Great Race Diary - June 18, 2002

June 19, 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:

Tuesday - June 18 - Clovis, N.M. to Rio Rancho, N.M.

This Great Race leg, tackled under soaring temperatures across New Mexico, proved to be a traumatic experience for the Baylor team, Doyle and Scott Rogers.

Their 1947 Ford experienced what is being called vapor lock. Basically, once the car got into the higher elevations, it vaporized the fuel and the engine quit running. As a result, Doyle and Scott were stranded in the desert for about four hours.

When they finally arrived at the finish line in Rio Rancho about 8 p.m. last night--about two hours behind schedule--they received a DNF (did not finish) for yesterday's run. However, each team is allowed two DNFs before they have to leave the race.

The remainder of Tuesday night was spent installing insulation on the fuel lines and the fuel pump to prevent further instances of vapor lock. We were impressed by the willingness of the other Great Race teams and members of the public to help in the project. The Great Race certainly fosters a great spirit of camaraderie among those who compete and those who watch.

Happily, the Baylor car left on time this morning (Wednesday) for the 350-mile leg from Rio Rancho to the Route 66 overnight stop in the city of Williams in neighboring Arizona. Pit stops will be in Gallup, N.M. and Winslow, Ariz.

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