Great Race returns to Williams

Again this year, Williams will host the History Channel Great Race.

About 100 vintage race cars will roll into town between 5 and 6 p.m. June 19 and will be on display for three hours. Last year the town nailed the Best Pitstop All American City Award and a $5,000 prize for Williams Public Library. This year, Williams will be in contention for another $5,000 library award, this time if it’s named best overnight host.

Four blocks of Route 66 will be reserved for racers and three additional blocks for local car clubs.

Racers will pull out between 8 and 9 a.m. June 20 and head to Prescott for their lunch stop.

Jack Gaffney and Ginny Blatchley of the Route 66 Roadstore have contributed $10,000 to be title sponsors for the event.

“I’m expecting 3,000 people in town for the race,” said Diana Croteau, Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce office manager. “We’re ecstatic about putting this on.

“I was told the drivers of the last great race were so impressed with the friendliness and community spirit of Williams that we were one of their top choices for an overnight pitstop.”

To get plans in place, Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce is holding a Great Race meeting 4 p.m. Feb. 27 at Rosa’s Cantina. Anyone interested in helping is invited to attend.

Additional sponsors will be needed between the $150 and $1,000 price range. Several local groups turned out as greeters last year, and their services will be needed again this year.

The History Channel Great Race is the world’s richest vintage race with a purse of $275,000. Since 1983, this cross-country rally has visited more than 650 cities, logged 6.5 million vehicle miles and dispersed $3.5 million in cash prizes.

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