Team from NDSU leads stock class in solar challenge
North Dakota State University's solar auto race team leads all other cars in its class with just two days left in a 2,300-mile race. The Sunsetters ranked first among stock cars Monday in the 2003 American Solar Challenge. The team is 13th overal...
North Dakota State University's solar auto race team leads all other cars in its class with just two days left in a 2,300-mile race.
The Sunsetters ranked first among stock cars Monday in the 2003 American Solar Challenge. The team is 13th overall.
Sunsetters member Ryan Schumacher said the team that ranks second in their class trails by about 10 hours. Unless the Sunsetters' PrairieFire GT breaks down, that team will have a tough time catching up, he said.
Today the Sunsetters will travel from Kingman, Ariz., to Barstow, Calif., about 230 miles.
All teams will leave from Barstow at 11 a.m. Wednesday and travel about 90 miles to the finish line in Claremont, Calif.
Twenty teams left Chicago on July 13 and have traveled between 100 and 200 miles each day. The route follows historic Route 66.
The Sunsetters already have earned some awards during the race, including being in first place at stage two and for sportsmanship, Schumacher said.
Competition is divided into open and stock classes. In the open class, teams aren't restricted on how much they spend for solar cells and batteries.
Stock class teams are limited to using lead acid batteries and spending $10 a watt on solar cells, Schumacher said.
Seventeen teams are listed under open class and three are classified as stock, according to the American Solar Challenge Web site. Monday's daily standings showed the Sunsetters leading five open class teams.
The Sunsetters took the lead by "trailering" less than other stock teams, Schumacher said. Teams are allowed to pull their solar car with a trailer if they run out of power, but they are assessed penalties.
Two years ago the Sunsetters placed fourth in their class and 21st overall. But this year the team has an advantage with a newer car that's about 300 pounds lighter.
"It also helps having veterans on the trip that know the area," Schumacher said.
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