Great Race Planning Trip–Day 1

September 30, 2011

After acquiring the Great Race, we have been very busy, making sure we uphold the legacy and the tradition that Tom McRae established many years ago. Just after the 2011 Hemmings Motor News Great Race, Coker Tire is proud to announce a new Director of the Great Race, longtime rally enthusiast and all around car guy, Mr. Jeff Stumb. He is away from the office right now, on a trip to the Great Lakes to meet with host cities, so sit back and enjoy some of his commentary as he rides up and down the road.

As soon as the annual Coker Tire Challenge ended in Chattanooga Sept. 18,  John Classen and I hit the road to visit city leaders, check out hotels and map out the route for the 2012 Great Race.

As you may know by now, the Great Race will start in Traverse City, Michigan, on June 23, 2012, and circle the Great Lakes before returning to Michigan the following weekend. Plans have been underway for some time, but this is the first opportunity to visit the cities I have been working with to put on the best Great Race in a long time. We are again fortunate to have Hemmings Motor News as our title sponsor, but we have also added Hagerty as our “Presented By” sponsor. Everyone at Hagerty, especially McKeel Hagerty, Derek Prechtl and Nicolle Girard have gone out of their way to make the start of the event in their hometown the best Great Race start ever.

Here is a day-by-day account of my trip so far (with more to come as the days roll by):

DAY 1 — Traverse City, Mich.

We flew into Detroit and rented a car Sunday night, Sept. 18, and drove to Traverse City Monday morning. Having already spent Wednesday through Sunday with Derek and Nicolle at the Coker Tire Challenge (including flying back on the same plane to Detroit), it was fun to see them at their workplace. And what a place it is! If you have not been to Traverse City, it is worth the trip just to see the beautiful city on Lake Michigan. But it is also worth the trip to see Hagerty’s office complex in downtown Traverse City. The Hagerty family has been a big force in Traverse City for a long time, and the spectacular Hagerty Center overlooking the lake is an asset to the community.

Great Race

I took this photo with my cell phone of Lake Michigan from my room at the Holiday Inn in Traverse City, which will be our host hotel for the start.

Hagerty held a gathering for about 20 local businessmen and women Monday night and I made a presentation to them about the Great Race and what it would mean to the city to host the start. Plans are under way for a memorable start on Front Street in downtown Traverse City.

Jeff Stumb, Director of Great Race

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