MTSU junior Jacob Hendrixson wanted to work on cars when he started Central Magnet School’s Car Club four years ago.
Hendrixson recently competed in his second Great Race, an event that goes from Riverside, Calif., to Tacoma, Wash. He is the son of Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Barry Hendrixson.
The local team from Central Magnet School’s Car Club won a No. 1 designation in the Great Race’s X Cup Division, according to the RCSO.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Culp, who is the school resource officer at Central Magnet, drove the 1953 Pontiac Chieftan nicknamed “Bonnie” in the 2,300-mile race while students navigated.
The race was “not a speed race but a time/speed/distance rally,” according to the 2019 Hemmings Motor News Great Race website. “The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret check points along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late.”
The lowest score won. The biggest challenges are staying on time, following instructions and getting an old car to finish each day, the website stated.
“You have to be there at the exact 10th of a second,” Culp said. “A perfect score is zero.”
Culp said Bonnie needed an updated engine. Because of age and size of the 66-year-old car’s engine, they had trouble finding parts and a mechanic to repair it. Reed Grant’s Racing Engines of Kittrell rebuilt the engine in 18 months.
Central’s team consisted of graduates Hendrixson and Chris Johnson, who competed in the 2017 Great Race with a stop in Murfreesboro, and Central Magnet School sophomore Aaron Guthrie in his first race.
Accompanying them was Culp’s wife, Jenny, a Central teacher; mechanic Dean Holland; his wife, April; and their two daughters, Maggie, a Central sixth grader; and Annie, a third grader.