BY JOHN ANDERSON
Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce Bruce Thomas was surprised to see the 2022 Great Race would have a stop in Alfred, but the route of 130 classic cars would not go down Main Street in Wellsville today.
Cars will be coming in and arriving at the Wellsville campus of Alfred State College at 12:30 p.m. The classic cars will be on display and there will be food trucks as part of the festivities.
The race started in Warwick, R.I., and Wellsville’s stop today is the fourth as the last stop was Binghamton. The cars will navigate the back roads in the village on their way to Erie, Pa. The race ends in Fargo, N.D.
Jeff Stumb, the director of The Great Race, told the Wellsville Sun there was no way to change the route.”No, no, the route was established many months ago, it’s measured with $160,000 of prize money,” Stumb said. “It would be like asking NASCAR to change their course at the beginning of the race.”
Thomas said he spoke to Stumb and Alfred State last week and he couldn’t believe the cars would not come down Main Street. It appears the route should have been changed as soon as it was announced before the drivers had their instructions.
The drivers competing for the prize money are timed to the second. And they don’t know when or where as there are secret checkpoints timing them across the country.
Wellsville has had a long history with the Great Race and Alfred State has been a huge partner. The race did have a stop on Main Street in the past. With a national holiday, today could have been a big day with the event at Alfred State and a “parade” on Main Street, with police escorting the vehicles to keep them on their precise mission. But as Stumb said, the route was established months ago.
Jeff Stevens, the Dean of the School of Applied Technology at Alfred State said, “Alfred State is excited to host The Great Race and the approximately 130 racers on our Wellsville campus. To have them come to our area on their pre-determined course is amazing opportunity.”
The Great Race started in 1983 and is based off the iconic movie, “The Great Race” from 1965. That movie, starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Peter Falk and Natalie Wood was actually based on a real race that took place between New York and Paris in 1908.