This is the first time the Great Race, the world’s premiere old-car rally, will take place entirely on the West Coast. It will start in Riverside, Calif., on Saturday, June 22, and finish in Tacoma on Sunday, June 30. The 2,300-mile adventure will bring 120 of the world’s finest antique automobiles to 18 cities in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Canada and every corner of the United States will converge with vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916. Cars built in 1974 and earlier are eligible. Most entries will have been manufactured before World War II. “We are pleased to be working with our friends at America’s Car Museum to host the finish of the 2019 Great Race,” says race director Jeff Stumb. The race has started and ended in Tacoma before, he says, “but this will be the first time we have the honor of holding the race in conjunction with America’s Car Museum.”
The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae. It takes its name from the 1965 movie The Great Race. The comedy is based on the real-life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris. The “race” is actually a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day for every move down to the second. They are scored at secret checkpoints along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. The lowest score wins.
If all goes according to plan, cars start and finish one minute apart. Organizers say the biggest challenge for the teams, other than staying on time and following instructions, is getting an old car to the finish line each day. Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public. Spectators may visit with participants and view the cars. Kids may even climb in some cars for a firsthand look.
“When the Great Race pulls into a city it becomes an instant festival,” Stumb says. “Last year we had five overnight stops with more than 10,000 spectators on our way to having 250,000 people see the Great Race during the event.” Luckily this year the event will end with the Shine Time Car Show at America’s Car Museum.
The Shine Time Car Show is free fun for the whole family. There’ll be hundreds of collector cars, plus food trucks. The Great Race will finish at America’s Car Museum on June 30 between 1:30 and 3:30pm.
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