In the 39-year history of the Great Race, the event has made its way east and west and north and south through 46 of the 48 contiguous United States. In 2022, the Great Race will finally be able to add the last two states to its schedule – Rhode Island and North Dakota.
The 2022 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty Drivers Club will start in Warwick, Rhode Island, on Saturday, June 18, and finish in Fargo, North Dakota, on Sunday, June 26, race organizers have announced. The 9-day, 2,300-mile adventure will bring 120 of the world’s finest antique automobiles to 19 cities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. More than $150,000 will be awarded to top finishers in multiple divisions.
“We are excited to start the 2022 Great Race in Warwick, a beautiful city just outside of Providence on the Narragansett Bay,” director Jeff Stumb said. “The host hotel has everything we need for meetings and activities, and the racers will enjoy some of the trips we have planned to car collections and to fabulous Newport, Rhode Island.”
“We are also excited to have finalized the finish in downtown Fargo, which is just across the Red River from Minnesota. Fargo is one of the most exciting cities in America and their downtown – which has hosted crowds of tens of thousands of people twice for College GameDay – is fantastic.”
Teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Canada and every corner of the United States will converge in Rhode Island in mid-June with vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916. “There are more than 500 people just in our entourage from all around the world,” Stumb said.
Overnight and lunch cities are still in the works and will be announced later.
The Great Race, which began 39 years ago, is not a speed race, but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret check points along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.
Cars start – and hopefully finish – one minute apart if all goes according to plan. The biggest part of the challenge other than staying on time and following the instructions is getting an old car to the finish line each day, organizers say. Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public and spectators will be able to visit with the participants and to look at the cars for several hours. It is common for kids to climb in the cars for a first-hand look.
Cars built in 1974 and earlier are eligible, with most entries having been manufactured before World War II. In the 2019 Great Race a 1916 Hudson won the event from Riverside, Calif., to Tacoma, Wash. The 2022 winners will again receive $50,000 of the $150,000 total purse. A 1916 Hudson Pikes Peak Hillclimber, a 1917 American LaFrance and a 1917 Peerless racer are the oldest cars scheduled to be in the 2021 Great Race from San Antonio, Texas, to Greenville, S.C., this summer.
Over the decades, the Great Race has stopped in hundreds of cities big and small, from tiny Austin, Nev., to New York City. “When the Great Race pulls into a city it becomes an instant festival,” Stumb said. “Last year we had several overnight stops with more than 10,000 spectators on our way to having 250,000 people see the Great Race during the event.”
The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae and it takes its name from the 1965 movie, The Great Race, which starred Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk. The movie is a comedy based on the real life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris. In 2004, Tony Curtis was the guest of the Great Race and rode in his car from the movie, the Leslie Special.
The Great Race gained a huge following from late night showings on ESPN when the network was just starting out in the early 1980s. The first entrant, Curtis Graf of Irving, Texas, is still a participant today. The event’s main sponsors are Hemmings Motor News, Hagerty Drivers Club, Coker Tire and Reliable Carriers.
For more information, go to www.greatrace.com or contact Jeff Stumb at [email protected] or by calling him at 423-648-8542.