When pastimes become dreams, people seem to come alive. That is what happened to Josh Hull a few years ago as he sat in the backseat of a friend’s antique car, driving across the country.
With over $12,000 of further modifications, including custom wheel and tires adding a torsion bar and pinion rod to help with its stability, he is now in the Great Race again, and is on its way!
“We have made it to Riverside, California, and the start of the 2019 Hemmings Motor New Great Race,” Hull shared in a video sent to friends and family. “Approximately 130 cars are lined up at the starting line and ready to go. Wish us luck!”
Jim Cady, Craig County Emergency Management and Services Coordinator, is a friend of Hull. Josh use to be a part-time paramedic in Craig County. Many EMS providers still enjoy following Hull and the American car on their annual excursions throughout the week-long race.
“I wanted to be a firefighter since I was a kid,” said Hull who started volunteering at age 17. He then went to college and was hired by the City of Roanoke in 2007. For over five years he worked part-time for Craig County.
Hull got hooked on the Great Race the moment he found out about it. Now, he and his best friend and navigator, Trevor Stahl, are in their 1932 Speedster, hoping for the big win this year.
“We are looking forward to the scenery most of all,” both said. “We will be traveling through the Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada’s, Lake Tahoe, The Redwood Forest, Crater Lake, Pacific Coast Highway and around Mount Rainier.”
Hull and Stahl have the same passion during the race. They are limited, however, as all eyes, ears and attention have to be focused on the car, their speed and the detailed time factors in order to win this race of 2,300 miles.
“I don’t really look at the road because my eyes are locked on the speedometer,” Hull said. “I have to keep the speedometer at the exact speed to complete that leg of the race and my navigator is busy calculating our exact speeds as we look for markers to turn.”
The Great Race has visited the West Coast numerous times in its 36-year history, but they stated that the event has never started and finished there.
A total of 120 teams registered, representing entrants from as far away as Australia and Japan. Teams compete for over $150,000 in prize money, distributed amongst the top finishers in five divisions.
On June 22, Hull and Stahl started their race in Riverside, California, with mid 70-degree weather. They then headed to the top elevation of the desert of only 50 degrees and then on to Nevada temperatures of 110-degree weather, where every driver had to be extremely attentive to their vehicle’s mechanics.
Hull noted, “It was not our strongest run. We started in Riverside and made our way towards the Sierra Nevada’s and into the desert. We finished Stage 1 with a total of 12 seconds which placed ninth overall.”
On June 23, Hull added, “Today was a very long and grueling test for every team. We started the day driving through the Mojave Desert and by the end, we crossed the Sierra Nevada’s and down into Gardner, Nevada, pushing the cars to their limits. We made significant improvements from yesterday. We finished third in today’s race (Stage 2) and first in Expert. This moved us up to fifth overall and we got 1 ACE.”
In 2017, Hull and Stahl were doing great, but decided to quit the race as their car had given them problems and they did not want to do any more damage to it.
However, last year, Hull and Stahl placed fifth out of 118 cars, and only 12 seconds from first place. In the Expert Division, they placed third.
Drivers will finish the second-to-last leg of the race at LeMay Collections at Marymount, the Northwest’s largest private collection of classic vehicles. On the last day, they will race toward the grand finale at America’s Car Museum, the largest automotive museum in North America, expecting to arrive between 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on June 30.
“Stay tuned and follow us throughout the route!” Hull shared on his live video. “Wish us luck!”