Huntington’s Heritage Station to host stop on 2021 Great Race

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 24, 2021

HUNTINGTON — The region will host a lunch stop on the 2021 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty on Friday in Huntington, race organizers have announced.

The Great Race, the world’s premiere old car rally, will bring 120 of the world’s finest antique automobiles to town for the $150,000 event, with the first car rolling into Heritage Station starting at 11:30 a.m.

An arrival ceremony with color guard and national anthem will take place at 11:25 a.m.

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Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public and spectators will be able to visit with the participants and to look at the cars for several hours. It is common for children to climb in the cars for a first-hand look.

In all, the participants in the event will cover more than 2,300 miles in nine days. The start was in front of the Alamo in San Antonio, on June 19.

The race will finish Sunday in Greenville, S.C. Teams and cars from Japan, England, Germany, Canada and every corner of the United States will be participating in their vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916.

“There are more than 500 people just in our entourage from all around the world taking part in this incredible adventure,” director Jeff Stumb said.
Along the route, competitors will travel through 10 states — Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Great Race, which began 38 years ago, is not a speed race, but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret checkpoints along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.

Cars built in 1974 and earlier are eligible, with most entries having been manufactured before World War II. The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae and it takes its name from the 1965 movie, The Great Race, which starred Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Peter Falk. The movie is a comedy based on the real life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris. The Great Race gained a huge following from late night showings on ESPN when the network was just starting out in the early 1980s.

Locally, the lunch stop is sponsored by Huntington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Huntington Regional Antique Automobile Club of America, Greater Huntington Parks & Recreation District, Shops at Heritage Station and HoneyBaked Ham Barboursville.

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