Race brings Milem to Gateway

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 30, 2006

“Go west young man,” it was once said.

A Lawrence County man is taking that advice this week and next as he continues on his cross-country trek in the Great American Road Race.

Dave Milem, of Burlington, and three friends made an overnight in St. Louis, Mo., Wednesday evening after journeying through Indiana and Illinois earlier in the day.

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“We had great time today with our score,” he said. “The car ran well. Everything is just great, you know.”

The 100 teams in the antique car race made pit stops in Greencastle Ind., Marshall Ill., and Vandalia, Ill., before making an overnight stop in the Gateway to the West. The stop in Vandalia was one of Milem’s favorites.

“That was where Abe Lincoln started his political career and it was the first state capital for Illinois like Chillicothe was for Ohio, you know.

“It was a nice town, nice old buildings. We got to see the opera house the historical society is restoring,” he said.

“When we got to St. Louis, they had a team assigned to each car and as soon as we came in, they rounded all four of us up and took us to dinner. They gave all four of us nice jackets and had some really nice gifts for the drivers.”

The contestants were also treated to a tour of an automobile museum late Wednesday evening.

Along with Milem, fellow Lawrence Countian Buddy Pitzenbarger and two friends from Owensboro, Ky., are making the trip, Jim and Ben Warren. In addition to the 1920 Ford Speedster, the Lawrence County team is also taking a 22-foot trailer pulled by a truck. The trailer carries spare parts and will be used to haul the antique car home once the race is completed.

“It’s a tough race,” Milem said. “But everything is going well. Some of the cars have broken axels or thrown roads but we haven’t had any problems.”

The team left St. Louis for Springfield, Mo. Thursday. After an overnight stop in Springfield Thursday evening, the contestants headed for Wichita, Kan., this morning.