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.
Greetings from Bowling Green, Kentucky!
Our journey today began in Chattanooga, and we wound our way north to cooler weather and hillier country. The rallying got a lot more fun as the back roads twisted and turned: it’s hard to control speeds when the road won’t stand still. We also had some traffic issues today: sometimes you hit those rural intersections with no cars at all in sight, and sometimes you’re stuck waiting for the traffic to clear as your penalty points rack up. Making up for lost time can be the most challenging part of a day, and we weren’t the only ones.
Our lunch stop was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The town had an historical center with preserved buildings from its past, a perfect setting in which to display our old cars. And what a lunch! Fried chicken, corn, sweet potato casserole, green beans, a bread roll and sweet tea by the gallon, all served inside a log cabin main building. Friendly folks there, including one person who used to live near where we do now and some Studebaker club guys.
The ACM Daytona is getting a lot of attention. It was the top picture on the Great Race site in Chattanooga, it was featured in a newspaper interview in Bowling Green, and we made the cover of one of the local papers, that according to one of our fellow racers whose hometown showed us and not them!
We finished 14th today, better than yesterday and today was harder. The top scores were only :05 better, so we are doing most things right. The Studebaker was running just beautifully and we are pushing it hard. We soaked up some pretty rough roads today too. Janet navigated us through some tricky bits that other teams missed, which always makes us feel good.
After the competition was over, we had a chance to hot lap the excellent road course next to the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green and boy was that fun! No restrictions, just sign the waivers and go. It was a really challenging 23 corner road course, with decreasing radius turns, off camber turns, a elevation change S turn and a long straight. We really went for it: I used to do vintage racing in a TR3 and I love road courses. The Studebaker’s suspension and brake modifications really handled the track well. Allison was laughing as we drifted into the corners! Great Race has given us the opportunity over the years to lap a number of tracks, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Michigan International, Darlington, Kentucky Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Daytona International.
We have an early start tomorrow: we’re the third car out! We have some positions to gain, and we normally do better as the race progresses. On to the corn fields in Franklin, Indiana!
Steve, Janet, and Allison Hedke
Great Race 45