Stage 2 - Greenville, SC to Knoxville, TN

Knoxville, TN, June 18, 2001
The trailer is fixed!  Bob and Jerry arrived back at the hotel at 2:00 AM.  I got up with Jerry in the morning and we got the old bearing off the spindle, he was able to find replacement bearings and we were back in business.  Thanks, Jerry, for your patience and skill!

This was the day to test drivers and cars!  We left Greenville and did our tire warm up and speedometer calibration on Interstate 26 heading toward Asheville.  The scenery was spectacular as we headed into the foothills of the Appalachians, but the long hills gave us a hint of what was to come, on several of these, we could only maintain about 45 miles per hour.  I’m sure we endeared ourselves to some of the truckers trying to avoid us.  We enjoyed a brief coffee break in Henderson, NC, a charming and gracious place with lots of old car enthusiasts to greet us.  A little after noon, we left town and went into the first timed portion of the rally for today.  It was a beautiful stage, largely on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we were 17 seconds early.  I take full responsibility, since this entire day was largely a test of maintaining precise low speeds (sometimes 10, 12, or 15 miles per hour) over very curvy, hilly roads.  Quite frankly, I don’t know how the experts and pro’s get their one- and two-second scores on days like this.  They must have extremely precise throttle control and lots of reserve horsepower.

We had a barbecue lunch in Asheville, after which we headed west on I-240 to somewhere near Weaverville.  This became the stage to test both Winston and me to the extreme!  For a little more than an hour, we ascended some road that crossed Pisgah Mountain.  It must be in the Himalayas!  We climbed and climbed, trying to maintain prescribed speeds and stay somewhere between the ditches.  Several cars overheated and pulled off on this segment, but Winston’s water temperature never exceeded 180.  The scenery, when I got a chance to see it was absolutely gorgeous.  We comleted this leg with a 19 second (early) score over an elapsed time of 1 hour and 12 minutes.  The third stage was quite short, but included three traffic lights.  We drove faster than prescribed to “bank” some time, but then hit all three green lights.  We then pulled off the road and paused long enough to kill the seconds we had banked.  Not two miles past that point was a check point, and we arrived one second early.  The last leg was another up and down test of driving skill and speed control -–maintain 12 MPH for four minutes and 3 seconds, change to 10 MPH for seven minutes and 34 seconds, etc.  I must have been too eager to complete the day, as we arrived at the final checkpoint one minute and 42 seconds early!   Our adjusted score, based on Winston’s age factor, was 1:59.  The only thing that made our score less painful was that there were many high scores.  Five cars had to be hauled in.

The last timed portion ended near the town of Hot Springs, the place where Margo and I were married.  I went to a gas station and asked how to get to the Chapel of the Redeemer, and it was on our route out of town.  I simply had to take this picture. 

After a brief transit to Newport, TN for a very hospitable afternoon break, and a very WELCOME cold drink, we drove into Knoxville.  We had a pleasant surprise when Margo’s and my former pastor, Tom Field, and another good friend, Father Steve LaPrad, of Lenoir City were here to greet us.  Neither Tom nor Steve had seen the car before.

The crowds were great, although it was hot.  At about 10:00 PM, we finally got to dinner, and then to some well earned rest.  Tomorrow, Bob King heads back to Alexandria, VA, and Harry takes over the Navigator’s seat.  Thanks to Bob for two great days of rallying and Godspeed…  On to Lexington!
Father Steve And Father Tom ===>

The Great Race Press Release for that Day:


Heats Up As Racers Roar Thru the Smokeys

Knoxville, TN – June 18, 2001 – After a blistering hot Father’s Day start in Atlanta, stage two brought cooler temperatures in a three-state run through the Blue Ridge, Smokey and Appalachian Mountains of South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee for The History Channel Great Racers. Enthusiastic crowds greeted 106 vintage machines in Asheville’s historic Pack Square at a noon lunch stop before the resolute drivers headed off over the mountains to a jam-packed welcome celebration on Gay Street in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Wayne Stanfield of Anaheim, CA, and Andy Massimilla of Stratham, NH, in the Roush Racing 1934 Ford Indy Racer, nailed Pro Division with a near perfect score of ".03" seconds, perfect score being ".00." Dick Burdick, of San Marcos, TX, and Wayne Bell of Winter Springs, FL, in the Thermon Special were second with a ".05" followed by Rex Gardner of Stillwell, KS, and Gary Kuck, of Lincoln, NB, in the Carquest 1916 Hudson Indy car with a ".10."

Ten extremely motivated high school teams from around the country are competing in the X-Cup Division for a share of $25,000 in scholarships. The ten teams are: Ponca City High School of Oklahoma; Fillmore High School from California; Forsyth Central High School from Cummings, GA; San Marcos High School in Texas; LD. Bell High School in Hurst, TX; Bedford High School of Iowa; the Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew #188 from Galaxy, VA; BSA Explorer Post #42 from Glendale High School in California; Sidney High School in Ohio; and Atascadero High School in California. Leading the X-Cuppers on day two was car 102 from Fillmore High with a fantastic score of ".14."

Traveling 4,000 miles in 14 days, The History Channel Great Racers will journey through 13 states and visit 44 cities before roaring across the finish line in Pasadena, California on June 30. Racers compete for a share of the $275,000 prize purse, but the real prize is discovering the heartland of America and it’s incredible hospitality for adventurers in vintage cars. Every racer experiences genuine celebrity throughout the two-week trek.