Corky Coker and son to compete in The Great Race

May 28, 2004

The day after he receives the 2004 Meguiar's Award as the Collector Car Hobby's Person of the Year in Los Angeles, Calif., Joseph "Corky" Coker, president of Coker Tire Co., will hop into his company's 1937 Buick "Coker Special" vintage Indy race car to compete in The Great Race.

The Great Race, a timed endurance rally for pre-1959 antique and classic cars, begins in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, and concludes in Monterey, Calif., on July 3. It follows a winding 4,000-mile route through 11 states in 15 days, continuing through rain, wind, hailstorms and often snow in the higher elevations.

Team Coker -- Corky Coker as the driver and his son Cameron as the navigator -- will join The Great Race on Sunday evening, June 20, in Birmingham, Ala., and start their 2004 cross-country competition the next morning when the rally heads for Cullman, Ala.

For The Great Race, two-person teams of drivers and navigators must meet specific speed and distance requirements between daily scheduled stops. Participants and support crews will visit 46 cities where they will halt for morning and evening pit stops, lunches and overnight stays.

Approximately 120 vintage vehicles are expected to compete, with drivers and cars coming from from around the world to participate.

The Great Race travels along secondary roads and highways, avoiding busy interstates whenever possible, making it easy for local car clubs and enthusiasts to view the rally as it motors through their region.

More than 40,000 spectators watch the start with a similar number expected to turn out when the cars arrive at the finish just in time to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Coker Tire is the official tire of The Great Race and sponsors the event, which is now in its 22nd year. Sponsors also include Chevrolet, Interstate Batteries, Qualcomm and Monaco Coach.

To date, The Great Race has logged more than six million vintage miles, and has been the center of free family celebrations in more than 500 cities in North America.

"The Great Race is America's oldest, longest-running and richest vintage motorsports competition," says Coker. "There is no better way to showcase these vintage vehicles than on actual roads, still being driven with gusto and spirit, in the manner they were originally intended. We think our 'Coker Special,' which I regularly drive through the streets of Chattanooga, will be more than up to the challenge."