Final 2017 Great Race Recap from Olivia Gentry

July 3, 2017

After nine days, seven states, and over 2,000 miles, the 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race Presented by Hagerty is over. It is hard to put into words the way that I feel right now; the love, the excitement, the support, the experience. Experience is the only word I can think of to explain how impactful this has been. As many of you know, I grew up on The Great Race watching my Mom, Beth Knowles Gentry, and Grandfather, Joe Knowles compete on this event in a Red 32 Ford Cabriolet. The same Red 32 Ford Cabriolet I watched win it all in Traverse City, Michigan on Sunday. Though my Pawpaw passed away in 2010, I know he was there on Sunday, and I know he was looking down with my Grandmother, Lurleine Knowles, smiling from ear to ear. After my Pawpaw passed away, Genna, and I were talking with our family, and mentioned how sad we were that we would now be unable to go on the race anymore. I will never forget the moment my cousin, Jody Knowles looked us both in the eye and said “Oh yeah, we’re gonna’ go, and we’re gonna’ win too.”. As always, Jody is a man of his word, and I am so unbelievably proud, and happy that he, and my Mom were able to bring home a bird.

My Dad, Oliver Gentry, has been here every step of the way, and we could not be happier to create all of these memories as a family. Genna, and I were also blessed to be able to bring home the Rookie Division Championship, a memory I will never forget. Until next year, the race is over, however the memories will remain forever, the friendships will continue to blossom, and the cars will continue to hit the road. The experience will live on forever.
-Olivia Gentry

7 comments about “Final 2017 Great Race Recap from Olivia Gentry”

  • Would it be possible to get a copy of the Instructions from Newnan GA to Chattanooga TN?

    Id like to run this route

  • Olivia,
    You and Genna make quite a team. In a few years you will be competing with your mom and Jody. Brad and I were so thrilled to see all of you win. It was the perfect end to a fun nine day adventure.
    Congratulations again!!

  • We bought programs from you in Reno, NV at the stop there last year and have followed your every step of the way this year. Congratulations.

  • Your story has touched our hearts and made us all feel good. Thanks for taking the effort to share your day to day experiences with us all. It makes me feel like I’m apart of your win. I was the old dude in the yellow porkpie hat who gave you a double thumbs-up as you left Alpena, Michigan lunch stop. I turned to my wife and said, “They’re going to win their division.” Your family’s tradition lives on. Our heartiest and most sincere congratulations!

  • Is it possible to get the route/instructions for the 2017 race? I like taking back roads when traveling and would enjoy following the route.

  • Wow! Congratulations on such a deserved victory! I’m so glad you’ve kept this tradition going! I’m sure that Red 32 Ford Cabriolet’s still got many more Great Races to win.

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