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July 3, 2017

#GilmoreGreatRace: Stage Nine, The Finish Line

After a chilly night in norther Michigan (46 degrees in July, who would have thought) the team was up extra early. The excitement of crossing the finish line that afternoon - and heading home to our families that night - had everyone anxious and excited. We said goodbye to our final hotel of the trip (this made #9) and headed back down to the Mighty Mac. It seemed only appropriate for father and son duo Mike and Jake Onderline to pilot the Packard across the finish line, so as the rest of the team piled in the support van, Mike and Jake headed out to the starting point. And finally, HELLO TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN! We helped set up the finish line gear one last time and set out to wait for the cars to arrive. And, in true Michigan fashion, the weather can decide whether it wants to be sunny or rain. Before we knew it, cars were coming in across the finish line, greeted by the cheers of thousands of spectators. And right on time, Team #GilmoreGreatRace and our 1935 Packard came humming across the line... As Corky Coker said to us at the finish line, "To finish is to win!" Team #GilmoreGreatRace finished 98 over all and 5th in the X-Cup Division. We faced many mechanical challenges but had the experience of a lifetime! It is because of our families, supporters, donors, and the friendly, smiling faces along the way that we pushed ourselves harder than any of us thought possible. In addition to the challenges we overcame as a team thanks to your support, two of our team members - Madison and Coleman - each received $1,400 in scholarship money towards furthering their education in an automotive-related field. The 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty overall winners Jody Knowles and Beth Knowles-Gentry collected a cool $50,000 plus a pair of eagle trophies (one for Overall and a smaller one for the Expert Division). Their 1932 Ford Cabriolet, nicknamed “Pop’s Passion,” was the only team to finish the race less than 1 minute off a perfect time with a raw score of 55 seconds and an adjusted score (based on age of the car) of 44.55 seconds. In a absolutely stunning and unprecedented finish, our X-Cup competitors from Galax, Virginia, took the X-Cup trophy, with driver/mentor Tom Littrell driving and their students navigating their 1928 Model A Roadster to an adjusted time of 4 minutes and 34.56 seconds off the official race time. That time was also good for 44th overall out of 121 cars that started the race. Needless to say, to place in the top 50 of the entire Great Race is...well...there's just no other way to say it...insane! Our many congratulations go to this amazing and inspirational team! Preparations have already begun for next year’s race which will travel from Buffalo, New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from June 23 to July 1st, 2018. The course will again cover 2,300 miles over nine days. Typically, the Great Race takes about 18 months to organize from start to finish. While Team #GilmoreGreatRace not be participating in this international journey, we will be rooting for the many friends we made along the long, hard road from Jacksonville to Traverse City. The journey is the experience of a lifetime, and one that our team will never forget. Until we meet on the road again, Team #GilmoreGreatRace