Late last week I headed to Philadelphia for the annual meeting of the Antique Automobile Club of America for a trade show, business meetings and seminars. I expected to not wear my Great Race hat at all during that time because for the most part it is a different crowd because it is business meeting oriented.
But I should have know that you can’t go too many places in this world without running into Great Race people. I was coming out of a meeting on Friday and ran into Tabetha Salisbury, the driver of the only all-female team in last year’s Great Race. Tabetha, who is Hagerty’s Youth Advocacy Coordinator, was there to conduct a seminar on the youth programs, including Hagerty’s Driving Experience.
While in Philadelphia, my room on the 25th floor of the Sheraton overlooked the start location of the 2006 Great Race from Philadelphia to San Rafael, Calif. How many of you remember that start along Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the foot of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? That’s the place where Rocky Balboa ran up the steps shadow boxing to the triumphant music. There was a statue of Rocky at the top of the steps, but I understand it has since been removed.
That start in 2006 in downtown Philadelphia on a rainy Saturday morning was sparsely attended (believe it or not, downtown Philadelphia is deserted on weekends), but that will not be the case in St. Paul in a few months for the start of the 2013 Great Race. A crowd of more than 40,000 is expected at the Back to the 50s Weekend at the Fairgrounds to see the Great Race take off for the Gulf of Mexico.