memory alive and to raise money for charities supporting first responders.

A sponsor of this year’s Patriot Day Run, Steeda Autosports was out in force. Not only represented by this Vortech-supercharged Coyote, the company also showed off a prototype of its new Steeda F-150 on the cruise.
A sponsor of this year’s Patriot Day Run, Steeda Autosports was out in force. Not only represented by this Vortech-supercharged Coyote, the company also showed off a prototype of its new Steeda F-150 on the cruise.

“It started 11 years ago when a bunch of our club members decided to just do a cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to the Florida Keys. The date we picked just happened to fall on the one-year anniversary of 9/11. SO we decided to make it a ‘tribute run’ and to raise money for the families of the fallen,” Benton Launerts, main man at Stangs of South Florida, said. “Our first year event happened with only 30 days planning and we had 125 Mustangs attend. The destination we chose was Holiday Isle in Islamorada where the event remained eight of the eleven years. The event is primarily run by a committee within Stangs of South Florida, but is also a joint collaboration from Muscle Stangs of Miami who ran the car show portion and who’s members largely support the event.”

This year the PDR staged at the Tropical Park in Miami, Florida. After gathering at 8 a.m., the group of Mustangs and other cars—yes all makes and models are allowed to help a good cause—headed out for traveled to its destination at Robbie’s Marina with an escort of first responders. Despite the spotty weather, over 150 cars made the trip Robbie’s, a great spot in Islamroda. When they arrived there was a car show with awards, and an after party featuring a Pig Roast buffet and $2 beers!

Watch the cars roll out in this video shot from a drone above:

Special thanks to Steve Gelles of Blow-By Racing for grabbing some shots of the Patriot Day Run for us. Naturally, Steve snapped a shot of his own ride, which was freshly detailed by Showtime Mobile Auto/Marine Detailing for the run. Steve’s Coyote sports a Boss intake and a JLT Cold Air and rolls on a spiffy set of Velgen wheels.
Special thanks to Steve Gelles of Blow-By Racing for grabbing some shots of the Patriot Day Run for us. Naturally, Steve snapped a shot of his own ride, which was freshly detailed by Showtime Mobile Auto/Marine Detailing for the run. Steve’s Coyote sports a Boss intake and a JLT Cold Air and rolls on a spiffy set of Velgen wheels.

“We chose Robbie’s Restaurant and Marina which is a great venue that gave the option of many things to do for the attendees (shopping village, fishing trips, kayak rentals, tarpon feeding, and a great bay front restaurant). The host hotel we chose was the Chesapeake in Islamorada, which our attendees sold out, and attendees also stayed at several surrounding hotels,” Benton explained. “The response to this years event was fantastic. Steeda volunteered to be our title sponsor, and we also gained sponsorships from Bacardi, Bud Light, and Shock Top beer. We sold out the car show portion with about 120 vehicles and must have had another 30 show vehicles that were left to blend in with public parking. We estimate total attendees at about 300 people.”

So the Patriot Run is definitely a journey that’s all about living your life in a positive way while remembering a tragic event. Of course, the event is more about remembering 9/11 in a positive way and enjoying cars. That stuff is great, but the Stangs of South Florida use the event to help generate money for charities every year. Chosen to benefit from the Patriot Run in 2014 was the Wounded Warriors Project. We give the major kudos to the club for supporting such a worthy cause.

Naturally, SSF main man and Patriot Run co-organizer Benton Launerts drove his own Mustang GT on the run in full “Never Forget” regalia. Built primarily for carving corners on the road course, Benton’s 2011 Mustang GT rolls on a full Steeda suspension with Koni dampers. It features a few Shelby-spec upgrades, including Brembo brakes and a TR-6060 six-speed trans. When he occasionally hits the drags, a Lund Racing, full exhaust, and a 125 shot help him run bottom 11s at 126 mph.
Naturally, SSF main man and Patriot Run co-organizer Benton Launerts drove his own Mustang GT on the run in full “Never Forget” regalia. Built primarily for carving corners on the road course, Benton’s 2011 Mustang GT rolls on a full Steeda suspension with Koni dampers. It features a few Shelby-spec upgrades, including Brembo brakes and a TR-6060 six-speed trans. When he occasionally hits the drags, a Lund Racing, full exhaust, and a 125 shot help him run bottom 11s at 126 mph.

“We raised money for Wounded Warrior Project, which we believe is a highly appropriate charity due to the fact that 9/11 caused us to go into several wars and that it is our responsibility to support our returning heroes. We raised money primarily from the silent auction and raffle items, of which Steeda Autosports donated over $2,000.00 in gift certificates,” Benton added. “We raised over $7,000, which after expenses netted close to $2,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. We donate 100 percent of the net. The event would have raised more but unfortunately we were fighting bad weather and we ended up having torrential downpours right at the end of the event when we had the auction and the after party which was unfortunate.”

Well, plans for next year’s Patriot Day Run are still in the works, but if you are looking for a good time that supports a good cause, you can keep tabs on the event here. For now, check out our coverage and special thanks to Steve Gelles of Blow-By Racing for the shots.

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Looking sharp in Azure Blue, Mike Marguez’s New Edge Mach 1 was ready for the Patriot Day Run thanks to its proud display of American flags. This Mach fuses numerous styling themes from this era, including FR500-look wheels and a Terminator nose.
Looking sharp in Azure Blue, Mike Marguez’s New Edge Mach 1 was ready for the Patriot Day Run thanks to its proud display of American flags. This Mach fuses numerous styling themes from this era, including FR500-look wheels and a Terminator nose.
While all cars were invited to participate, you can see that a robust contingent of Mustang made the trip down to the Robbie’s in the Florida Keys.
While all cars were invited to participate, you can see that a robust contingent of Mustang made the trip down to the Robbie’s in the Florida Keys.
Your scribe is not really a fan of referencing Brand X rides on license plates and the like, but it’s hard not to smile when you see a Cobra biting down on a model Camaro, as displayed on Chad Morlock’s ride.
Your scribe is not really a fan of referencing Brand X rides on license plates and the like, but it’s hard not to smile when you see a Cobra biting down on a model Camaro, as displayed on Chad Morlock’s ride.
Another New Edge rocking the Machinator style was this sharp gray ride. Hey, is that a Vapor Silver GT500 convertible in the background? You can’t go wrong with one of those.
Another New Edge rocking the Machinator style was this sharp gray ride. Hey, is that a Vapor Silver GT500 convertible in the background? You can’t go wrong with one of those.
If you are going to score a Boss, it’s tough to argue with owning one in Grabber Blue. Bill Wheeda’s ride is pretty stock underhood, but it does ride on GT500-style wheels. That Ford Racing sticker across the windshield means there’s probably more than meets the eye with this attention grabber.
If you are going to score a Boss, it’s tough to argue with owning one in Grabber Blue. Bill Wheeda’s ride is pretty stock underhood, but it does ride on GT500-style wheels. That Ford Racing sticker across the windshield means there’s probably more than meets the eye with this attention grabber.
This red Terminator isn’t totally stock, but it does still retain the factory supercharger belt guard. During the development of this car, SVT main man John Coletti insisted on this protection to keep people from getting their ties caught in the blower belt. It’s not a problem we have ever had, but better safe than sorry.
This red Terminator isn’t totally stock, but it does still retain the factory supercharger belt guard. During the development of this car, SVT main man John Coletti insisted on this protection to keep people from getting their ties caught in the blower belt. It’s not a problem we have ever had, but better safe than sorry.
Looking sharp in Raiders colors, this GT500 borrows a bit of style from the rare GT500 KR. In the background of this shot you get a glimpse of that prototype Steeda F-150 we mentioned before.
Looking sharp in Raiders colors, this GT500 borrows a bit of style from the rare GT500 KR. In the background of this shot you get a glimpse of that prototype Steeda F-150 we mentioned before.

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3 thoughts on “Event: Patriot Day Run”

  1. [email protected] says:

    Thank you so much for posting this and spreading the word!!!

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