Texas couple wins Great Race for third time in a row

Barry and Irene Jason (in blue) celebrate their third consecutive Great Race win | Great Race
Barry and Irene Jason (in blue) celebrate their third consecutive Great Race win | Great Race

A Texas couple in a 1966 Ford Mustang achieved the first-ever threepeat of consecutive victories in Great Race history by winning the 2014 Maine-to-Florida classic car competition.

While they were at it, Barry and Irene Jason also scored a couple of other firsts. No one before them had ever scored a perfect day in the time-distance rally contest, as they did on Day One. And no one had ever won the Great Race in a post-war car, a difficult feat because of a scoring system heavily handicapped toward older vehicles.

So that’s three wins and three firsts, and the reward for Jasons’ efforts this year was a $50,000 first-place check that they collected at the finish line on Sunday.

The Jasons of Keller, Texas, won the 2012 and 2013 Great Races in a 1935 Ford coupe, but this year they opted for their bright-red 1966 Mustang, a six-cylinder coupe favorably equipped with air conditioning. This is the 12th year that Barry Jason, an electrical engineer, and Irene Jason, a retired school administrator, have run the cross-country race.

The Great Race, an annual event founded in 1983, is a long-distance rally for pre-1972 vehicles. This year, the 2,300-mile race started June 21 in Ogunquit, Maine, and finished Sunday in The Villages near Ocala, Florida (click here to see our Eye Candy photo gallery).

Ninety teams started out in the competition, with a number of them dropping out before the finish because of typical old-car mechanical breakdowns. The Great Race visited 19 cities along the way with local spectators creating a festival atmosphere at each stop.

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