Yes, as a matter of fact there is a land-speed Ram pickup. And Kaylin Stewart will climb behind the wheel this summer for a shot at being the 24th female to go 200 MPH at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Just as soon as she gets her license printed.
Ms. Stewart is finishing her sophomore year of high school, and already working toward a career in filmmaking. That's actually what her speed-run is all about; with the help of producer Harry Pallenberg, cinematographer Robert Morse, and land speed photographer/Bonneville historian Holly Martin she's making a movie about women in land speed racing, and her own experience trying to break into the "200 Club" of folks who have topped 200 MPH at the Salt Flats.
Kaylin was lucky enough to have grown up with motorsports and the Salt Flats as a big part of her life thanks to her parents; her dad has been racing cars at Bonneville for years. She's spent a lot of time in carts, and even more soaking up the culture of racing in the desert.
At age five, Kaylin told her old man she wanted to be "the youngest person to get into the 2' club," and go for the challenge as soon as she got her license.
About eighteen months ago, a chance meeting made Kaylin's dream a very real possibility. She was seated with her family at a dinner gathering of Bonneville racers, sharing a table with Wayne Jesel who owned the speed-running Ram pickup Kaylin had once admired and posed for a picture with.
That truck held seven class records as of last year, in both the Blown and Naturally-Aspirated Modified Pick-up divisions with different engine setups.
As for why they're running a Ram, Mr. Jesel told CompetitionPlus; "We felt that the Dodge was superior because of the aerodynamics package of the SRT 10. We didn't have to run a Viper engine but we could run the truck body like it came from the factory with the Viper engine in it. So we had all the SRT 10 package on it and it was a much better aerodynamic package than anything else that was out there."
Kaylin got to talking to Jesel about her 200 MPH ambitions, how much she loved the truck, and the exchange that ensued makes me really wish I could find myself a friend like this guy:
"Why don't you just drive at next speed week?" Jesel asked Kaylin.
"Well, I don't get my license for awhile…"
"You can drive it when you get your license!"
Man, and I thought I was lucky getting to drive a ten-year-old Integra around when I got my license.
Since that dinner Kaylin has been out to Speed Week, Bonneville's biggest racing event, with Jesel's truck team and put in many hours with the vehicle and its crew getting material for her movie and preparing for her own run at this year's Speed Week in August. She's also planning to take one of Bob Bondurant's racing schools to augment her comfort level with cars at speed before her run.
As far as experience in the film industry, Kaylin's already made some significant progress there too— she's had an agent since age four, appearing in an episode of The Mentalist, some commercials, and short films. "Best time to start doing stuff is now!" she told me over the phone.
She's certainly been lucky with so much opportunity at such a young age, but I respect her tenacity to squeeze as much out of it as she can.
Kaylin is hoping to get help editing and producing her Chasing 200 movie through an Indiegogo crowdfunding initiative. She's still about forty-five grand shy of her goal with less than a week left on the clock, but I don't think she'll be giving up on her quest to hit 200 MPH or put a film together even if she comes up short. Whatever happens with the film I'm looking forward to hear how she and Wayne Jesel's Ram make out at Speed Week, and wish her luck!
Images: Chasing 200 Official Website