OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Officials say one of the country’s most famous car races is making an overnight stop in Owensboro on June 24.
The Great Race, the world’s premiere old car rally, will bring 120 of the world’s finest antique automobiles to town for the event, with the first car rolling into downtown starting at 5 p.m.
In all, the participants in the event will cover more than 2,300 miles in nine days. The start will be in front of the Alamo in San Antonio, on June 20. The race will finish June 28 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.
“These racers are coming from all over the world to experience our city. It’s an enormous opportunity that has already sold out our downtown hotel properties and created overflow into other hotels with just the people participating the in race and officials putting it on,” said Dave Kirk, Destination Management Visit Owensboro.
“When the Great Race pulls into a city it becomes an instant festival. Last year we had a couple of overnight stops with more than 10,000 spectators on our way to having 250,000 people see the Great Race during the event,” said Jeff Stumb, Great Race Organizer.
To make the event possible, several partners have come on board including the City of Owensboro, Daviess County Fiscal Court, Don Moore Automotive and the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
“We are excited to partner with Visit Owensboro for this unique event. The riverfront will have an energetic atmosphere not only for the racers but for the entire community to come downtown for the evening to check out these incredible cars while enjoying some live music and great food and drinks,” Tim Ross, Public Events Director City of Owensboro.
“Not only will this event be a great opportunity for our residents to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime car spectacle, it also will have a nice economic impact for our county with the racers and car enthusiasts staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants and spending money in our stores,” said Al Mattingly, Judge Executive Daviess County.
“We’ve been in the car business for over 100 years so we couldn’t be more excited to be the official automobile sponsor to welcome some of the rarest cars in the world to our city,” John Moore, President Don Moore Automotive.
“It’s a busy week for us with ROMP but we are happy to share our property with The Great Race as the Road to ROMP,” said Chris Joslin, Executive Director Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
The Great Race, which began 37 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 check points along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.