Jeff Stumb grew up in Birmingham, AL, and was into old cars before he had his driver’s license in the mid-70s. Of course, old cars then were used up ’69 Camaros and 55 Chevys, two of Stumb’s first cars. He has had over 50 since then, including an even dozen currently which range from a 1916 Hudson to a 1973 Chevelle SS.
After graduating for Auburn University and taking his first job in the newspaper business, Stumb saw the Great Race for the first time in 1987 in Orlando, Fla. In 1994, he participated for the first time as a driver and turned in the lowest daily score of the race that year, 4 seconds. As his family grew he and his wife Karen have five children and the cars in his modest collection got older, the one thing that seemed to remain constant was his annual participation in the Great Race. He competed through the years with friends, his father and his wife.
In 2011, after leaving the newspaper business after almost 25 years, Stumb became the Director of the Great Race. In the years since, the event has grown to unprecedented heights, from a record number rookies to the overall number of teams. His favorite parts of the job are the people, the cars and places he gets to visit.
John Classen has been Great Race Director of Competition since 1990. He got his start in Road Rallying in the Sports Car Club of America rally program, in which he won several National Championships in the 1970s and ’80s. For the inaugural Great Race in 1983, founder Tom McRae asked local SCCA regions to provide a route through their territory. The southern California region picked Classen to write the route from the Official Start at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park to the Arizona border.
The next 5 years, Classen was a Great Race competitor, winning the Grand Championship one year and finishing second another. He also navigated for Curtis Graf for several of those years. Graf and Classen are the only two persons who have participated in every Great Race.
In 1989, Tom McRae asked Classen to assist with Race operations, and the next year hired him to be Director of Competition, a position he has held ever since. Classen has written every Great Race from 1990 through 2015, and with his wife Rachel Simon driving, he has run lead car on each of those events.
Angelia Summers has worked at Coker Tire for more than a decade and is our Great Race Event Coordinator, while continuing to be the Project Coordinator at Coker Tire. Although 2018 was her first time going on the Great Race, many participants have communicated with Angelia through the years as she has been in charge of gathering driver, navigator and vehicle photos for the program as well as numerous behind the scenes items. Before her position at Coker Tire, she worked in the automotive magazine industry. She and her husband Michael, who works at McKee Bakery (home of world-famous Little Debbie) have two daughters and four grandchildren.
Jason White is the Digital Marketing Manager at Coker Tire Company and has been involved with the Great Race since 2011. His experience with the Great Race began in video production for television coverage (2011 through 2016), and included other types of media coverage as well. As the event grew, so did the video production needs, so that daunting task was handed off to a production company, which freed Jason from the late nights of handling and editing hundreds of hours of video footage. As fate would have it, the 2017 Great Race needed someone to help with announcing at the hosted city stops, and Jason fit the mold perfectly. His humor keeps the racers smiling and his passion for the Great Race keeps the attention of the thousands of spectators that we see each year. Jason is now the official announcer of the Great Race and loves every minute of it!
Tommy Lee Byrd is a member of the Marketing Department at Coker Tire, and has served as the Great Race Photographer since 2011. He is a diehard car guy, with a garage full of project cars, none of which could handle the abuse of the Great Race, so he can typically be seen behind the wheel of a rental vehicle. You may also find him hiding in the bushes on the side of the road, as the Great Race cars pass by. His photography has been on the cover of Hemmings Motor News Magazine, and it’s sprinkled throughout all of the Coker Tire and Great Race marketing materials. TLB, as we call him, also handles all of the Great Race social media accounts.