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Great Race Draws Great Crowd To Downtown Cape Girardeau

Nearly one hundred vintage cars cruised into Cape Girardeau one-by-one for The Great Race on Tuesday, rolling down Kingshighway and Broadway Streets in Cape Girardeau. Spectators lined the race route and packed Main Street as the vintage cars crossed the finish line.

While there, drivers talked about their cars, got a bit to eat, and let kids honk their horns.

The Great Race started on June 22 in St. Paul, Minnesota and ends on June 30 in Mobile, Alabama. This isn’t a speed race. Each car is manned by driver and a navigator. They wind through small country roads and must reach their destination at a predetermined time.

David Coon is from Fairport, New York and drives a 1954 Chevy Bel Air. He said one of the most challenging parts of the race is endurance.

“This was four days. We got five more days to go before we get to Mobile, Alabama. So the hard part is it’s very, very, very tiring. So by Thursday, you’re pretty worn out. That’s a big challenge,” Coon said.

The stop in Cape Girardeau, he said, was the biggest reception he’s ever seen during the two years he’s driven in the race.

“There were hundreds of people lining the street as we came in, and then we came down here and there’s thousands of people down here, so it was fantastic,” Coon said.

Jim Menneto is a racer from Vermont who drives a 1932 Ford Speedster. This is his fifth Great Race, and he said he has never seen so much community support.

“I mean, people were out three, four miles out of town greeting us as we were coming in before we got to downtown. I felt like the Pope coming into town here. It was just wonderful. You could tell that everybody rallied around this and got together. I feel very fortunate to be here,” Menneto said.

Racers continue Wednesday on their way to the finish line in Mobile, Alabama. The grand champion will win $50,000.

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