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Old 10-21-2019, 08:46 PM   #1
modarace
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Default The great American race

So apparently this thing raced across the United states.
People are nuts!
Anyone here ever done the great race?
https://youtu.be/7ATJ19FbN64
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:08 PM   #2
rotorwrench
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Default Re: The great American race

It's an endurance race for older cars. It started back in 65 and ran every year for a long time but has been split up in a more spotty every other year or so fashion as of late. It depends on who wants to sponsor it as to whether it will happen in any given year. It attracts folks with time and resources to be able to prepare cars to start and hopefully finish the run. It's not for the faint of heart or wallet for that matter.

Generally a very long moderate route with multiple difficult spots is chosen but they aren't all run on the same route and they don't try to go all the way from coast to coast much but the distance is more than equal to it. Sometimes they go in a big 4000-mile circle but they average around 2,500 miles. They try to keep the route a secret until the race is scheduled to run. They also try to use the less traveled pathways when they can so the old cars won't get run over.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 10-22-2019 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: The great American race

Racing on public roads!?!?! I know your speed limits are high and enforcement lax but....
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Old 10-22-2019, 04:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: The great American race

How come she doesn't wear jeans on the front of her legs?
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Old 10-22-2019, 06:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: The great American race

McPherson College occasionally enters a car and they've won their division twice. I've actually driven the car they use (a 1957 Ford Fairlane) but not in the Race.
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:46 AM   #6
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Default Re: The great American race

'The Great Race' has been run for a number of years now, Hagerty, and Coker are big sponsors. Its open to any car prior to 1972. It is a timed, road rally race. Goes from point a to point b, not circular. Last one was on the west coast, next year starts in Texas I think and heads north easterly. Its on my bucket list, but at this point I will have to win the lottery. I think the admission cost is around $5k, but at this point there is a waiting list. Also seems like a few teams have figured it out as the same teams win or place near the top every year. Much like the 'Motorcycle Cannonball' which was started a few years ago, the first one was kinda seat of your pants event. Now its very corporate. I know with the motorcycle race the bikes now run full support teams with mobile machine shops!
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:47 AM   #7
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Racing on public roads!?!?! I know your speed limits are high and enforcement lax but....
Not in Maryland!!!!!
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: The great American race

Actually, "The Great Race is timed rally, obeying all the speed laws. The goal of each day's run is to duplicate a preset route with specific directions & secret check points. The goal is to duplicate the time/distance numbers to end up with the exact predetermined overall time. Seconds over or under the predetermined time result in penalties and the winning positions in the "Race".
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Old 10-22-2019, 07:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: The great American race

Cool little car. It has the same E brake handle problem I'm trying to work around.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: The great American race

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Originally Posted by modarace View Post
So apparently this thing raced across the United states.
People are nuts!
Anyone here ever done the great race?
https://youtu.be/7ATJ19FbN64

That car was built by Tom McRae who used it as his Pace Car in the late 1980s and in 1990. Tom was the founder of the Great Race, along with Interstate Batteries owner Norm Miller. The car really didn't race until later when an X-Cup (a class for Kids named for Gen X) Team out of Texas used it. My family actually did the race beginning in 1996 thru 2001. I was fortunate to win the Ace Wrench award one year for wrenching on a 1916 Hudson and a 1917 Crane-Simplex all the way thru the race. Also, my father & I were fortunate to win a regional race in our '31 Phaeton.

As Ray stated, this was not really a 'contest of speed' race but more about following instructions. To be able to win, you need a vehicle that is methodically restored/prepared that can complete without experiencing mechanical issues along the way. Our '31 Phaeton went cross country without a breakdown, and outside of regular maintenance (changing oil, checking fluids, adjusting brakes, bolt check, etc.) the only thing I think we ever did was clean and re-adjust the ignition points. What makes this event difficult is being able to read, comprehend, and follow directions with exacting detail. For example, your car is given a start time. The instruction may read 'Turn RIGHT out of the parking lot and proceed at 33 MPH. At the yellow Curve in Road sign, drive 25 MPH for 20 seconds and then proceed at 35MPH.' Now this instruction is "code" for when you leave the parking lot you must immediately be traveling 33 mile per hour on the road. Well, we all know a Model-A cannot accelerate immediately to 33 mph, -so maneuver factors are compiled by the Driver (before the race) to know how to deal with this instruction. Thru running trials, let's say the performance of the race car is it take 3.5 seconds to accelerate from ) mph to 30 mph, and 4.0 seconds from 0 mph to 35 mph. So if your instruction tells you to start at 9:08AM, then theoretically the Driver needs to start at 9:04.25AM which theoretically means that in 3 seconds later, the car will be traveling 33 mph and the time will be exactly 9:08 as per the instructions. Next, the Navigator is looking for the yellow curve arrow sign while the Driver is focusing on keeping the speedometer exactly on 33 mph. The next thing that must be factored is we know at that sign we must immediately be traveling 25 mph, and we also know that even if we lock the brakes when we are even with the sign, for a second or so we will still be traveling faster than 25 mph. Therefore we have a maneuver factor that we have compiled on how long it takes to calmly brake and decelerate from 35 mph down to 25 mph. Let's assume that time is 4 seconds. Theoretically the Driver begins braking 2 second before the sign, and the speed as (s)he passes that sign should be of the old speed and the new speed (33 to 25 = 29 mph). Now the Navigator tells the drive to accelerate to 35 mph at his signal. So now the Navigator is looking at his maneuver sheet and knows his vehicle takes 6 seconds to accelerate from 25 mph up to 35 mph when in high gear. The Navigator must also be considering the terrain they are on to determine if the acceleration number needs to be adjusted. If not, the Nav knows that it will take 6 seconds to accelerate, -and because the instruction said to hold at 25 for 20 seconds, the Nav waits until they have driven 25 mph for 14 second (20 secs - 6 secs = 14 secs) and then the Nav tells the Driver to go to 35 mph and wait for the next instruction. This is the way the entire race is driven and navigated. The speedometer does not have an odometer and there is one analog clock allowed. Nothing digital nor no GPS.


I could go on and on but the memories are worth all the hard work and $$ you spend on doing the race. I will tell you that from my recollection of the event, probably 50%-60% of the cars were actually well prepared, -and the same applies for the Teams themselves. There are teams that participate out of a rental car using a small set of tools in the trunk, -and there are teams that participated with a semi-trailer full of spares. As for the vehicles, many tried to re-engineer adding redundant systems (such as ignition systems, fuel pumps, etc.) and in many instances, there were failures of that. Our car was a '31 Phaeton with a B engine, Brumfield head and a NOS B camshaft. The rear end ratio was 3.54. Stock Model-A distributor and points, a B carburetor and a stock B intake. Exhaust manifold was stock and an Aries muffler. The brakes were mechanical with late-31 cast iron drums all around. Our focus was for making sure everything was correctly restored back to factory specs including the wheels, and the car performed well every time it was raced. My point in saying this is to show that it does not take a high-dollar vehicle to compete and do well. It just take diligent preparation. The car was sorted out way before it went inside the trailer, and my Dad had driven it enough where he could do ten 0-30 accelerations and be within a tenth of a second of the same time. We found a straight road near the house where we measured off 5,280 feet to test on. We practiced our maneuver rates over & over until we knew the performance of the car. It was mentioned above that the same people kept winning over and over. It is my belief the ones that continually win are the ones that did their prep work before they went to the race. Their diligence before the race is why they were a top finisher. My position is don't let repeat winners deter your mindset into thinking a Rookie cannot win it all.

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Old 10-22-2019, 10:16 AM   #11
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Default Re: The great American race

Brent, that must have been a blast!! I believe one of the main reasons that there are repeat winners is for the exact reasons you spelled out. There are many classes and winners are chosen for rookies as well. I have participated in a couple of local road rallies which are a lot of fun, but they are only for about a half day. And yes the directions are rather complicated.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: The great American race

Quote:
Originally Posted by updraught View Post
How come she doesn't wear jeans on the front of her legs?
"Style". She also paints her fingernails. Has no relevance to anything.
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Old 10-22-2019, 10:33 AM   #13
modarace
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Default Re: The great American race

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
That car was built by Tom McRae who used it as his Pace Car in the late 1980s and in 1990. Tom was the founder of the Great Race, along with Interstate Batteries owner Norm Miller. The car really didn't race until later when an X-Cup (a class for Kids named for Gen X) Team out of Texas used it. My family actually did the race beginning in 1996 thru 2001. I was fortunate to win the Ace Wrench award one year for wrenching on a 1916 Hudson and a 1917 Crane-Simplex all the way thru the race. Also, my father & I were fortunate to win a regional race in our '31 Phaeton.

As Ray stated, this was not really a 'contest of speed' race but more about following instructions. To be able to win, you need a vehicle that is methodically restored/prepared that can complete without experiencing mechanical issues along the way. Our '31 Phaeton went cross country without a breakdown, and outside of regular maintenance (changing oil, checking fluids, adjusting brakes, bolt check, etc.) the only thing I think we ever did was clean and re-adjust the ignition points. What makes this event difficult is being able to read, comprehend, and follow directions with exacting detail. For example, your car is given a start time. The instruction may read 'Turn RIGHT out of the parking lot and proceed at 33 MPH. At the yellow Curve in Road sign, drive 25 MPH for 20 seconds and then proceed at 35MPH.' Now this instruction is "code" for when you leave the parking lot you must immediately be traveling 33 mile per hour on the road. Well, we all know a Model-A cannot accelerate immediately to 33 mph, -so maneuver factors are compiled by the Driver (before the race) to know how to deal with this instruction. Thru running trials, let's say the performance of the race car is it take 3.5 seconds to accelerate from ) mph to 30 mph, and 4.0 seconds from 0 mph to 35 mph. So if your instruction tells you to start at 9:08AM, then theoretically the Driver needs to start at 9:04.25AM which theoretically means that in 3 seconds later, the car will be traveling 33 mph and the time will be exactly 9:08 as per the instructions. Next, the Navigator is looking for the yellow curve arrow sign while the Driver is focusing on keeping the speedometer exactly on 33 mph. The next thing that must be factored is we know at that sign we must immediately be traveling 25 mph, and we also know that even if we lock the brakes when we are even with the sign, for a second or so we will still be traveling faster than 25 mph. Therefore we have a maneuver factor that we have compiled on how long it takes to calmly brake and decelerate from 35 mph down to 25 mph. Let's assume that time is 4 seconds. Theoretically the Driver begins braking 2 second before the sign, and the speed as (s)he passes that sign should be of the old speed and the new speed (33 to 25 = 29 mph). Now the Navigator tells the drive to accelerate to 35 mph at his signal. So now the Navigator is looking at his maneuver sheet and knows his vehicle takes 6 seconds to accelerate from 25 mph up to 35 mph when in high gear. The Navigator must also be considering the terrain they are on to determine if the acceleration number needs to be adjusted. If not, the Nav knows that it will take 6 seconds to accelerate, -and because the instruction said to hold at 25 for 20 seconds, the Nav waits until they have driven 25 mph for 14 second (20 secs - 6 secs = 14 secs) and then the Nav tells the Driver to go to 35 mph and wait for the next instruction. This is the way the entire race is driven and navigated. The speedometer does not have an odometer and there is one analog clock allowed. Nothing digital nor no GPS.


I could go on and on but the memories are worth all the hard work and $$ you spend on doing the race. I will tell you that from my recollection of the event, probably 50%-60% of the cars were actually well prepared, -and the same applies for the Teams themselves. There are teams that participate out of a rental car using a small set of tools in the trunk, -and there are teams that participated with a semi-trailer full of spares. As for the vehicles, many tried to re-engineer adding redundant systems (such as ignition systems, fuel pumps, etc.) and in many instances, there were failures of that. Our car was a '31 Phaeton with a B engine, Brumfield head and a NOS B camshaft. The rear end ratio was 3.54. Stock Model-A distributor and points, a B carburetor and a stock B intake. Exhaust manifold was stock and an Aries muffler. The brakes were mechanical with late-31 cast iron drums all around. Our focus was for making sure everything was correctly restored back to factory specs including the wheels, and the car performed well every time it was raced. My point in saying this is to show that it does not take a high-dollar vehicle to compete and do well. It just take diligent preparation. The car was sorted out way before it went inside the trailer, and my Dad had driven it enough where he could do ten 0-30 accelerations and be within a tenth of a second of the same time. We found a straight road near the house where we measured off 5,280 feet to test on. We practiced our maneuver rates over & over until we knew the performance of the car. It was mentioned above that the same people kept winning over and over. It is my belief the ones that continually win are the ones that did their prep work before they went to the race. Their diligence before the race is why they were a top finisher. My position is don't let repeat winners deter your mindset into thinking a Rookie cannot win it all.

[COLOR="White"].
A comment on the video says it was built by Ken griggs???
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:01 PM   #14
BRENT in 10-uh-C
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A comment on the video says it was built by Ken griggs???

That very well may be true. Tom was a promoter and also had "great pride in himself". If this is the same car, -and it appears to be, then my distinct recollection is he told all of us he built it. Maybe it was Ken's creation and Tom took credit for it when he wrote the check, ...or maybe Tom commissioned Ken to build it for him and since Tom wrote the checks, then Tom considered himself the builder. Tom is deceased now so we likely will never know all the facts. I probably have some pictures of it when it was in use as the pace car.

Ironically as a part of who was the builder, I know that Tom replaced this car with a 1937 Buick Shaffer 8 clone. At some point afterwards, Tom sold that vehicle to Corky Coker to raise funds. Later Tom commissioned Charlie Glick to clone the clone ...but this one would be painted red. I was one of the 7 guys that was flown to Paris, Illinois where we all (-Tom included) worked 20 hours a day as hard as we could go for about 3 weeks on building that 2nd Buick race car from scratch. I left a few days early to go home to pack my cars & parts for the race, but when we got to the start of the race that year, Tom did mention multiple times that he and others built that car. Maybe it was because several of us were there to keep him honest. It does not matter to me either way, ...if Mr. Griggs did build the car, then I feel he should receive the accolades.

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Old 10-22-2019, 12:26 PM   #15
Jeff/Illinois
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Default Re: The great American race

Kind of like Drew Alcazar in the Shelby Mustang world.

He took all the credit for building MCA Gold Standard #1+ cars and SAAC award winning restorations when it was disclosed later that he outsourced almost all of the work. He didn't get his hands too dirty.

Kind of took the wind out of his sails.
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:09 PM   #16
modarace
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Default Re: The great American race

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRENT in 10-uh-C View Post
That very well may be true. Tom was a promoter and also had "great pride in himself". If this is the same car, -and it appears to be, then my distinct recollection is he told all of us he built it. Maybe it was Ken's creation and Tom took credit for it when he wrote the check, ...or maybe Tom commissioned Ken to build it for him and since Tom wrote the checks, then Tom considered himself the builder. Tom is deceased now so we likely will never know all the facts. I probably have some pictures of it when it was in use as the pace car.

Ironically as a part of who was the builder, I know that Tom replaced this car with a 1937 Buick Shaffer 8 clone. At some point afterwards, Tom sold that vehicle to Corky Coker to raise funds. Later Tom commissioned Charlie Glick to clone the clone ...but this one would be painted red. I was one of the 7 guys that was flown to Paris, Illinois where we all (-Tom included) worked 20 hours a day as hard as we could go for about 3 weeks on building that 2nd Buick race car from scratch. I left a few days early to go home to pack my cars & parts for the race, but when we got to the start of the race that year, Tom did mention multiple times that he and others built that car. Maybe it was because several of us were there to keep him honest. It does not matter to me either way, ...if Mr. Griggs did build the car, then I feel he should receive the accolades.

.
.
interesting. the world may never know lol.
if you find the pics of it please let me know. its going to go on BaT soon.
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Old 10-23-2019, 04:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: The great American race

On the left side of that car there is a long bar that starts at the middle of the frame and goes diagonally up and across the spare tire. There appears to be a foot-shaped pedal at the bottom.

Anybody know what that is?

Ken
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Old 10-23-2019, 11:08 AM   #18
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Default Re: The great American race

My guess is that it was a way to stretch out an place the left foot. That cowl is very narrow. It may also steady the spare.
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Old 11-07-2019, 06:52 PM   #19
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its live on bring a trailer


https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1929-ford-model-a-26/
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by 77Birdman View Post
Much like the 'Motorcycle Cannonball' which was started a few years ago, the first one was kinda seat of your pants event. Now its very corporate. I know with the motorcycle race the bikes now run full support teams with mobile machine shops!
Two friends that ran last year didn't have that and finished, one with no penalty points, so not all. Another buddy had a pretty good setup, though.
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