Historic Great Race to stop in Breck Sunday
A lucrative, one-of-a-kind vintage car race will arrive in Breckenridge Sunday afternoon to wrap up stage 8 of its two-week rally race across America.The 22nd annual Great Race, which takes its 91 participants through 46 American cities over a 4,000-plus-mile course largely made up of two-lane country roads, is expected to arrive at the corner of Main St. and Washington Ave. around 3:45 p.m. There, drivers behind the wheels of pre-1959 cars that “average” worths of $100,000, according to race spokesman Mike Ewing, will cross the finish line and park their vehicles for spectators to view.The town’s growing reputation as a locale of choice for vehicles (it hosted Vettes on the Rockies last summer) helped attract the attention of race organizers, who contacted the town in hopes that it would agree to host the stage-ending celebration and overnight stay.
“Basically, the word is out that we are a very car-friendly place,” said Kristen Pettit, public relations director for the Breckenridge Resort Chamber. “We can do the show and shine on Main Street.”Added town spokeswoman Kim DiLallo, “We’re embracing this one.”The event itself is not a typical, fastest-to-the-finish-wins car race. Using the rally format, the two-person teams are required to stay 5 mph below the posted speed limit throughout the race, and must follow 14 separate courses that aren’t introduced to them until the day they are to drive them. Sunday’s course starts in Colorado Springs and goes through Leadville and up Route 91 before finishing in Breckenridge.Teams attempt to finish in exactly the allotted time that race officials determined the individual courses should take when they drove and designed the cross-country route earlier this year. If teams arrive at a stage’s finish too early or too late, they are docked penalty points according to how many seconds they missed the target time by – one point per second.
As of the end of Tuesday’s stage 4, said Ewing, the leader had accumulated just eight points.Despite the rather showy and glamorous nature of the race, there is nothing low-key about the seriousness with which the rally is treated.Asked whether it was more show than race, Ewing, speaking from a grass lawn in the parking lot of a Krispy Kreme in Springfield, Mo., said, “No way. It’s exactly the opposite. It’s a very serious competition.”
With $260,000 on the line (the winner gets around $65,000), Ewing’s comments were not surprising. Still, he said, demonstrating the love for cars that has driven the race since its inception, “I think these guys would do it for free.”Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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