Great Race comes to Craig

Speed-controlled rally to make pit stop

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Today, 120 vintage vehicles begin their two-week trek across the country.

Drivers start in Jacksonville, Fla., and finish in Monterey, Calif. Great Race drivers will stop in Craig for a breakfast pit stop one week from June 29 between 8 and 11 a.m.

The drivers will have spent the night in Steamboat Springs the night before and will be four days from the end of their voyage when they reach the festivities awaiting them in Craig.

The Craig Downtown Business Association, the Chamber of Commerce, service organizations, Colorado Northwestern Community College, businesses and individuals will come together to welcome the parade of antique cars. The day also marks Craig Bike to Work Day. The public is invited to partake in a free pancake breakfast and to walk around to see the cars, said Carol Wilson, owner of Neolithics.

"People will be able to go up close and take pictures. I was told that you can even go up and sit in (the cars). The owners are often the drivers, and they're just as pleased as punch to show off their cars," Wilson said.

Drivers will depart from Steamboat at one-minute intervals and then are required to stay at the Craig pit stop for 30 minutes.

Cars must be at least 45 years old to race in this 22-year old competition, and age plays a role in the final score.

Automobiles manufactured from 1909 through 1959 will compete for $260,000 in cash, according to race materials.

The race is based less on speed and more on precision, similar to the speed-controlled road rallies popular in the 1930s and '40s.

Twenty minutes before teams start each day of the race, they receive detailed instructions on the day's course including every stop, turn and speed change to achieve the "perfect" time.

Drivers are forbidden from taking any electronic devices including calculators and cell phones. Their odometers also are removed or sealed to increase the challenge.

For each second a driver's time varies from the perfect time, another point is added to the final score.

The object is to end the race with the least number of points.

Find more information about the race and view photos of this year's contestants at www.greatrace.com.

To volunteer for the festivities in Craig, call the Craig Chamber of Commerce at 824-5689.

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