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Great Race with 5563


buick5563
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I have been meaning to start a thread on my Great Race experience, but I have been busy getting my hands dirty. The official start is tomorrow in St. Paul Mn. The race this year winds it's way down the Mississippi and ends in Alabama.

The team I am supporting is the #99 1931 Buick Racer. As some of you know, Pat and Pat Brothers are the owners of this car and found me here on the Forum. While my expertise is definitely in Mid-50's to Mid-60's Buicks I have gained a new respect for the Pre-War heavy hitters. This car is all 31 including mechanical brakes!

Pat took me for a ride last night, and even after the short ride, it was hard to wipe the smile from my face.

The first night, I helped Hal from Honest Charley's Garage reinstall a fixed gas tank on the Lesley Special driven by Tony Curtis in "The Great Race" movie.

Yesterday I helped install the sponsor stickers on all of the cars. Note, if you are a jerk and you tell me not to scratch your $10k paint job. I will tell you you got ripped off by a blind painter. Just sayin...

Met Wayne Carini last night (Velocity TV's "Chasing Classic Cars). Also had Corky Coker come up to me completely un-introduced and said he knew I was trouble. (Thanks Uncle Bob).

There are a few other Buicks running the race. Forgive me, I can only get within a year or two in my year guessing.

Here are a few pictures:

Racer:

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1931 Racer's Straight Eight:

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38 (?) (edit: it's a 1936)

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47 Super (I think). Was running a 350. (Edit: 1948)

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Rarely see a 54 Skylark parked in the mud. This was at the MSRA event where the Rally Pre-Race was held.

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Edited by buick5563
Straightened out the years (see edit history)
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Holy crap! (Note the time I am posting)

Last night, I was awakened by thunder. Giant thunderstorm. Ok. Fine. Whoa. You do realize that even a car cover Barney sold ( :) ) wouldn't have kept the rain out of an open car. The highly calibrated speedometer was in the trunk. The trunk leaks! This morning, the speedo didn't work at all. Today was the "Trophy Run" . Basically a practice. A San Diego team has already dropped out, so we borrowed (stole) their speedometer. Yay!

Tonight after dinner, more storms rolled in. HEAVY STORMS. I drove my wife's Civic up here, so I'd have decent gas mileage, so I drove it today instead of the truck / trailer combo. Bad idea. I had to drive back almost a half-hour to the hotel and return with the trailer to pick up the topless race car. I couldn't get back on the State Fair infield since there were power lines and trees down. Shucks!!! (or something like that was what I told the ten Minnesota State Policemen blocking my way).

"How good are you at backing this rig, Sir?"

I had Pat-n-Pat sneak out to a side street so I could load up the car.

We are all hoping that the drama is over. Tomorrow we head to Eau Claire Wisconsin.

These guys are great. The Brothers are hilarious and extraordinarily friendly, as well as just good peeps.

I've also met a lot of other great people in the two days I've been up here. As a matter of fact, I believe I deserve a bonus for hanging out with a navigator from another team tonight, rendering him useless for tomorrow ;) .

Y'all know what I mean. Don't try to hang with Mr. Middleton.

Edited by buick5563 (see edit history)
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Holy crap! (Note the time I am posting)

Last night, I was awakened by thunder. Giant thunderstorm. Ok. Fine. Whoa. You do realize that even a car cover Barney sold ( :) ) wouldn't have kept the rain out of an open car. The highly calibrated speedometer was in the trunk. The trunk leaks! This morning, the speedo didn't work at all. Today was the "Trophy Run" . Basically a practice. A San Diego team has already dropped out, so we borrowed (stole) their speedometer. Yay!

Tonight after dinner, more storms rolled in. HEAVY STORMS. I drove my wife's Civic up here, so I'd have decent gas mileage, so I drove it today instead of the truck / trailer combo. Bad idea. I had to drive back almost a half-hour to the hotel and return with the trailer to pick up the topless race car. I couldn't get back on the State Fair infield since there were power lines and trees down. Shucks!!! (or something like that was what I told the ten Minnesota State Policemen blocking my way).

"How good are you at backing this rig, Sir?"

I had Pat-n-Pat sneak out to a side street so I could load up the car.

We are all hoping that the drama is over. Tomorrow we head to Eau Claire Wisconsin.

These guys are great. The Brothers are hilarious and extraordinarily friendly, as well as just good peeps.

I've also met a lot of other great people in the two days I've been up here. As a matter of fact, I believe I deserve a bonus for hanging out with a navigator from another team tonight, rendering him useless for tomorrow ;) .

Y'all know what I mean. Don't try to hang with Mr. Middleton.

Cool stuff there, hope you get enough sleep for the "big" drive today. Maybe the rain will slow a little when you guys pull out.

Wishing you a good, fun, and safe journey Mike.

Nice job on the other teams navigator, I know what it's like trying to hang with Mr. Middleton! Pick another one off each night. :cool:

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But seriously.

The reason Pat and Pat are doing this is for fighting autism.

Lamar, if I shouldn't be posting this, you can pull it.

This is the email Pat sent me:

Next week Pat and I climb in our 1931 Buick Racer and head out on the 9-Day Great Race from St. Paul, MN to Mobile, AL. We will be driving over 2,500 miles in our 82 year old car to raise money to fight Autism – Fighting Autism One Mile At a Time! And we need your help!

Last year the VCRA Race for Autism raised over $53,000 which combined with other donations allowed gifts of $59,000 directly to Autism Centers, Schools and Programs across the country.

Please Donate Now

https://vcra.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/WelcometotheVCRARaceForAutism/StartYourOwnRaceforAutismTeamFundraising/tabid/463225/Default.aspx?joinme=25600

to our #99 Pat n’ Pat Team and help us reach our personal Team Goal of raising $2,500 and the Great Race goal of $65,000. Your Donation will make a difference in the lives of kids and families living with Autism!

Thank you in advance for your generous Donation in honor of our Great Race Team!

Grandma’s Driving Topless down the Mississippi !

Pat n’ Pat

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I wouldn't have posted if they weren't in the Buick community. I know that everybody gets hit up to buy cookie dough from your co-workers, but this is a really good cause and most of the money goes directly to where it will do the most good. If you can donate, that would be fantastic. A collection at the Nationals may not help with their Great Race goal, but it is still a good cause.

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Mike:

Thanks for keeping everyone up to speed on this craziness! The pace of the event really wears you out and we appreciate your posts....

Running Friday without a speedometer we had a lousy 57 second day..... Saturday, with a speedo that still needs calibration we had an 11 second day, putting us in 14th overall and second in Sportsman Division.

Mike has been a lifesaver and a huge asset. We could not be doin' what we are doin' without him.

Mike tells us Mark Shaw has been trying to get him in Pre War for a long time... It took less than a minute ride in the Great Race '31 Buick! We may even let him drive it ;)

This is our ninth Race. We have had support (shared or otherwise) on 5 of them. The others we ran without support. Believe us when we say we prefer support.......also believe us when we tell you that Mike is absolutely the BEST we have ever had........CRAP should not have said that; now he is going to a swelled head!

Pat n' Pat

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I realize that I am giving you the "roadie's eye view" of a rock star's life here. Just passing on details :)

Today, the course ran from La Crosse, Wisconsin to Davenport, Iowa. The support teams as you may or may not know, run a different course than the cars. When I initially signed up, I figured I'd be running interstate like my pal Sid or Ben (the real truckers). Wrong. We are running US roads primarily. That makes sense from a mileage perspective, but state roads are not maintained or ready for flash floods as major interstates. We were running a convoy of maybe four trailers ( felt like the circus). Rain has been such a major factor that a road was closed. Here is a pic of the "field" that was next to the road, and another of the three "truckers" who had to scratch our heads to know how to improvise. (Great Race = very structured).

Field:

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Confusion:

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Just a performance update from us Pats. While Saturday was pretty good, we did poorly on Sunday and Monday. We consistently ran early on Sunday, and did "ace" one leg. Monday we were consistently late. It is really an SOB to drive and navigate in a thunderstorm dumping 2-3 inches. We have no top, no fenders, and no wipers! Just could not keep up with our performance tables, which assume relatively dry (not flooded) roads. It looks like the rain will let up for tomorrow.

Mike has been a huge help with the car; he also checks us in to our hotel and delivers (and picks up) our baggage. I think we will triple his pay!

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Gawd! Beginning to think this is not all fun...

The thing is, that it IS fun. It really is one big family and everybody helps out wherever needed. When our coil broke, another team gave us a replacement. The Coker guys helped balance our spare to rotate a better tire to the "drive wheel" position. Of course, Corky wanted to sell us a new one, but I told him that I was sure NTB had one in stock for less........

Yeah, right.

I helped with a Model A Racer tonight. Well, I held a flashlight, but at least I gave them a ride back to the hotel afterwards.

It is most astonishing for me to see museum-grade cars being thrashed like this. As one of the Texas Road Warriors, I personally love it.

"Oh, my Packard 120 has never seen rain. Can you pass the Grey Poupon?"

Poupon that statement!

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Mike, I knew you would be a good fit for that position. Keep up the postings. I am living the dream through you. Can't wait to buy you a drink soon and hear the real stories!

"Oh, my Packard 120 has never seen rain. Can you pass the Grey Poupon?" Now, that's funny!

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We ended in Cape Girardeau, Mo. today. Spectacular turnout. Before I go any farther, please understand, you should go to the Great Race website The Great Race for better pictures of the cars. This is more behind the scenes type stuff that I am writing about here. Y'all should check out Corky Coker's Shafer 8 Racer. He did a donut at the finish line today that was truly spectacular, but I can't figger out video transfer to this forum.

The Pats "Aced" once again today to bring them into third place in the Sportsman Class.

We noticed that the right rear tire was low and found a two inch nail imbedded in the tire.

My man-crush Hal and I got the inner tube swapped out on the split rim wheel in no time flat!

Here is me reinstalling the tire with "He-Pat" watching :)

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Edited by buick5563
Girardeau spelling (see edit history)
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