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Great Race: Two Days To The Start

The LeMay – America’s Car Museum Studebaker Daytona receives its official race number.

By Steve Hedke, who will be representing LeMay – America’s Car Museum with his wife Janet and their daughter Allison in the Great Race

Pre-race activity has begun at the host hotel in Riverside, California. The ACM team left home early this morning and made it to the hotel just in time for our registration appointment. The Daytona is running well: all we needed to do was to collect our registration materials, pass through tech inspection (horn, lights, etc.) and have the remaining official stickers put on.

After that we ran the ‘Measured Mile’, a 9 mile test section that allows us to check the calibration of our electronic speedometer. We were running early, since the speedo was set for the previous rally in Joplin a few months ago. Others saw the same thing. We made the correction, ran the calibration in reverse, and we had made the correct change. We were now ready to rally.

The rest of the day was spent greeting our friends and catching up. There was drama already! Just getting the cars to the start can be a challenge. Yesterday we were coming out here to attend a reception and came across a team on the side of the road, with a flat tire on their trailer. Turns out this was the SECOND flat on the trailer, with the tires just shredded. We introduced ourselves, and took the spare to the closest tire store, about a half hour away, and got there just before they closed. They got the wheel on and we followed them in to Riverside, just in case. They replaced ALL the tires on the trailer this morning. Adventure before the race even starts!

We heard stories of other tow vehicles breaking down; the Maine Boys had to borrow a 5th wheel truck to get their cars in, as the rear axle of their truck was being repaired. Twice. Many folks from the east coast had their cars shipped out, but reported problems with making flight connections. There are cars that are here but not running well; a Corvette needed a new distributor right there in the parking lot, which of course became a spectator event. It can be stressful until you are finally ready to race.

Open a hood around car guys and a crowd gathers. This big block ’66 Corvette was running badly, needed a new distributor right there in the hotel parking lot.

For those not desperately getting their cars fixed, Great Race had arranged for a really good cover band to play 60’s and ‘70’s rock hits in an outdoor venue in front of the hotel, while providing burgers, dogs, and drinks. Great fun!

This colorful 1930 Riley 14/6 Speed Six had more trouble than just the water leak. The supercharger seems to be pumping oil in to the engine and it’s smoking badly. Preparation is crucial; if you can’t start, you lose your entry fee. It may not make it to the start. once again, a hood up means a crowd.

The weather is surprisingly cool, even chilly! Amazing since it’s not unusual to be in the 90’s this time of year. We’ll take it! Tomorrow we have the mandatory meeting, rally school, and the Trophy Run, a short local rally used both for practice and its own trophies, plus the better Trophy Run scores can be used to break a tie at the finish.

So far, so good!

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