Note: This is the second of a nine-part series of Great Race Director Jeff Stumb’s thoughts on each day on the 2015 Great Race route after returning from setting up the stops for next year’s event. Once racers leave Springfield, Mo., early on Sunday morning, June 21, on the 2015 Great Race, the terrain will begin to change. The slow rolling and wooded hills of Missouri will turn to flat and wide open pastureland.
Before starting competition that Sunday morning, our friends at Joplin 44 Truck Stop will fill every Great Racers gas tank for free, just as they did during the 2013 Great Race at Iowa 80 Truck Stop.
There is only about a dozen or so miles of Route 66 in the state of Kansas, and we plan on doing every one of them that morning on the way to Claremore, Okla., for a lunch stop. There are several iconic bridges and structures (like the “4 Women on the Route 66” gas station) near Galena, Kansas.
Some of you may remember the fantastic lunch stop we had in Claremore on a Hemmings Challenge six or seven years ago. It is the hometown of the great Will Rogers, and expect to see at least one impersonator during lunch telling witty stories.
There are more miles left of the original Route 66 in Oklahoma than in any other state, and we will travel on our share this day.
The overnight stop will be in Oklahoma City, one of the best surprises on the entire trip. The venue will be in Bricktown – the old warehouse district where the old brick structures have been turned into fashionable restaurants, bars and stores – on Micky Mantle Drive. The hotels are in the venue and it promises to be one of the best stops on the entire event. Bricktown has a canal running through it complete with water taxis. The Triple A baseball team will be having a game that evening as well and select Great Race automobiles, including any from the state of Oklahoma, will be displayed on Johnny Bench Plaza next to the stadium entrance.
The next report will cover Oklahoma City to Amarillo, Texas.