The 2023 Great Race Comes to Joplin on June 28

(Joplin, MO) – Joplin will host an overnight stop an overnight stop on the 2023 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Coker Tire on Wednesday, June 28, race organizers have announced. The event is locally sponsored by CFI and Visit Joplin.

The Great Race, the world’s premiere old car rally will bring 127 of the world’s finest antique automobiles to town for the $150,000 event, with the first car rolling onto historic Route 66/Main Street starting at 4:45 p.m. The event will start in St Augustine, Fla., on June 24 and finish in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 2. The nine-day, 2,300-mile adventure will travel to 19 cities in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado.

The Great Race teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Germany, Canada, and every corner of the United States will converge in Florida in mid-June with vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916.

The Great Race began 40 years ago and is not a speed race but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions daily that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret checkpoints along the way and are penalized one second for each second, either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.

Cars start — and hopefully, finish — one minute apart if all goes according to plan. The most significant part of the challenge, other than staying on time and following the instructions, is getting an old car to the finish line each day, organizers say.

Each stop on the Great Race is free to the public, and spectators can visit the participants and look at the cars for several hours. It is common for kids to climb in the cars for a first-hand look.

Cars built in 1974 and earlier are eligible, with most entries having been manufactured before World War II. In the 2022 Great Race, a 1932 Ford won the event from Rhode Island to North Dakota. The 2023 winners will again receive $50,000 of the $150,000 total purse. A 1916 Hudson Pikes Peak Hillclimber, a 1916 Chevrolet, and a 1917 American LaFrance are the oldest cars scheduled for the 2023 Great Race.

The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae, and it takes its name from the 1965 movie, The Great Race, which starred Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood, and Peter Falk. The movie is a comedy based on the real-life 1908 automobile race from New York to Paris. In 2004, Tony Curtis was the guest of The Great Race and rode in his car from the movie The Leslie Special.

The event’s main sponsors are Hemmings Motor News, Hagerty Drivers Club, and Coker Tire. The event is locally sponsored by CFI and Visit Joplin.

Parking Details for Main Street

The Great Racers will park in the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of Main Street.

The events kick off starting at 4:30 on Main Street in downtown Joplin. The first Great Race finishers will complete their day at 6th and Main Street, beginning around 4:45 pm. From the 249 Bypass, the conclusion of their day will bring them westbound on East 7th Street to Main Street. If you cannot be downtown, pick a vantage point along East 7th Street to view the racers as they incrementally enter Joplin from 4:45 pm. to 8:00 pm.


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