In 2016, the Great Race finished by crossing the Mississippi River into Moline, Illinois. The great river the event will cross in 2017 will be the Ohio River between Kentucky and Indiana after the racers leave Bowling Green. After entering the Hoosier State on the Great Race for the first time in more than a decade, participants will rally in the Hoosier National Forest in the southern part of the state before hitting French Lick, Indiana for lunch. Known by many as the hometown of NBA great Larry Bird, French Lick is also home to the French Lick Resort and the French Lick Scenic Railway.
Indiana is the essence of rural America. Small towns like the one native son John Cougar Mellencamp sings about dot the landscape from one end of the state to the other and are as big a part of Americana as Mom, baseball and apple pie. And no town on the race in 2017 exemplifies that more than Franklin, Indiana. While only 25 miles south of Indianapolis, it feels like it is hundreds of miles from the fast pace of the capital city. One look at the historic courthouse and the smiling faces of the locals makes Franklin the perfect overnight promotion stop.