Stage 1, Tacoma WA to Kennewick, WA

The whole crew at the starting line – Mead, Marvik, Mead, King, and Gregg

Sunday, May 31 -- Stage 1, Tacoma WA to Kennewick, WA  (260 miles)
The Big Day arrived!  It was one of those rare days in the Puget Sound area:  brilliant sunshine and warm – a perfect day for the beginning of a perfect race.  By 10 AM, all racers were staged at the Union Station in downtown Tacoma for a couple hours of showing off for the large crowds.
 Then at 12 noon the formal festivities and pageantry began, culminating with the send off of nearly 100 race cars at 30-second intervals to the rousing cheers of thousands of spectators.  The Bobcats entry was allotted slot number 36 for the first day and rolled out precisely on time. 

The Bobcats Approach the Starting Line in Downtown Tacoma -- The Moment of Truth!!

Winston ran the entire stage without a single hiccup or groan.  He even pulled all the way up and over Snoqualmish Pass in high gear.  So how did we make out?   Score – 27 seconds.  Good enough for FIRST place in Rookie Class and Third place in the Sportsman Division.  The Bobcats registered the only Ace in the Rookie Class.   My navigator suggested we needed to lighten up a little to give the other teams a chance.

The Great Race Newsletter published that day:


Welcome to The History Channel Great Race! On behalf of The History Channel, MBNA America, Roush Racing, Qualcomm, Chevy Trucks and the Great Race staff, I want to thank you for being part of our sixteenth annual event.

At the beginning, in 1983, few had an idea that sixteen years later the Great Race concept would be bigger and better than ever. And the principle reason for that growth is, of course, your participation. You bring color and character to cities and towns across the country. And in bringing your unique combination of history and tenacity to them, you, in return, receive the modern-day equivalent of a hero’s adulation. Towns and cities along the route will bask in your reflected glory, while you enjoy the pageantry of a Great Race entrance three to four times a day.

Having just completed a pre-event media tour, I promise you that our host venues are ready and waiting. From Tacoma to Haverhill the levels of anticipation and enthusiasm have rarely been higher. Each day’s event planners are running on all cylinders.

As life becomes increasingly complex, more people look for a connection to a simpler time. With old-fashioned cars and values, we remind people of their past; with new entries, new venues, and fresh faces in X-Cup, we signal a brighter future.

You are now off the porch, and about to run with the big dogs! Ladies and Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES! 


The History Channel staff, headed by executive vice-president and general manager Dan Davids, landed in Tacoma today in anticipation of tomorrow’s start. To everyone that sees their logo, The History Channel is recognized as a quality stop in a largely vacuous TV landscape. Mr. Davids provided the following comments:

"Obviously, to say we’re excited about The History Channel’s association with the Great Race is an understatement. Our ties to the history of automobiles is inherent to our programming. When we launched our channel in early 1995 we premiered our Automobiles series, featuring the development of the ‘53 Corvette. Designed to fulfill the desires of World War II veterans remembering their exposure to European sports cars, the Corvette represents not only automotive history, but also a social narrative."

"Our sponsorship objective is simple: increase overall awareness of the network and its products, i.e., Automobiles, Dream Machines, etc.. Additionally, we see it as a great opportunity to make history come alive."


With four one-second legs, five year veterans G.R. Pike and Bobby Hadskey turned in a ten second score to win the Championship Division in today’s 176-mile Trophy Run. Beginning in Fife, with a lunch stop at Mt. Rainier, the Hudson-mounted duo didn’t allow Washington State’s spectacular scenery to distract them from their mission.


The father/daughter team of Wayne and Lee Ann Young nailed an ace and three one-second legs to finish but three seconds behind Pike and Hadskey. Third place in the Championship Division was taken by Bill Monaghan and Tom Kucera, just one second behind Young/Young.

Bob Harris/Bob Dinges won the Sportsman Division with a :36, followed by Tim McDonald in the Focus on the Family Cadillac. Smyrichinsky/Pfeifer (every editor’s nightmare) were two seconds behind for third.

Hollansworth/Baltzel finished second (behind Pike/Hadskey) in World Cars, with Gardner/Kuck (an editor’s dream team) with a :32.

Top rookies were Josler/Rinkel with a 1:04, followed by Mead/King with a 1:08 and McCoshum/Shunn with a 1:24.


Astronaut High #1, the original X-Cup car, won the Division with a :48. Ponca City High was second with a 1:43, and Astronaut High #2 third with a 1:52.


For those with travel changes or lodging emergencies, Greatrace travel agent Terri Stanfield (World Travel) can be reached during evening hours on her cell phone at 817-578-0990. During the day leave a message at 1-800-229-1112. If no answer, dial BR-549.


Great Race chaplain Wayne Hoag will conduct chapel service at 8:00 a.m. Sunday in the Marine Room of the Best Western Executive Inn. All entrants, support crews, and event staff members are invited.


Michele James, known previously for her pedal-powered trip across the U.S., now has a transcontinental push in her fitness forecast. The 1929 DeSoto of Michele and husband Les has spun a bearing, with a replacement set a full day away. A set is being recast and flown in to SeaTac, but for tomorrow’s start the James gang is turning to an alternative plan.

The plan: Michele, Les, and numerous friends intend to push the DeSoto across the start, take a D.N.F., and handle repairs in Kennewick. Good luck, and good pushing!

Two others took a D.N.F. on Saturday, but the haul trucks came in empty. "The only thing I picked up was a gas cap," said driver Rudy Pirovitz.

Ponca City instructor J.D. Hanks, whose team Suburban’s engine burnt up in Hebron, Nebraska, received a helping hand from the owners of a brand-new GMC Yukon, donated for the duration of the Race. According to Mr. Hanks, and probably echoed by Mr. and Mrs. James, ‘if you don’t have friends, you can’t do this race.’

Our thanks to the following: Jami Balls, Leah Baum, Martha Gibson, Bruce Grant, Bill Preston, and Ron Cutliff (for our trailer).

 Continue to ===> Stage 2, Kennewick, WA to Boise, ID