Posted on July 1st, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Seven & Eight, Through the Mitten

We’re in the final days of the 2017 Great Race and it feels so good to be in Michigan! We left off approximately 48 hours ago, so there is lots to catch up on, the first being our take-off from Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor. We picked up our instructions and Madison got right to working the charts.

A lot of you have asked what our navigators are working with when it comes to instructions and I can honestly tell you…not much! Here are just 2 / 27 pages from our Stage Seven run on Friday.

Yikes, right! Our student navigators are working hard every day working through their instructions, perform timing calculations, and mark important emergency instructions or notes. And as if that wasn’t hard enough, instruction packets are only given 30 minutes before each vehicle’s official start time every day. They deserve a big round of applause!

As the clock ran down and it was time to get on the road, we piloted the Packard out onto US-23 and were met with heavy traffic in the heart of rush hour. We peeled off the highway and went through some difficult check point runs – some taking us in loops and to the … Read More


Posted on June 29th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Six, A Gilmore Homecoming and onto Ypsilanti

Tonight, Team #GilmoreGreatRace would like to thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful homecoming this afternoon. We were all so humbled by your support, your warm welcome, and for sharing our passion in the heritage of the automobile. We are proud to be representatives of the Gilmore Car Museum and we could not have been more proud to welcome the competitors of the 2017 Great Race to our home. 

The mid-day ceremonies kicked off with announcers Great Race Mike Goodman and Corkie Coker getting everyone fired up for the racers. Barb Follis sung a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, our very own Delton-Kellogg Marching Band entertained the crowd, our Museum Chairman, Bill Parfet, welcomed everyone to North America’s Largest Auto Museum, and Mrs. Dinger, the donor of the 1935 Packard that carried the team home, visited with the team and local news crews.

The Great Race cars started arriving shortly after 12:30pm and among the first to arrive was Team #GilmoreGreatRace with Delton native Gavin O’Dell navigating and Brad Wire of Shelbyville driving. What an amazing experience to see the car enter the campus to the cheers of the crowd! It was a very emotional moment … Read More


Posted on June 28th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Five, Franklin to Auburn

We left off last night with the team working feverishly on the Packard, trying to figure out what was wrong with the acceleration and timing. After combing the car, it seemed that the distributor – the device in the engine that passes an electric current to each spark plug – had shifted due to a loose bolt and lost connection, which was in turn effecting the timing, causing poor acceleration. They also identified that a bolt that holds the alternator bracket was missing and needed to be replaced.

Shortly after midnight, two members of the Great Race crew came over to lend a hand with the car, which was amazing. Seamus and “Magic Dave” worked with the team to walk through the issues with the car, and helped us install our replacement distributor and retime the car. While it was a very late night, without the help of Magic Dave, Seamus, and other Great Race teams, we’d still be in the parking lot in Indianapolis. It’s true what people say about the spirit of the event — while we are all competitors, we are also family. 

With Navigator Coleman and Driver Bob safely on the road this morning, the rest … Read More


Posted on June 27th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Four, Bowling Green to Franklin

Last night as I was writing our daily blog post in Bowling Green, Team #GilmoreGreatRace was outside with the Packard doing our nightly check up and maintenance routine. Shortly after posting, the team identified a problem with the car…one that would lead to a late night. 

As the team went over the engine area, they noticed some discoloration around a head stud. They examined the nut and ’round and around it spun. When they removed the stud, they noticed the lower threads were culprit and not gripping properly. No good. Unfortunately, we were running without a torque wrench so the team resorted to sourcing solutions around the lot and by calling local mechanics. Finally, it was Team Hagerty to the rescue! They were able to share extra washers, liquid gasket compound, and some cleaning compound. Our team used the materials from our friends at Hagerty to seat the stub and stem the leak. It was a “quick fix” and we weren’t confident that it would hold. But, we had to try.
 
After a late night, the day started early with the Packard #62 across the start line at 8:02am Central Time. Navigator Jacob Onderline (age 17, a home school … Read More

Posted on June 26th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Three, Chattanooga to Bowling Green

It was a busy day for Team #GilmoreGreatRace! We started the day in Chattanooga, Tennessee as car #116 to leave from the Stage Three start line.

As Navigator Jakob Taylor (2016 graduate, Otsego High School) and Driver Brad Wire prepared for today’s leg of the Great Race, the support team headed into downtown Chattanooga to take advantage of a bit of free time.

We hopped on one of the famous “Chattanooga Ducks,” a fleet of WWII era land and sea vehicles. In total, over 20,000 Ducks were made between 1942 and 1945, some of which were used in the D-Day storming of Normandy Beach. The term DUKW is not an acronym, but rather the original GMC nomenclature designating the company’s manufacturing code for the military wheeled amphibious landing-craft with D standing for 1942, U for utility (amphibious), K for all-wheel drive, and W for 2 powered rear axles.

Our Duck – fondly named “Daffy” by our Captain, Bill – was built in 1944 by GMC in Pontiac, Michigan. In total, a Duck weighs approximately 6.5 tons and travels at a top land speed of 45 mph and a top water speed of 4 mph. Today, there is only an estimated … Read More


Posted on June 26th, 2017

#GilmoreCarMuseum: Stage Two, Tifton to Chattanooga

The first FULL day of 2017 Great Race dawned cooler and hazy in Tifton, GA. Whereas the day before starting in Jacksonville brought temps well into the 90s throughout the day, we were greeted by mid-80s and even cooler weather the further north into Georgia and Tennessee we traveled. 

Some quick modifications were performed on the Packard last night, included re-adjusting the connectors for the brake lights (still giving us trouble) and removing the side panels of the bonnet to prepare for today’s run. Why? Well, in meeting some of our competitors and long-time rally runners, we were highly advised to allow as much air flow to the engine as possible to prevent overheating while travelling the uphill ascent to Chattanooga, as the car already was running very hot both during the Trophy Run on Friday and the Stage One run from Jacksonville.

That is one thing that this race has, its the spirit of the competition. While we are all in it to win it (some a prized purse, others for scholarship), everyone has been so friendly and helpful to our rookie x-cup team. We’ve already made some great friends along the way. 

Early this morning Navigator Gavin (Gilmore … Read More


Posted on June 25th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: 3, 2, 1, GO!

It’s the moment the team has been training months for…crossing the official start line in Jacksonville, Florida. We started the day early — last minute checks on oil, fuel, tool kit and then it was off to the line up on Main Street. Our start position was number 106 out of 121, so we pulled in our spot on the last block and began the long wait to the start line. To keep the cars in order and to start the time tracking system, cars are released at start lines one minute apart — 121 cars means over two hours of cars leaving the line!

To start the race, we had Navigator Madison and Driver Mike piloting the Packard from Jacksonville, Florida to Tifton, Georgia, a 135 mile journey.

The Packard attracted a lot of attention at line up – the smooth lines, sharp colors and paint job (thanks to Dick Brown, Museum Operations Staff Member!), and overall stunning presence was hard to pass up for many spectators. As we were prepping for the official start, two great things happened.

1)Driver Mike found a lucky penny on the street – heads up!

2)And we were sought out by the Florida … Read More


Posted on June 24th, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Pre-Race Jitters

Whew! Day 2 in Jacksonville was a blur! Friday (6/23) morning started off with an early 7:30am all-teams meeting.

The Great Race coordinators welcomed the race teams, introduced sponsors, and highlighted the different race divisions*:

Grand Championship

This division of the Great Race features only competitors who have won the event in previous years. If any member of the team has won the Great Race, then that team will be entered into the Grand Champion class. It is the top of the food chain, in terms of the big names in rallying. Generally, most Grand Champions have been a part of the Great Race family since the early days, so these are truly the veterans of the event.


Expert

There’s no question that the Expert division is also packed with Great Race veterans who have proven their skills time and again. Racers designated to run in the Expert class have to comply with a set of rules that are based on the finishes of previous years. Essentially, racers who generally finish well, but have never been Grand Champions are placed in the Expert rank. This is one of the most competitive classes in the Great Race.


Sportsman

The Sportsman division … Read More


Posted on June 22nd, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Journey to Jacksonville

With an incredible day at Disney World behind us, we got up bright and early to head north to Jacksonville to meet up with our Packard and officially check in for the race. Along the way, we drove up Highway 1 and stopped at Daytona Beach to visit the ocean! We found neat little shells, and even a few tiny jelly fish that washed up in the tide.

We arrived in Jacksonville shortly after 1pm and met up with James, a member of the Museum’s Operations team, who trailered the team’s Packard all the way from Michigan to Florida. We got the car and van repacked and drove over to the Great Race host hotel, just a short distance from the support field where our team’s technical inspection would be held later in the day. After a quick lunch and checking into our hotel rooms for the next couple of nights, we headed back down to the support field to meet with Jeff Mehl (X-Cup division coordinator) and the other X-Cup division teams.

Throughout the history of the Great Race, it has been a priority to encourage youth to participate, be it as a participant or part of the staff. … Read More


Posted on June 21st, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Departure and Disney!

Coming at you live from bright, sunny Florida!

Yesterday (Tuesday, 6/20), the Gilmore Garage Works Great Race team made our way from Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Sanford-Orlando Airport in Florida!

We had a great flight and it was two of our team members first time on a plane. We landed at 10pm to 84-degree weather, picked up our team rental van, and headed for the hotel…at Disney World!

Thanks to a very generous donation, we kicked off our Great Race adventure at the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World. Museum Founder Donald Gilmore and Walt Disney were close friends and Disney visited the Gilmore’s collection in the 1960s. Walt went on to gift the 1930 Rolls-Royce and over-sized movie prop set used in the making of the Disney Classic, “The Gnome-Mobile,” to the Gilmore collection and those pieces are still on display at the Museum today.

We arrived at the All-Star Sports Resort shortly after 11pm and checked into our rooms, anxious to go to bed and sleep quick! Disney was waiting.

This morning (Wednesday, 6/21) the team caught a bus from our hotel resort to Magic Kingdom for some classic Disney fun. … Read More