Special to Iredell Free News
The Town of Mooresville has been named as recipient of the 2021 Best Overnight City Award on the Great Race Tour.
The Mooresville Downtown Commission (MDC) hosted the stopover in Downtown Mooresville on Saturday, June 26, with more than 5,000 spectators in attendance, as 109 of the world’s finest antique automobiles paraded down Main Street.
The Hemmings Motor News Great Race Tour officials bestowed Mooresville with the award due to its “overwhelming turnout, spirit and hospitality.”
“All of the overnight stops were fantastic,” said Great Race Director Jeff Stumb. “In fact, it was the most difficult decision ever. But Mooresville was one of those stops that will be talked about for years to come by the participants because of the extra effort everyone went to for the racers.”
That extra effort included a local car show event in downtown organized by Bryan Viger of Showtime Car Culture to entertain the crowds before the arrival of the racers. Over 80 vintage automobiles from the Lake Norman region were showcased, including classics and exotics, while attendees enjoyed family fun, music, food, and beer gardens.
Participants paid an entry fee with proceeds benefitting Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center, raising more than $2,100 for the local nonprofit
The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame added to the efforts, opening up to host support teams throughout the day. Don Miller, NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame chairman, drove the “Spirit of Mooresville,” a 1940 Ford Coupe in the segment from Galax, Va., to Mooresville to help welcome the racers to town.
“The Great Race is an American tradition. Having the race come through Mooresville was a tremendous opportunity for Race City USA and all of our automobile enthusiasts,” Miller said.
“Our leaders and volunteers put everything on the table for the event and it certainly paid off,” he added. “We obviously made an impact on the racers as well as the Great Race organizers, and here we stand today as the best stop on the tour. It says a lot about our town and the people who live here, I’m just glad to be one of them.”
Mayor Miles Atkins reiterated Miller’s sentiments.
“Mooresville showed up in a big way and gave all the drivers a huge welcome to Race City USA,” Atkins stated. “Members of the Town Board and I had a great time personally greeting each of the participating drivers as they came into our downtown. The Great Race was a huge success for all involved and we look forward to being an overnight stop during a future race.”
It was the first time in the nearly 40-year history of the Great Race that the event had been to Mooresville. The vehicles — featuring everything from a 1916 Hudson to a 1970 GTO — started the race in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday, June 19, and finished 2,300 miles later in Greenville, S.C., on Sunday, June 27.
“We were thrilled with the turnout of car enthusiasts, families and people just enjoying all that downtown Mooresville has to offer,” noted Event Chairman and MDC board member Hugh Sykes, whose team worked for several years to bring the COVID-delayed event to the city.
Partners and sponsors who worked to make sure the entire day a success include the Mooresville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Niagara Bottling, the NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Showtime Car Culture, and the Town of Mooresville.