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Start your engines: 2,300-mile antique car race set to roll into Fargo

The Great Race is an old car rally presented by Hagerty Drivers Club. It has a history of 39 years, and so far has made its way through 46 of the 48 contiguous United States, according to race director Jeff Stumb.

1909 Buick racer attacks the California hills.jpg
1909 Buick racer motors through the California hills.
Special to The Forum
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FARGO — The Hemmings Motor News Great Race will end this year in front of the Fargo Theatre on June 26.

The race will begin in Warwick, Rhode Island, on June 18, and "120 of the world's finest antique automobiles" will begin rolling onto Broadway in downtown Fargo at about 1 p.m., according to a news release from the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Great Race is an old car rally presented by Hagerty Drivers Club. It has a history of 39 years, and so far has made its way through 46 of the 48 contiguous United States, race director Jeff Stumb said in the news release.

"In 2022, the Great Race will finally be able to add the last two states to its schedule, Rhode Island and North Dakota," Stumb said.

The nine-day, 2,300-mile route will travel to 19 cities in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota.


"We are also excited to have the finish in downtown Fargo, one of the most exciting cities in America. Fargo's downtown, which has hosted crowds of tens of thousands of people twice for College GameDay, is fantastic," Stumb said.

Teams and cars from Japan, England, Australia, Germany, Canada and U.S. will head to Rhode Island in mid-June with vintage automobiles dating back to 1916.

The Great Race is not a speed race, but a time, speed and distance rally. Each vehicle will have a driver and a navigator who are given precise instructions every day.

Teams are scored at secret checkpoints along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late.

Like golf, the lowest score wins.

A 1941 Cadillac pulls through the crowd in Fairport, NY.jpg
A 1941 Cadillac pulls through a crowd in Fairport, New York.
Special to The Forum

Cars built in 1974 and earlier are eligible, but most of the entries are vehicles built before World War II. The race has a total prize purse of $150,000.

"When the Great Race pulls into a city it becomes an instant festival," Stumb said. "Last year we had several overnight stops with more than 10,000 spectators on our way to having 250,000 people see the Great Race during the event."

The event was started in 1983 by Tom McRae, and it takes its name from the movie, "The Great Race," starring 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.

C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
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