The Hemmings Motor News Great Race, an antique car race which tests man and machine, will roll through Rome Sunday, but spectators have no idea what route the 140 vintage vehicles will take as they pass through town. Neither will the contestants until sometime Sunday.
Wayne Vick, an antique car buff from Armuchee and his navigator, Clayton Vick, a nephew, will not only be participants in the race, but they will also be hosts, of sort, for a pit stop Sunday afternoon at Vick’s warehouse and workshop in Armuchee.
The pit stop is scheduled to occur sometime between 3-4 p.m. in the 6200 block of Martha Berry Highway.
This year the Great Race, along what is being dubbed the “Dixie Highway” route, will roll out of Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday and end in Traverse City, Michigan on July 2. It is a competition based on precision driving and navigational skills. The event is a time and controlled-speed endurance race, not a top-speed first-to-the-finish line event.
“If you finish, you win,” Wayne Vick said. His nephew and navigator Clayton Vick said, “You have to remember that the racers are classic cars, ranging from a 1916 Hudson to a 1972 Mercedes. You have lots of blown engines.”
Occasionally there are mishaps during the race, such as in 2015 when the Vicks entered their first race and barely got past the starting line in Joplin, Missouri on their way to San Francisco.
A motorist not in the race ran a stop sign and collided with their car, knocking them out of the race less than an hour into the event.
“Each day you’re given a set of rules and a route to follow, Wayne said. “You may have 20 speed changes, 40 turns, Heaven only knows. As each leg is completed you’ll pass a checkpoint.”
Clayton said you never know where the next checkpoint is going to be. “It could be 15 seconds into the race, it could be an hour or an hour and a half.”
Last year, the Vicks completed their first Great Race, from San Rafael, California to Moline, Illinois, on the Lincoln Highway. Along the way they picked up four Ace awards for the most accurate drive on specific sections of the route.