By Steve Hedke, who is representing ACM with his wife Janet and their daughter Allison in The Great Race, going on now through July 2. Follow along on their adventure here.
After the stifling heat and humidity of Florida, Day 2 up through Georgia was 20 degrees cooler and a welcome relief to both cars and crews. The roads turned from flat to gentle rolling hills, then some actual mountains as we motored into Tennessee.
Once again the top 20 scores were truly awesome: no one has seen such tight competition this early in the rally. Once again the course was fairly easy, but this time the race encountered church traffic, trains, farm equipment and just plain old traffic to deal with.
The back roads were truly beautiful: smooth and tree lined with neatly kept farms and friendly folks. The Great Race is 2 car shows a day, a road rally, and a tour, and though we were ‘on the clock’, it was also a fine drive in the county. The Studebaker is running perfectly.
The lunch in Newnan, Georgia was classic: the old courthouse sits in the heart of downtown and the cars were parked around it. The weather was nice, and mom, dad, grandpa and the kids all came out to see us. And one local resident had been to America’s Car Museum!
The overnight stop was in Chattanooga, held at Coker Tire’s Headquarters. They had a lot of local car clubs there to greet us, plus a fine dinner served in the Coker Museum. Amphibious World War Two ‘Duck Boats’ (DUKW’s) gave the race teams a ride around Chattanooga and into the Tennessee River. We explored the Coker shops where wood and wire wheels are made, and the Honest Charley Speed Shop where custom and restoration work is performed. The walls are lined with classic engines, such as a variety of flathead Ford V8’s, a big Packard V12 PT boat engine and some fire truck motors by Hall-Scott and Seagrave. The museum features Corky’s fine collection of early motorcycles: restored or preserved, they all had new tires.
Our scores weren’t the best today. We made some calculation errors in traffic situations; nothing serious, just a few seconds off, but our score was only good enough for 27th: once again there we were a lot of great scores today. Not to worry though, this is sort of normal. It takes a few days for us to really get up to speed and there are 15 positions ahead of us separated by just a few seconds. It’s a long race and the standings will shift.
Tomorrow we are off to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Wish us luck!
Steve, Janet, and Allison
Greatrace Car 45