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Published: Friday, 6/20/2003

Vintage vehicles to stop in B.G., Lima

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Vintage-car lovers can see more than 100 automobiles in Bowling Green and Lima, Ohio, tomorrow as the 21st annual Great Race passes through northwest Ohio.

The 102 cars in the race will leave Livonia, Mich., at 8:30 a.m. By 2:45 p.m., the first cars will arrive in Bowling Green for a pit stop at Snook's Dream Cars, 13920 County Home Rd.

They'll finish the day about 5:30 p.m. at the University of Northwestern Ohio, 1441 North Cable Rd., in Lima.

Race organizers try to avoid major highways, like I-75, Jason Thompson of Snook's Dream Cars, said.

The organizers keep the route secret. Each morning, the drivers get directions for that day only.

The organizers also want spectators to be waiting at each day's finish line rather than spread out along the route, said Wayne Stanfield, chief operating officer of Rally Partners, the group organizing the race.

At the Bowling Green pit stop, each car will stay for 30 minutes, Mr. Stanfield said.

“That becomes a car show for about 21/2 hours,” he said.

Snook's Dream Cars hopes the race will attract people to the museum, which has 25 cars from the 1930s through the 1950s, Mr. Thompson said.

After leaving Bowling Green, the racers head for the university in Lima, where they'll stay for about three hours.

At the university, the public can look at the cars, talk with the drivers, and purchase race merchandise from vendors, Stephanie Miracle, of the university's development office, said.

On Sunday morning, the racers leave the Holiday Inn at 1920 Roschman Ave., Lima, at 8:30 a.m., heading to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mr. Stanfield said the inspiration for the race came from the 1965 movie The Great Race. The movie depicted a car race across several continents in the early 20th century.

The cars in this year's race, all at least 45 years old, are owned by private owners.

“They get to meet a bunch of great people and get to show the communities across the county these great cars,” Mr. Stanfield said.

In previous years, anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 people have turned out at the pit stops and overnight stops.

“It's sometimes the biggest event to come to town,” Mr. Stanfield said.

The race includes stops in 15 states before it ends July 5 at Daytona International Speedway in Florida, where Mr. Stanfield expects 200,000 people in the stands. The winner gets $250,000, he said.



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