Great Race Legend Passes Away

January 28, 2013


Grandpa Stanfield passed away this weekend at his home in California, and, as anyone who participated in the Great Race even once before about 2005 can tell you, he loved the event. And he loved people. And he loved cars. He was the kind of guy the Great Race is all about.

I got to thinking when I heard the news this weekend about the times Grandpa helped me fix a problem with my car on the race. And I got to thinking about the times when I would try to shake his hand to thank him for his help but he would hug me instead. The first time he helped me and hugged me he didn’t even know my name. It didn’t matter to Grandpa Stanfield – he would help and hug everyone. Someone already said in an email that there are a lot more hugs in heaven today, and that is so true.


I also got to thinking when I heard of his passing that I didn’t even know his first name – he was always “Grandpa” Stanfield to everyone. I learned only today that it was Wayne.

Most of you know the Stanfield family has been a huge part of the Great Race from Day One. Grandpa Stanfield’s son, Wayne, entered the very first event in 1983 and went on to win five times in the first 20 years. Wayne’s wife, Terri, handled the travel arrangements for the race for many years, and their daughter, Rebecca, competed several times. Grandpa’s wife, Barbara, passed away a couple of years ago.

A neighbor and friend of four decades has written a nice piece about Grandpa and the link is below for anyone interested.

8 comments about “Great Race Legend Passes Away”

  • I had a chance not once but twice to buy a Model A that Grandpa Stanfield built, and I regret today that I didn’t. It was a maroon Model A speedster that competed in the Great Race several times. It was car #100. I forget who it was that originally bought the car from Grandpa, but several years later that guy wanted to sell it for $10,000. I don’t remember why, but I passed. My friend Larry Campbell bought it. I passed on it again when Larry sold it a few more years later. It was a great car — the perfect car for the Great Race. Grandpa proved you could build a car for the Great Race at a reasonable price and be competitive. If anyone know where that car is today I would like to hear about it.

  • Besides Tom McRae, Grandpa was the first real character that I remember from my Great Race experiences. It was in 1996 that we were doing Tacoma, WA to Toronto, Ontario. Grandpa was driving with Tom, carrying the ’38 Buick. I was the passenger… I swear that I remember every hug, every warm embrace. He lived his life as a true gentle man.
    Condolences to the Stanfield family… He is at peace!”

  • Rita and I met the Great Race in Germantown, TN several years ago. The last year that Randy Harding and I were participants in the Race was 1990, so I was excited to have it come through Mississippi. Rita and I had just gotten married and I’d been telling her what a great event the race was, and that one day I’d like for us to do the Race together. We were standing in the crowd enjoying watching all the cars come in, not thinking anyone might recognize me as a former Great Racer, when I heard someone shout ,”Hey T model Man”. It was Grandpa Stanfield headed straight for us. At first I thought he was talking to someone else because we were just mixed in with the crowd and not really very close to the finish line, so I knew he couldn’t possibly be talking to me. In Grandpa Stanfield fashion he grabbed me in a big bear hug and as I was introducing Rita grabbed her too!! He ushered us right up front by the finish line so we could greet the Racers as they came in. That was typical Grandpa behavior, because he did love people and he really loved the Great Race. He will be missed, but not forgotten. Kirk Hill

  • We were saddened at the news of the Stanfield’s passing. We did not know that Barbara had passed away. You would never find any nicer people. They will truly be missed by all their family and friends. They made everyone feel like family. Our prayers go out to the “Family”. Our love to Wayne, Terri and family. Gab and Evonna

  • Our thought’s and prayer’s go out to the Stanfield Family! I remember my first days as a navigator in the GreatRace, with “Mr. Magoo” Joe D’Amico, Grandpa Stanfield told me “You boy’s from Georgia must be born fearless!” I was 14 at the time, Thanks to him and everyone at the staff today for keeping our family tradition alive! See you all in June! God Bless

  • I have fond memories of Wayne Stanfield from my Great Race experiences. One of the more memorable ones, for me, was from my first Great Race. My navigator & I had misinterpreted a sign in the day’s directions and Grandpa Stanfield encouraged me at that time when my heart was feeling crushed. His kindness made a big difference to my loss, that day. Am so sad to learn that he’s gone now – what a loss for all Great Racers. But I’m sure he’s waving for the rest of us at that Big Finish Line now!

  • All my contacts were moved to my new phone by the guys at the shop where I got my phone. When I got home I hooked it up to my PC, but the itunes synched windows 10 didn’t load correctly. They don’t hunt in packs unlike the others and they prefer to be lone hunts. However, with the humans. they had learned that hunting in packs on somethings has a great outcome.

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