Sunday June 30th was the day both Spirit of Stahls’ teams crossed the finish line of the Great Race 2013 in Mobile, Alabama. Along with another 91 or so cars that started the final leg Sunday morning and went the distance! (Originally there were 100 cars in the race but some have dropped out for different reasons along the way) Congratulations to all the Great Racers who made it, and an extra hearty congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Grand Champions of The Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty, Barry and Irene Jason! This is the second year in a row that Barry and Irene have won, driving a 1935 Ford Coupe. And also a big hand to our sons Brett and Dan
who managed to come in 7th in the Rookie Class! (we believe out of 31 rookie entrants, not bad, not bad! ) Way to go boys, it was quite a good time along the route with you. We’re very proud of you! Mary and I are also happy to report we finished in 37th place out of 91 cars in our 1934 Ford Phaeton. For those of you just joining in, we all started the Great Race 2013 on June 22 in St. Paul, Minnesota. We drove along the Mississippi River through 10 states, crossing “Ole Man River” about a dozen times along the way. The other overnight stops along the route were in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Davenport, Iowa, Hannibal, Missouri, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Covington, Louisiana and then one last night in Mobile. If this is the first time you’re reading this blog, the Great Race is a time, speed and endurance rally, only open to cars built before 1969. Each car has a driver and navigator, and are given precise instructions that are detailed down to the second. Teams are scored at check points along the way and penalized for each second they are either early or late. Each leg of the race is an opportunity to improve your score and Barry and Irene did the best overall, with the least number of penalty seconds. It takes a lot of skill and hard work to win this type of rally and they more than earned this honor, again. Next year the route will go from Maine to Florida and we can’t wait to see what the amazing producers of the Great Race have planned for next year. Many, many thanks to everyone behind the scenes at the Great Race, especially Corky Coker, President of Coker Tire Company and emcee extraordinaire, and Jeff Stumb, the visionary Director of the Great Race. Once again, you have exceeded our expectations in every way, and we can’t wait until next year to see everyone again. It will take us a few days to decompress from all the excitement and energy we experienced during the race, welcomed by thousands of classic car enthusiasts along the route. Mary, Brett, Dan and I also want to say thank you once again to all the family members back home that supported us, thank you to all the donors who generously supported our teams in the Great Race Against Autism and all the people behind the scenes at GroupeSTAHL companies around the world who have been following and sending well-wishes. We couldn’t have done it without all of you. We are thrilled that more people were involved in Great Race activities this year, thanks to all of you who entered the Ultimate Ride Along contest. We truly enjoyed meeting all the winners and wish you all the best of luck in your various businesses. We hope you found some inspiration along the route! Tomorrow we are heading back to Michigan, where there won’t be anyone asking for autographs, but we will have lots of stories and good memories to keep us company until we meet again. Or as we like to say in the Stahl family, Talawego.