A Great Race in More Ways Than One

by Matt DeLaere, Marketing

Team "Spirit of Stahl" 1941 Packard

Except for a brief break from 2007-10, each year since 1983 vintage cars have been found travelling the back roads of America as part of The Great Race. This classic car rally pits vintage automobiles (built from 1911-69), each guided by a driver and a navigator, in a race along some of North America’s most scenic roads.

The Great Race is not a traditional “fastest time” race, but instead judges teams’ ability to navigate between checkpoints. Each team is given precise navigational instructions, including speed changes, turns, stops and starts for each day of the race. Their arrival time at checkpoints along the way is recorded, with the object being to reach each checkpoint in the time it would take to drive the route perfectly. The course of the race avoids major cities and freeways, instead focusing on small towns and back roads. Along the way are “lunch cities” and “overnight cities” where participants stop to – you guessed it – eat lunch or stay overnight. These cities usually host events for spectators and competitors, and race organizers present the “Great American City” award to the most enthusiastic and hospitable city.

This year’s Great Race will last nine days and span 2300 miles around the Great Lakes between June 23rd and July 1st. Starting in Traverse City, Michigan, the race will pass through the state’s Upper Peninsula before entering Ontario and continuing down through New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio before finishing at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI.

The official charity of this year’s Great Race is the Vintage Car Rally Association Race for Autism, which supports autism research, education, and support programs. This year, Team “Spirit of Stahl” will proudly participate in the Great Race, driving a 1941 Packard with original paint, interior, and engine. The race provides an opportunity to put this beautiful car back on the road while raising funds for a worthy cause.

The VCRA Race for Autism’s slogan is, “Fighting Autism One Mile at a Time.” If you’d like to help the #97 “Spirit of Stahl” team in this fight, please visit the team website and donate today.

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