10 States, 2,400 Miles and More Than 100 Classic Cars – The New York Times

August 14, 2022 by No Comments

FARGO, N.D. — It’s a nine-day classic car parade, stretching over 10 states and 2,400 miles, with vintage vehicles, some more than a century old, leapfrogging across much of the United States. More than a hundred teams took part in the event in June, known as the Great Race, tracing a route from Rhode Island to North Dakota.

A Time-Speed-Distance, or T.S.D., rally, the Great Race began in 1983 and follows a new course every year. Competitors must drive each segment of the precision-based event in a specified time, at a specified average speed. This year’s iteration started in Warwick, R.I., and finished in Fargo, N.D. The East Coast’s rolling hills and jammed roads gave way to the lush flatlands and cornfields of the Midwest. The newest car to tackle the race was a 1974 Plymouth, while three 1916 models — two Hudsons and a Chevrolet — shared the mantle of the oldest.

The aim of the Great Race, said Jeff Stumb, the event’s director and an auto enthusiast, is to “get old cars out of the garages and museums and get them on the road.”

The event is loosely based on the 1965 comedy “The Great Race,” starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, which took cues from a race in 1908 from New York to Paris, a harrowing event in which six international teams took 169 days to race 22,000 miles.

This year, the RPM Foundation, a nonprofit that provides grants and other resources for young people interested in vehicle restoration and preservation as well as mentorship opportunities, fielded a team of five women — two student navigators and three adult driver-mentors (including this reporter).

Nick Ellis, the foundation’s executive director, assembled the team. According to Mr. Ellis, women make up less than 10 percent of the automotive work force.

“In conversations I’ve had with auto shop teachers across the country,” Mr. Ellis said, “I hear over and over again how the relatively few young women in their classes are every bit as capable, if not more than, their male counterparts.”

There needs to be “examples of challenges to this perception,” Mr. Ellis continued. Young women need to “envision themselves behind the wheel of a racecar, sanding a fender, holding a wrench, etc., if we’re going to be successful in revitalizing this industry.”

So, in June, our newly assembled student team took off from Rhode Island, joined by a cherry-red 1966 Ford Mustang, which was on loan from the LeMay car museum in Tacoma, Wash.

Our drivers included Sabré Cook, a 28-year-old professional racing driver and mechanical engineer, and Mallory Henderson, a seasoned Great Race navigator who was getting behind the wheel in the race for the first time.

Ms. Henderson, 24, and her father, Scott Henderson, were hometown representatives of the final city of 2013 Great Race, which ended in Mobile, Ala. They have since become a mainstay of the event. In 2018, when the brakes of competitors in a 1955 Buick failed on Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, Mr. Henderson rescued the team by using his own car to stop the runaway vehicle.

Mr. Henderson, who died that fall, is remembered …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/14/business/vintage-cars-great-race.html


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