Jeff Stumb’s final blog about his planning trip for the 2012 Hemmings Motor News Great Race, presented by Hagerty.
Ypsilanti to Dearborn, Mich.
The last day of the 2012 Great Race will travel north back into the state of Michigan, marking the first time the Great Race has ever left a state and returned in the same event on a following day. The final day of Championship Run continues in Ohio before making its way into Michigan, and after the competition is complete the first stop is Ypsilanti (pronounced “Ip-sah-lan-ah” by the locals). And this is not just going to be any ordinary stop for lunch on the last day of the event while waiting for the scores to be tabulated. Ypsilanti is a car town that has produced millions of vehicles over the years, including the Corvair. But it is also home to the famous Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum, better known as the Last Hudson Dealer. It is run by the equally famous Jack Miller, and he and the good folks of “Ypsi” will be our hosts. The entire street in what is called Depot Town will be closed for the Race. And if Jack’s museum isn’t enough for you while we wait to travel to the Grand Finish in Dearborn, you can take in the car show in the park just a few hundred feet away, or the Firehouse Museum on the next corner. The streets are being repaved as I write this in front of Jack’s place, so it will be nice and smooth when we arrive. If there is a better man or a bigger icon in the old car hobby than Jack Miller, I don’t know who it is.
The Grand Finish will be especially grand next year as the participants will be welcomed to The Henry Ford in Dearborn. Christian Overland and everyone associated with Ford, The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village were spectacular. Events being worked on and planned for that day will include a parade lap through Greenfield Village, a banquet and a concert. Crowd estimates are more than 10,000 from the folks at The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village who know from experience with these kind of events. The day will end with the 1812 Overture being played with fireworks in the background, the perfect way to complete the Great Race and start the Fourth of July week. And for our Canadian friends, July 1 is Canada Day!