Great Race X-Cup Team
"$53 for the '53!"
Support our 2018 Great Race Team
The Alfred State College mighty 1953 Power Wagon will compete in the Great Race for the fourth year in a row! Four Alfred State students will drive and navigate in the X-Cup division reserved for school-based teams. The iconic Power Wagon has been owned by the college for over fifty years. The truck was saved from the scrap pile by a dedicated group of automotive students who entered the wrecker in the 2015 Great Race from Kirkwood, MO to Santa Monica, CA. This June, a fresh Alfred State group will join over 130 other teams from across the nation, making new friends and helping other teams repair their vehicles along the way.
What is the Great Race?
The Great Race is an antique, vintage, and collector car competitive controlled-speed endurance road rally on public highways. This year, the annual rally begins June 23 in Buffalo, NY, and continues for 2,300 miles through several other states and Canada before ending July 1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The event tests teams’ abilities to follow precise course instructions and their vehicle’s ability to endure on a cross-country trip. The score for each team is the result of the team’s ability to follow the designated course instructions precisely. Every second off the perfect time (early or late) at each checkpoint is a penalty point. Fewest points win! Cell phones, GPS or trip computers are not permitted and odometers are taped over. The 2017 Alfred State team earned three "aces" (perfect times) on individual legs of the rally.
Why do we do it?
1. Although much of our day is spent with the latest technology learning to repair complex automotive systems, many of our students are fascinated with classic cars. Alfred State has one of the largest Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) student chapters in the nation.The Power Wagon and Great Race provide an opportunity for some club members to follow their passion in the national spotlight.
2. The Alfred State Automotive program is ranked #4 in the Northeast. That's not good enough. The event gives the Auto Trades Department national exposure to expand our recruitment base and show prospective students and their parents that we are dedicated to the world of cars. Contacts made through the Great Race and AACA have resulted in over $20,000 in student scholarships in the last three years.
3. Participation in the event changes lives. Every year, a fresh group of students travels to places they have never been and meet people they would never have met. The students assist other teams by helping to repair their classic cars almost every night, making new friends along the way. The Great Race is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
What about the "53"?
The 1953 Dodge Power Wagon tow truck is a crowd favorite at every stop along the Great Race. Hundreds of children have posed for their parents at the wheel of what they call "Mater", the well-known (International Harvester) tow truck from the movie Cars. The team keeps a member posted by the truck at all times to accommodate fans. The Power Wagon is nearly all original, with every major mechanical component having been rebuilt by students. It seems like everyone we meet either owned a Power Wagon at one time, or knew a relative who did. The military history behind these workhorse vehicles means we talk to a lot of veterans along the way. And it's a tough truck. We finally understood just how tough in 2015, when it crossed the Mohave Desert in 114-degree temperatures without a hitch.
So who needs some help?
That would be Liam DeChick, Jake Derk, Don Piatek and Jordan Dunning. All upstate New York residents, they are the members of this year's team and they're either still in college or just graduated. That means they're on a budget. Hotels, meals, travel expenses and parts all add up. All funds for the trip are raised by the team. You can help support these young men and the classic car hobby by joining together and making a donation to the cause. All donors who contribute at the $53/up level will be sent an Alfred State Power Wagon dash plaque (pictured above)showing the Wagon silhouetted against the Bonneville Salt Flats during the 2016 Great Race.
To donate, click on the "Donate Now" button. When the donor form comes up, click on The Great Race in the drop-down box. Thank You!
Prof. Mike Ronan, Great Race team adviser