Central Magnet students in Great Race

Matt Norman is counting down the days for his history-making summer adventure.

Norman and fellow Central Magnet School students Jacob Hendrixson, Joey Hughes, Hunter Jones and Chris Johnson will navigate a 1953 Pontiac Chieftan on America’s backroads from Florida to Michigan. They are the first high school team from Tennessee to participate in the X-Club class Great Race June 24 to July 2 from Jacksonville, Fla., to Traverse City, Mich.

Rutherford County residents can watch the race when 149 teams arrive about noon Monday, June 26 at Cannonsburgh in Murfreesboro.

The Great Race tests the driver and navigators’ ability to follow precise course instructions and to endure a cross-country trip at or below the posted speed limit, stated the Great Race Web site (http://www.greatrace.com/).

Each day, the team receives about 220 course instructions to indicate every turn, speed change, stop and start for the day with four to seven checkpoints recording the exact time. The objective is to arrive at each checkpoint at the correct time.

School Resource Officer Sgt. Scott Culp will drive the Chieftan with the students. Culp’s wife, Jenny, a Central 6thgrade teacher, and mechanic Dean Holland of Holloway High School, will accompany the students in a car hauler with tools and parts.

“The odometer will be covered,” Culp said. “Our goal is to be on the second.”

Norman said the student navigators will guide Culp on the Dixie Highway with a map, charts and a white board. The map instructs directions and speed while the chart describes how long it takes for the car to go. The white board works out math calculations to calculate how much to increase or decrease our speed based on acceleration and deceleration.

“We’re basically his GPS,” Norman said.

President Jeremy Byrd and the late treasurer Dr. Jay Werthmuller of the Stones River Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America in Murfreesboro were instrumental in locating and purchasing the car to draw in younger members. The club and students worked on replacing tires and other parts.

Central Magnet Principal John Ash allowed the Central Magnet Car Club to form. Central Magnet and Holloway students worked on the car together.

Students raised $25,000 for expenses.

About 18 months ago, Byrd met with Great Race Director Jeff Stumb, Murfreesboro City officials and the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and convinced him to set up a stop in Murfreesboro.

Cutline: Central Magnet School Principal John Ash and Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh meet with students who will participate in the Great Race in the 1953 Pontiac Chieftan. From left are Joey Hughes, Matt Connors, Ash, Hunter Jones, Matthew Norman, Fitzhugh, Chris Johnson and Jacob Hendrixson, School Resource Officer Sgt. Scott Culp, Sheriff’s Major Bill Sharp, 6th grade teacher Jenny Culp and SRO Capt. Barry Hendrixson.

 

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