Motor Mouth Blog


The Great Race: Check-in and Tech Inspection

Pre race inspection and ‘stickering’ goes in an assembly line fashion. Yes, along with the Corvette and Mustang, that is indeed a real Auburn Boattail Speedster, owned by Chad and Jenny Caldwell.

By Steve Hedke, who is representing ACM with his wife Janet and their daughter Allison in The Great Race June 24 – July 2. Follow along on their adventure here

This will be one of the easiest days of the race. Our check-in time was 3:06 pm, which gave us time for a leisurely Cracker Barrel breakfast, to do some shopping for supplies and run the “˜measured mile’ to calibrate the electronic speedometer before doing the remaining paperwork.

The speedo calibration run is a set of instructions that take you out to a section of Interstate that has relatively light traffic. The timed portion will start abeam of a specifically chosen roadside sign, and you stabilize your speed to exactly 50 mph. Holding 50, you check off several more signs and using the stopwatch the navigator records the times as we cross by the designated signs. The instruction sheet tells you how much time each set of signs should take, plus the elapsed time from the first to the last. You compare your times to the ones on the sheet, and that’s your error. The speedometer has 4 “˜wheels’ on the back to adjust it for running fast or slow. As it turned out this time we were within 0.18 of a second of the ideal time, which is really just about perfect for over 13 miles. We do this every morning on each day of the race.

The Studebaker Daytona is being ‘stickered’ after passing the technical inspection.

Once we established that our speedo was right on the money, we came back to the hotel to be “˜processed’. Several stations are set up in a room, and you go from one to the next signing whatever requires signing, verifying the data base in the computer for your car and picking up the event hats and shirts that you ordered. It’s not unlike registration for any car event.

We took our paperwork and drove a short distance to a big grass parking lot where tech was set up. That’s where the official vinyl stickers go on, which are required by the sponsorships. Our “LeMay” wings were sent to us early and we applied them ourselves before we left. The sponsor decal payments go to Great Race, which is technically a for-profit LLC, but usually just breaks even, especially when factoring in the cash prizes and trophies. There is a lot of overhead on a deal like this, and it takes a year to put it together.

We get to see a lot of pretty cool things that we didn’t expect. Here, for example, is the Maxwell House coffee factory, clearly in its very cool original building. Yes, we were downwind and it smelled wonderful.

Tech is pretty easy if you read the instructions and followed them. Aside from checking lights, horn, brake pedal and steering travel, safety supplies such as a tow rope, fire extinguisher, drinking water, flares, etc. are also required to be in each car. When using the electronic speedometer from Timewise you must cover up the factory speedo (only one is allowed) and clock (again, only one is allowed). Being old cars, the horn that worked yesterday may have decided it was too humid to work today, so embarrassment is also part of the tech experience. We sailed right through, stickers applied, speedo calibrated, and ready to race!

Tonight we had a hosted dinner at the Jacksonville Zoo, which was the first time everyone got together. Lots of laughing and introductions were going on, and the food was good. It’s hot and humid here, but pleasant enough outside at night. Rain was in the forecast, so we just had time to eat and visit the zoo, which was kept open just for us. As we were rolling out of the parking lot the rain started.

The outdoor dinner and reception at the Jacksonville Zoo. These are all Great Race teams and support crew. Big crowd!

Today was the mandatory general meeting by 7:30 am. The Trophy Dash, which is used for practice and as a tie breaker, starts at 11:30 am. We can let you all know how we did once we get back and the scores are posted.

Wish us luck!

Steve, Janet, and Allison Hedke
Greatrace 45

Comments (1)

  • I am here! catching up on what you are doing!!

    Beckie - June 25, 2017

Leave a Reply