Alfred State to compete in Great Race

Printer-friendly version Posted Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 - 11:30

For the fifth year in a row, Alfred State College (ASC) will participate in the thrilling classic car competition known as “The Great Race.”

The annual event will take place from June 22-30, beginning in Riverside, CA, and continuing about 2,300 miles north until the final finish line in Tacoma, WA. The time-speed-endurance rally includes vintage cars from 1974 and older, with around 130 classic cars competing this year. The grand champion of the 2019 event will win $50,000, with the total purse being $150,000.

As it has in the past, Alfred State will be participating in the X-Cup Division, which is designed for high school and college teams. This year, the Pioneers will be competing in a black 1956 Mercury Medalist two-door sedan.

five students standing in front of a car
Pictured are team members Jordan Dunning (front row, right), and
(standing, from left to right) Jacob Derk, Caryl Koch, and Hunter Mayne.
Also pictured is Mike Sosnowski (front row, left), who assisted the group
by making necessary electrical repairs to ready the team’s Mercury
Medalist for the race. Not pictured is team member Jacob Minkel.

“The car is a perfect example of a mid-50s hot rod in the James Dean/Marlon Brando style. It has a V-8 engine and a three-speed standard transmission,” said Automotive Trades Professor Mike Ronan. “The Mercury is on loan for the race from James Claire, of Hornell, a gentleman who has been key to our involvement in the classic car world as an avenue for students to learn more about this interesting hobby.”

The ASC team includes returning team members Jacob Derk, a technology management major and heavy equipment, truck and diesel technician grad from Cattaraugus, and Jordan Dunning, a 2019 heavy equipment, truck and diesel technician graduate from Cicero, as well as three new members. They are Jacob Minkel, a 2019 mechanical engineering technology graduate from Attica; Caryl Koch, a 2019 motorsports technology graduate from Cuba; and Hunter Mayne, a 2019 motorsports technology graduate from Attica. Serving as faculty adviser on the trip will be Greg Traugh, an instructor in the heavy equipment, truck and diesel technician program.

Ronan noted that there are many reasons why the college continues to participate in the annual event each year, including the national exposure and experiential learning opportunities for students.

“A special factor involves the support that classic car organizations have extended directly to students in the form of scholarships and grants,” he said. “Our involvement with The Great Race over the years has resulted in over $25,000 in direct support for students.”

The location of this year’s event, Ronan said, means that five Alfred State students will have the unique opportunity to travel across the country and cover the entire West Coast from bottom to top.

“The participants in the race are a wonderful group of people and take particular satisfaction in interacting with the next generation of classic car lovers,” Ronan said. “This experience will certainly change their lives forever.”

Also worth noting is that the Alfred State team has become known as the “go to” group for Great Racers when a problem with their vehicle arises, Ronan said.

“The team carries a full complement of tools, equipment, and supplies, and stands ready each evening to help out those in need,” he said. “The team often splits up to work on more than one vehicle every night, and can often be found working in the parking lot until 2 or 3 in the morning. The sense of accomplishment derived from these on-the-spot challenges has proven to be a powerful confidence builder as these students prepare to go into the world of work.”

For more information on The Great Race, visit www.greatrace.com.

several people standing behind a car
Faculty and staff check out the car before the team travels across the country.