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Hometown Pit Stop

June 27, 2017
 
BY LISA MARCHESONI
Rutherford County Sheriff's Office
 
Hundreds of supporters welcomed Central Magnet School’s team to Cannonsburgh Village as part of the Great Race’s stop Monday in Rutherford County.

Sheriff’s School Resource Officer Sgt. Scott Culp tapped the horn of the 1953 Pontiac Chieftain much to the delight of spectators who lined the street and cheered.

Culp is driving the car, nicknamed “Bonnie,” while the students navigate the vintage car up the Dixie Highway from Jacksonville, Florida, to Traverse City, Michigan July 2. The Stones River Chapter of the Antique Automobile Association of America owns the car.

Students were excited to see the turnout of well-wishers, including Central Magnet School Principal Dr. John Ash, Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Sheriff’s Office employees, parents, fellow students, neighbors and car club members.

“It gives me goosebumps thinking about it,” Culp said.

“Right now we’re sitting in second place in the X Cup in the student division,” Culp said, before the team took off their next stop in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

They represent the first Tennessee school to compete in the X-Class category.

“Tennessee is definitely the most beautiful state we’ve been in so far,” Culp said.

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/ They cannot use the odometer but must figure out the speeds mathematically on the Dixie Highway route.

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.
 
Team member Jacob Hendrixson said navigating the car has been challenging because “the car is older and the directions are skimpy.”

“It’s been an incredible experience all around,” Hendrixson said.
 
PHOTOS / JAMES EVANS
 
TOP: Central Magnet School's car team arrives in Murfreesboro during a scheduled checkpoint as part of the Great Race. 
 
Middle: Central student Jacob Hendrixson participates in an interview about his experience as one of the team navigators during the race. 
 
Bottom: Central Magnet principal Dr. John Ash and SRO Scott Culp — who is driving the car — take a moment to talk about the trip so far from Jacksonville, Florida, to Traverse City, Michigan.