The Great Race Comes to South Bend

 South Bend, IN— Over 150 automobiles participating in the Great Race, the world’s premiere vintage car rally, will arrive at the Studebaker National Museum and The History Museum on Wednesday, June 22, where the museums serve as a lunch checkpoint on the 2022 Hemmings Motor News Great Race, presented by Hagerty Drivers Club.  Beginning at 12:30 p.m. with a Studebaker Hawk, announcers will greet every car as it arrives, providing spectators information about the car and the driver/navigator team.

This year’s race begins in Warwick, Rhode Island, on June 18, and ends in Fargo, North Dakota on June 26. The 9-day, 2,300-mile adventure will travel to 19 cities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.

“In the 39-year history of the Great Race, the event has made its way east and west and north and south through 46 of the 48 contiguous United States,” states race director Jeff Stumb. “In 2022, the Great Race will finally be able to add the last two states to its schedule – Rhode Island and North Dakota. We are excited to be coming to South Bend and to visit the awesome Studebaker National Museum and the adjoining History Museum,” Stumb continues. The last time the event stopped in South Bend was 1994.

Teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Germany, Canada and every corner of the United States will converge in Rhode Island in mid-June with vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916. “There are more than 500 people just in our entourage from all around the world,” says Stumb.

Racers will stop in South Bend at the Museum checkpoint and leave in the space of three hours as they journey across the country in a competitive controlled-speed endurance competition for a chance at a $150,000 prize pool.  All cars involved must be 1974 or older. The Great Race, which began 39 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.

Cars start – and hopefully finish – one minute apart if all goes according to plan. The biggest part of the challenge other than staying on time and following the instructions is getting an old car to the finish line each day, organizers say.  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 kids to climb in the cars for a first-hand look. Those who wish to view exhibits in the Studebaker National Museum and The History Museum may purchase a campus ticket for $16/adults, $13/seniors, and $9/youth ages 6-17.

The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae and 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. In 2004, Tony Curtis was the guest of the Great Race and rode in his car from the movie, the Leslie Special.

The event’s main sponsors are Hemmings Motor News, Hagerty Drivers Club and Coker Tire.

For information, call the Studebaker National Museum at (574) 235-9714 or The History Museum at (574) 235-9664 or visit studebakermuseum.org or historymuseumSB.org