2013 Great Race To Pass Through Peoria

Just as winter began to set in and the weather took a turn for the worse, I picked up my latest copy of Hemmings Classic Car magazine and read something that melted away my seasonal depression: The 2013 Hemmings Great Race course route is a trip down the Mississippi River beginning with the Minnesota Street Rod Association's  famed "Back to the 50's" show and includes a detour and lunch stop in Peoria! Yes, Peoria is (sort of) getting a national collector car event. After that, the route passes through Hannibal, Missouri, and Arkansas before snaking through Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and finishing in Mobile, Alabama. Check it out...

Credit: http://www.greatrace.com/

For those who are wondering what the "Great Race" is, its a roughly 2000 mile annual road race that is open to vintage cars from 1969 and earlier. The challenge is that the race follows a predetermined route and checkpoints in an effort to rank cars by how precisely they follow the course WITHOUT using GPS, phones, computers, or your odometer. (The organizers cover yours with tape.). Its just you, your navigator, a course map and a well-oiled machine. Think of it as a throwback to the way things used to be. A person had to know how to drive, know their automobile...how far to push both man and machine. Handicap points are given to older machines that can't drive as fast but its a pretty level playing field overall. The 2011 winner was a 100 year-old Moline, Illinois-built 1911 Velie racer if that tells you anything. The route is usually a scenic one that takes participants through some gorgeous countryside and hotels, banquets, parties and meals are included in the entry fee. Lastly, the race planners throw in a nice $150,000 purse to the winners, which makes it pretty appealing. Sounds like a good time, eh?

Credit: http://www.greatrace.com/

It looks like the 2013 Great Race promises to be a major collector car event and I'm psyched that Peoria is on the map! If only Dad, Gordon or I had the $4500 entry fee or some sponsors, I'm sure we would sign up Oscar and participate. He's a reliable old brute with many of his mechanicals in tip-top shape! Of course there was that one time where the transmission shift arm popped off on Knoxville Avenue during afternoon traffic. And then there was the time his carburetor got clogged with dirt in Metamora on Easter Sunday and we barely made it home. Those problems were solved, but he is a 65 years old car. Perhaps spectating is the smarter choice. These Great Race folks usually have bigger bankrolls than we do and can plan for the unexpected.

Heck, they'll be in the Quad Cities for an overnight where I'm sure people can stop by and view all the entrants and watch them do some quick repairs and prepare for the next day. Sometimes they even have evening cruise-in type deals where the racers display their cars while relaxing after the day's grueling drive. Once I learn where they plan on running through Peoria, I hope to setup a camera and a lawn chair so I can see some of these rare birds in action. Priceless Aston Martins, Bugattis, Auburn Speedsters have all been part of this race in previous years...in addition to the clean old standard production Chevrolet, Ford, and Chryslers of the past.

Well, running the Fleetline this coming year is appealing but I can't imagine dealing with something like a bias ply blowout in the middle of the Mississippi backwoods. I also wouldn't want to picture Dad or Gordon or I sweating on rattan seat covers in a black car with no A/C in the southern summer heat for a week. Yes, I think spectating is the way to go this time.

Unless you all want to sponsor us...



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