Clay and Mark Miller of Nicholasville were on the road to Buffalo, N.Y., in their 1932 Ford coupe Thursday afternoon, competing in the opening leg of the 2011 World Race.
"The car is running fine; we've made one stop for gas; the weather is good, and we're about 237 miles from Buffalo," Mark Miller said by cellphone shortly after noon.
Mark Miller and his father, Clay, are among more than a dozen competitors — and the only Kentuckians — taking part in the World Race. Racers must drive across the United States to San Francisco, travel to Beijing by boat then get back on the road to reach the finish line at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Clay Miller and his grandson Blake Garrison will drive from China to France. The racers took off from the starting line at Times Square in New York City at 7 a.m. Thursday for the opening run to Buffalo.
The event commemorates a 1908 race that also ran from New York to Paris. Only three cars finished that one.
The competing drivers were given police escorts through some of the towns outside of New York early Thursday, and they stopped to visit with students at an elementary school as a part of their itinerary, Mark Miller said.
"They had a celebration for us in the town where Theodore Roosevelt lived," he said. "Right now, we're following the same route they used in the 1908 race."
The cars were bunched closely together after the start but had become strung out along the highway by Thursday afternoon, Miller said.
The competitors were to reach Buffalo, their first overnight stop, sometime Thursday evening. They were to attend a reception and dinner there Thursday night before heading west Friday morning.
If things go well, the racers hope to reach the finish line in Paris about July 24.