Great Race Diary - June 14-17, 2002

June 17, 2002

by Alan Hunt

A Baylor University-sponsored 1947 Ford convertible is among 100 rare antique vehicles competing in The 2002 Great Race, which started June 15 in San Antonio and ends Saturday, June 22, in Anaheim, Calif.

The Great Race is a timed endurance rally-race; a contest about precision driving and navigation, not speed. Aided only by a speedometer, analog clock, pencil and paper (no maps, cell phones or odometers), the competitors must follow written course instructions at exact, predetermined speeds. The winners finish within seconds of the predetermined "perfect time." Drivers and navigators will be competing for a share of the prize purse valued at $250,000.

Michael Black, coordinator of chapter development at the Baylor Alumni Association, is accompanying the Baylor car during the 2,500-mile rally-race and will send regular progress reports to the Baylor Public Relations web site.

Michael Black's Update:

Friday - June 14 - Trophy Run

The Baylor team is inexperienced, but what it lacks in experience, it makes up for in effort and willingness to learn. The Baylor team, which is a father/son team, is made up of Doyle Rogers (alumni by choice, driver) and Scott ('97 grad, navigator). This is their first Great Race to participate in together. Doyle was a participant two years ago when he made the trek from Boston to California in the same 1947 black Ford convertible. I was able to ride with the team for the Trophy Run. This was a chance for me to experience what the navigator's and driver's jobs are. The Trophy Run is basically a warm-up. The Baylor racing team turned in a time of 2 minutes and 4 seconds late.

Saturday - June 15 - Stage #1 - San Antonio to Houston (205 miles)

This day was better for the Baylor team. They turned in a time of 38 seconds off of a perfect time. It turns out that the speedometer was not operating correctly during the trophy run; that was the cause of the bad time. The speedometer was working correctly on Saturday; it was the lack of experience that caused the Baylor team to have a high score. After the first day, Baylor ranked 25th out of 50 teams in the Sportsman's division. The pit stop for Stage #1 was in Schulenburg, Texas. In Schulenburg, the racers were treated like celebrities. They were kept for over an hour as they gave out autographs and interviews with the local news stations. There is a competition between the overnight and lunch pitstops. At the end of the race, the race participants all vote on their favorite stop. The winner will receive a prize that goes towards the city library.

Sunday - June 16 - Stage #2 - Houston - Hillsboro - Fort Worth (275 miles)

The Baylor team is constantly improving upon their score. Doyle and Scott ended the day with a time of 36 seconds off of a perfect time. Had it not been for a missed turn (due to rain and the darkness of early morning), it is quite possible the Baylor team would've finished with a score of 20 seconds off of a perfect time. The primary goal for this young team is to improve every day, and they are definitely doing that. The lunch stop for Stage #2 was in Hillsboro, Texas. There were people of all ages out to enjoy the festivities. At times, people of earlier generations would stop and look at the old automobiles and almost get a nostalgic look on their face. It was as if they had been transported to a different time and place.

Monday - June 17 - Stage #3 - Fort Worth - Eastland - Sweetwater - Littlefield - Clovis (420 miles)

Stage #3 will be the longest leg of the race. The scheduled time of departure is 6:15 a.m (CDT). Show Time in Clovis, N.M., will be 5:30 p.m (MDT).

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