Tragedy struck the drag racing community again on Sunday evening when one of its own was gunned down in an altercation outside of a supermarket in Kansas City.
Racer and well-regarded fabricator Jake Brantner, from Lees Summit, Missouri, was fatally wounded at around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday outside of a Price Chopper store at 63rd Street and Blue Ridge cutoff in Kansas City. Although details remain scarce, initial reports indicate that an off-duty police officer overheard a disturbance in the parking lot at the shopping center, followed by gunshots.
Brantner was found dead, as the shooter fled the scene. Investigators are still searching for the suspect and are asking anyone with information on the shooting to reach out via the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS. Police are currently targeting a blue four-door vehicle, possibly a Chevrolet Malibu, that may have belonged to the suspect.
The 39-year old Brantner, a popular and well-liked figure in the racing community, operated Jake’s Performance Fabrication, which specializes in everything from race car fabrication, to welding, wiring, plumbing, turbo systems, and a laundry list of other services. Brantner, along with friend Scott Smith, won the Big Block Power Adder class at Drag Week back in 2011 with a 2,100 horsepower 1980 Chevy Malibu that ran as quick as 7.82 at 189 mph.
Said good friend Steve Morris after the news reached the racing world: “I feel like I was kicked in the gut. This was my friend Jake Brantner. I say friend because he was. He was a friend I could ask a favor of and he would do it, he would ask me for a favor and I would do it. I dont have alot of friends like him. Jake was one of the best guys I knew and I will miss him.”