100-year-old Velie wins the 2011 Great Race

100-year-old Velie wins the 2011 Great Race

Congratulations go this morning to Doug and Howard Sharp, the father-and-son team from Fairport, New York, who won this year’s Great Race on Friday in their 1911 Velie H1 Racetype.

While longtime competitors in the Great Race and in other vintage car rallies, this year’s event proved far from smooth sailing for the team, as they constantly battled to repair their century-old car along the route from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Bennington, Vermont. The radiator leaked coolant the entire trip, and one of the tires ended up being held together with duct tape toward the end of the race. But the duo’s efforts paid off with an overall score of 54.29 seconds, winning the Expert division as well as the $20,000 grand prize for the event. The age of their Velie in this case helped boost the duo ahead of their competition: In the Great Race, older vehicles receive a better age factor, and nobody else drove a car as old as the Velie this year.

Winning the Sportsman division, “Corky” Harold Rutledge and Tim Rutledge in their 1929 Ford Model A pickup turned in an overall score of one minute, 12.68 seconds; David Reeder and Sawyer Stone in their 1932 Ford three-window coupe won the Grand Champion division with an overall score of one minute, 26.67 seconds; among rookies, the best score went to Michael and Mary Bitterman, who drove their 1966 Dodge Charger to a time of six minutes, 36.9 seconds, good for 33rd place overall. Despite a DNF on the last leg of the race, the Hemmings team of Publisher Jim Menneto and Mari Parizo finished in 34th place overall, 14th in the Sportsman class. Official scores for all 59 teams in the race are at GreatRace.com.

William Lamb Velie, the grandson of John Deere, started the Velie Carriage Company in 1902 in Moline, Illinois. By 1909, he switched to automobiles and incorporated the Velie Motor Vehicle Company. While the Velie used supplied engines in its first two model years, the company switched to its own four-cylinder engine in 1911, the same year a Velie driven by Howard Hall entered the inaugural Indianapolis 500. The company continued to build automobiles – including a six-cylinder and an eight-cylinder – through 1928.

Written by Daniel Strohl

June 20th, 2011 at 8:59 am

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