Tommy Lee Byrd
June 23, 2015

Driving cross-country on Route 66 behind the wheel of a classic Mustang is a bucket list item for lots of folks. And for seven Mustang owners, it’s becoming a reality, as they have made the cut for the 2015 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty.

The Great Race route changes every year, and when it was announced that the 2015 event would travel on Route 66 from Kirkwood, Missouri on June 20 to Santa Monica, California, entrants from as far away as Japan entered the event, which is capped off at 120 cars. In the field, there are several stock appearing ’64-’66 Mustang coupes and convertibles, but the standout entrants include a ’66 Shelby GT 350 Hertz fastback and a ’67 Mustang fastback, which has competed in several other endurance rallies. The winners of last year’s Great Race, taking home more than $50,000 in cash, drove a 1966 Ford Mustang coupe.

Last year’s Great Race winners, Barry and Irene Jason, pose with a $50,000 check at the finish line in The Villages, Florida. This was their third consecutive Great Race victory, and the first time they had driven a post-WWII car, a 1966 Ford Mustang coupe, in the race. It was also the first time a post-WWII car had won the race.
A 1964-1/2 Mustang convertible charges hard into a tight corner, as the course instructions called for a steady speed through this interchange. Slowing down through this maneuver would mean they would have to go faster than the allotted speed for a certain number of minutes to make up the lost time. This car belongs to the X-cup team of Scott Henderson and his daughter Mallory from Mobile, Alabama.

The idea of the Great Race isn’t to cross the finish line first—instead, racers are given a book of driving instructions at the start of each day. The goal is to match the pre-determined “perfect” time for the day’s route, based on the instructions and speeds set by the Rally Master. Racers are penalized for reaching the secret checkpoint locations too quickly or too slowly, and much like golf, the lowest score wins. The winners of the Great Race will receive a check for $50,000 with additional daily cash awards available. Among the Mustangs in the field for the 2015 Great Race on Route 66, there are more than 100 other entrants with cars as old as 1915 and as new as 1972.

The Great Race hosts a lunch stop and an overnight stop on each day of the nine-day rally, with the Grand Finish being held on the Santa Monica Pier on Sunday, June 28th at 2pm. The Great Race stops are free to the public and offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see some of the coolest cars in the world battling for a big paycheck. For more information on this year’s route or to see if it will be stopping near your town, check out www.greatrace.com.

Tabetha Hammer rolls through the crowded streets in a 1964-1/2 Mustang coupe that was rebuilt by the folks at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. As a presenting sponsor, Hagerty is very involved in the Great Race and often enters multiple cars in the Sportsman Division.
Each city stop is free to the public, and typically lasts three hours from start to finish. Each day of the nine-day rally features a hosted lunch stop and a hosted evening stop. Upward of 20,000 people are expected at a few of the bigger stops, including a huge evening stop in San Bernardino, California on Saturday, June 27th.