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‘Great Race’ Visits, Starts at, Rocky Point Park

The Great Race is in Warwick at Rocky Point this morning.
The Great Race is in Warwick at Rocky Point this morning.
The Great Race is in Warwick at Rocky Point this morning.

WARWICK, RI — The Great Race has arrived in Warwick with hundreds of amazing vintage cars, starting this morning at Rocky Point State Park.

The first car leaves at 10:30 a.m. in the 2022 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty Drivers Club. The finish will be in Fargo, N.D., on June 26.

According to race organizers, There should be plenty of time to see the cars before the last one heads out on its leg of the race.

Also food trucks and an auto museum will be on site.

The Great Race, the world’s premiere old car rally, brings 120 of the world’s finest
antique automobiles to town for the $150,000 event. The start will be at Rocky Point
State Park with the cars lining up at 8 a.m. and the first car leaving at 10:30 a.m. The
finish will be in Fargo, N.D., on June 26.

“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,” event director Jeff
Stumb said. “In 2022, the Great Race will finally be able to add the last two states to the
list – Rhode Island and North Dakota.”
The 9-day, 2,300-mile adventure will travel to 19 cities in Rhode Island, Connecticut,
New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North
Dakota.

“We are excited to start the 2022 Great Race to Warwick, and in the days leading up
to the start the participants will travel all over the Rhode Island,” Stumb said. “We have
multiple events planned, including a tour of a private car collection in Providence as well
as ‘Newport Day’ on Thursday, June 16. We will be able to enjoy that city and its rich car
culture, including the Audrain Automobile Museum and the Newport Car Museum.”
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.

What is The Great Race?

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 2021 Great Race a 1932 Ford won the event from San
Antonio, Texas, to Greenville, S.C. 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 2022 Great Race.
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 and
Coker Tire.
For more information, go to www.greatrace.com or contact Jeff Stumb at
jeff@greatrace.com or by calling him at 423-648-8542.

 

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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