A Springfield businessman driving a vintage red Ford Roadster will be among 113 racers taking part in the 2015 Hemming’s Motor News Great Race, Presented by Hagerty.
This marks Guy Mace’s tenth year as a Great Race Driver. His son, Colby Mace, will serve as navigator.
The great race begins Saturday in Kirkwood with its first overnight stop in Springfield and finishes in Santa Monica, California, June 28.
The cross-country rally is a timed, controlled-speed endurance competition over scenic public highways and roads where teams will navigate through four to seven timed checkpoints each day. The arrival time at each checkpoint is recorded and compared against the perfectly driven route, with each second off of the perfect time (either early or late) counted as penalty points The winning team is the one with the lowest overall score (the most accurately driven route) at the end of the event.
The total purse for the winner is $150,000 along with bragging rights and trophies for the top finishers in each of five divisions.
The Great Race has been to Springfield several times, but this is the first time it has driven Route 66 and the first time the cars have been parked on St. Louis Street, the original Route 66 in Springfield.
Local cars will start arriving at 3:30 p.m. and the opening ceremonies for the Great Race Stop begin at 4:45 p.m. and will include a performance by the Central High School Kilties, the oldest drum corp in the United States, and a visit from Springfield Cardinals mascot Louie. An added bonus for car show enthusiasts is a cruise-in for local classic cars on the green space next to the Expo Center provided by the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.
The first racer will cross the finish line at 5 p.m. with the other 112 arriving in one-minute intervals and lining up between the Shrine Mosque and the Route 66 Springfield Visitor Center.
Racers this year include eight cars from Japan, one from Berlin, Germany, and one from Manchester, United Kingdom. The other racers are from across the United States.
The Great Race events in Springfield are free and sponsored by local businesses and individuals that know the importance of Springfield as the Birthplace of Route 66 and like classic cars. The Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven Motel, McCoy Auto Group, Brick and Mortar Coffee and Mother Road Motorcycles on St. Louis Street will have places to bring a lawn chair and watch the cars cruise through.
For more information, visit www.greatrace.com or call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767.
The CVB is a nonprofit organization dedicating to boosting the local economy through growth in travel and tourism.