Plans are being finalized for the Great Race 2013 which will make a pit stop for lunch in Downtown Washington next week.
Washington Tourism Director Mary Beth Rettke said John Glassen, director of competition for the national event, recently made another visit here to work out logistics for the Tuesday, June 25, stop here.
A slight change also has been made on how the cars will travel into town.
“The cars will now come down Third Street and turn right on Locust Street,” she said. “They will take Locust to Main and proceed west on Main. The announcers area will still be at Main and Jefferson streets.”
Rettke said the first car should arrive at approximately 11:30 a.m.
The drivers will park their cars along Main Street for the public to view, she said, while they enjoy lunch under the Farmers’ Market at Main and Cedar streets.
“Each car will be here at least an hour on Main Street for viewing by the public,” Rettke said.
“Main Street will be closed from Jefferson to Cedar so residents can walk down the street and check out the cars and meet the drivers,” she said. “Right now they have about 96 cars in the race.”
Rettke said Glassen has enlisted the help of local car enthusiasts to promote the race and assist during the Washington stop.
The Great Race 2013 is an antique, vintage and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways.
The race, set for June 22-30, will take participants through 10 states in nine days for a total of 2,100 miles.
Rettke said race participants will stop in Washington for lunch June 25, before continuing on to Cape Girardeau for an overnight stop.
The cars will come in one-minute intervals, she said. The drivers will park on the north side on Main, at an angle, and then walk down to the market for lunch. As drivers finish eating, they will head back to their cars, be available to answer questions from visitors and then will leave to make room for the other cars.
Rettke said a pre-arrival ceremony is planned and an archway will be set up at Jefferson and Main, in front of the H&R Block office, to welcome the drivers.
Rettke said race officials expect several thousand people to turn out to view the cars.
“We invite everyone to come downtown for this free event. It’s during the lunch hour so we hope business-people will spend their lunchtime here and kids will be out of school so it’s a great event for families too,” she said.
The cars participating will be from the early 1900s to 1968.
The Great Race is not a test of top speed. It is a test of a driver/navigator team’s ability to follow precise course instructions and the cars and team’s ability to endure on a cross-country trip. The course instructions require the competing teams to drive at or below the posted speed limits at all times.
Each day the driver and navigator team receives a set of course instructions that indicate every turn, speed change, stop, and start that the team must make throughout the day — usually 220 to 250 such instructions per day.
Along the course route there will be from four to seven checkpoints recording the exact time that the team passes that point. The objective is to arrive at each checkpoint at the correct time, not the fastest.
The race will begin June 22, in St. Paul, Minn., and the finish line is in Mobile, Ala.