Great Racers will begin arriving in Buffalo Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19 and 20, to take advantage of all of the pre-race activities. They include a special cookout at the Pierce Arrow Museum annex on Wednesday evening (the items in there are not seen by the public on the museum tour). Activities continue on Thursday, June 21, with registration and technical inspection and a special side trip to Niagara Falls. Friday’s events include the general meeting, rally school and the Trophy Run practice rally, followed that evening with an opening banquet at the Pierce Arrow Museum right next to the Frank Lloyd Wright gas station. Cars will line up on Seneca Street Saturday morning, June 23, in front of the museum (just a few blocks away from the host hotel) and the green flag will drop at 10:30 a.m. Wayne Carini will again be with us, and this time he will have his personal 1916 Pierce Arrow with him.
Hometown to Great Race Grand Champions Howard and Doug Sharp (2011 and 2015), Fairport will again host the Great Racers, but this time as an overnight promotion. In 2012, Fairport won the Best Lunch Stop on the event. The Erie Canal runs right through the middle of the venue with a unique bridge over the famed waterway. The city has a large committee and they are planning everything from marching bands to a possible famous national anthem singer.
The Northeast Classic Car Museum will be the site of the lunch stop in Norwich, N.Y., Racers will get to enjoy an incredible lunch and get to stroll among some of the finest early automobiles anywhere. The Great Race had a pit stop in downtown Norwich in 2000.
One of the biggest surprises for racers will be downtown Troy, N.Y. on Sunday, June 24. Troy is home to Uncle Sam, and its downtown – in the shadow of Albany and on the banks of the Hudson River – is as charming as you will find anywhere. A tremendous festival will take place in Troy that afternoon, including a large antique cars show, live music and a farmer’s market. Great Racers John and Ethan Corey and Dale Kasson call the area around Troy home.
Hometown of Great Race title sponsor Hemmings Motor News, Bennington is a typical New England small town. The lunch stop will be at Hemmings, and the racers will get to see the nice collection of automobiles owned by the magazine, as well get to walk the floors where the magic happens to produce the “Bible of the Old Car Hobby.”
Church Street Marketplace will host the Great Race stop on Monday afternoon, June 25, right in the middle of beautiful downtown Burlington. The venue is the outdoor pedestrian mall right between the University of Vermont and Lake Champlain. Racers will choose between dozens of restaurants in the venue for dinner that evening.
The Great Race will make a rare appearance in the state of New Hampshire and its first trip to the Mount Washington Auto Road. Those who wish will have time to drive to the top of the highest point in New England for a spectacular view. Those who do not wish to take the optional 7-mile drive to the top will have extra time at the bottom of the mountain for lunch.
The Great Race will return to the great state of Maine on June 26 with an overnight stop in Gardiner. Hope you like lobster! If you don’t there will also be chicken. Downtown Gardiner, a traditional Maine small town, will be the venue, and the dinner will be held on the banks of the Kennebec River along with a large local car show. Gardiner is the hometown of Great Racers Peter Prescott and Ed Chapman, and the support teams will have a change to go by Peter’s private car collection that afternoon. Racers who want to see the collection, or those who need mechanical work, will be able to visit the collection after the venue closes downtown that evening.
Maine is full of unique automobile museums, but one of the best has to be the Owls Head Transportation Museum. Not only do they have some of the coolest cars ever built, they also have a large number of vintage airplanes. And they fly them! Weather permitting, vintage planes will be taking off, flying overhead and landing while the racers have lunch. The museum is also fielding a team in the Great Race for the first time – one of more than half a dozen Maine teams!
The overnight stop this day will be on the waterfront of the banks of the Penobscot River in downtown Bangor. And if you thought Paul Bunyan was originally from the Midwest, you’d be wrong. He was born in Bangor! The support crews will be able to tour the Cole Land Transportation Museum during the day, and there will be a shuttle to take racers to and from the museum during the stop. It is less than a half mile from the venue.
Another of America’s great car museums is on Mount Desert Island in Seal Cove, Maine. It is the Seal Cove Auto Museum, and they will host racers for lunch. There will be plenty of time to eat and view all of the incredible cars as most of this afternoon will be for sightseeing. Racers will get time off the clock to drive the Loop Road in Acadia National Park as well as time to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain for the most amazing view in the Northeast.
One of the great tourist cities in America – Bar Harbor – will host the Great Race overnight stop on June 28. The Town Pier will be the site of the stop, right on the edge of downtown. Racers will be able to choose from some of the finest restaurants on the East Coast in downtown Bar Harbor that evening.
Racers will cross the border and into Canada at St. Stephens before lunch, and after a little rally time will head into downtown Saint John for the first lunch stop in Canada on this year’s event. King Square in the City Centre will be the stop location as the Great Race enters the Atlantic Time Zone for the first time ever. And you can drive 110 (kmh) on the highway!
Riverfront Park will be the site of the overnight promotion in Moncton, which is home to the largest car show in Canada each July. The Atlantic Nationals draws more than 2,000 cars from every province and many states each year, and the Great Race stop on June 29 is the kickoff of the 2018 Nationals. Racers are invited back to Moncton after the Great Race ends in Halifax as special guests of the Atlantic Nationals.
The Great Race will enter Nova Scotia for the first time ever on Saturday morning, and the lunch stop will be in downtown Truro in front of the historic library.
The Saturday overnight stop will be in Dartmouth, just across Halifax Harbour from the finish the following day. The venue will be Alderney Landing, and the cars will remain on display until the following morning. Racers will take a ferry from Alderney Landing to the Marriot, the host hotel for the final two nights.
Canada Day in Halifax will feature the Great Race finish at 1:30 p.m. at Waterfront Warehouse after a short morning of rally time for the racers. The finish is only a few blocks from the Marriot, where the awards banquet will be held that evening. Fireworks will light the night sky as the banquet ends, and one of the teams will walk out with a check for $50,000 as the Grand Champions.