NASC 2005 Day 1

The North American Solar Challenge is officially underway with the University of Minnesota's Borealis III leading the pack.  Sitting at the pole position, Borealis III left the start line at 9:00 am for Weatherford, Texas. Check out photos from all the vehicles crossing the start line.  Below is an image of all the vehicles at the starting line with Peter Meinz behind the wheel of Borealis III.

The top three at the end of the day are University of Michigan at number 1, followed by the University of Minnesota at number two behind by one minute, with third being M.I.T. at 16 minutes.  We were the first vehicle to arrive at the finish with Michigan showing up two minutes later, but since Michigan left the start three minutes behind us, they are now in first.  A one minute lead can be anything like a long stop light, and in a 60 hour race that was won two years ago by four hours, there's a lot of road left to travel.  We look forward to an exciting race with our fellow leaders.

M.I.T. had an interesting day when the motor was accidentally switched into reverse at a stop, and the solar car rammed into their chase vehicle.  The car drove the rest of the day with a wicked spoiler, and a lot of broken solar cells.  But the M.I.T. team is resilient and surprisingly jovial, and quickly set about replacing all the broken cells with new modules.  At third place, the team is in a great position.


Weather was a big factor today and the U of M was lucky to get out ahead before the rain struck.  When the thunderstorm did come, Borealis III was safe in the trailer in the finish area.  Calgary wasn't so lucky and got caught in a major down pour.  There's a great picture posted of the team bailing out water from their fairings.  However, the team made it through the storm and arrived at the finish late afternoon.

Northwestern, on the other hand, was not able to finish today and had to drop out of the race.  Halfway through the day their car had a battery fire that left the vehicle disabled on the side of the road.  The team is fine, but the vehicle is now forcing Northwestern to call it quits.

SIUE also had to drop out of the race due to a qualifying conditional.  Because the team failed to qualify by two laps, the officials made a deal and let the car race the first leg if they could maintain an average speed of 25 mph throughout the day.  SIUE also got caught in the storm and were not able to make their speed stipulation.

Stanford had some trouble at the starting line and was forced to drop back and start last, but everyone was happy to see their car swing into the finish line this afternoon.

In all it was a great first day of racing, and we look forward to an equally great day tomorrow.

July 17, 2005=



 Aaron Westman
Who was given the honor of taking the green flag?

Posted by: Aaron Westman | July 17, 2005 at 11:28 AM

 Aaron Westman
I cant get over how similar U Calgary's body shape is. Even their array layout is the same shape.

Posted by: Aaron Westman | July 17, 2005 at 11:39 AM

 Travis Lee
I'm glad you started strong. Why isn't Chris wearing both his shoes?

Posted by: Travis Lee | July 17, 2005 at 12:35 PM


Apparently a virtual tie at this time.

T-Dawg: Maybe a parking brake?

Posted by: Adam | July 17, 2005 at 05:41 PM

 Travis Lee
Nice work today team. Now the real strategy comes in - stay on or above the curve!

Also, I found Chris' shoe - what a selfless gesture ;-).

Posted by: Travis Lee | July 17, 2005 at 10:28 PM

 Pat's Brother
Great Start guys. I'll e-mail y'all my pictures of you (and every other team) crossing the start line as soon as I can find a high-speed uplink.

Posted by: Pat's Brother | July 18, 2005 at 12:48 AM

 Kelly Gavigan
Go Borealis III! Your DragonflyTV fan club are cheering you all on. Good luck.

Posted by: Kelly Gavigan | July 18, 2005 at 02:55 PM

 Josh Sinykin
Your Solar Alumni is rooting for you guys. From my desk and the GPS information we are estimating we are 9 or so miles behind MI. Can't wait for the update tonight to hear about todays raycing.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Josh Sinykin | July 18, 2005 at 05:27 PM

 Ryan Osero
It looks pretty grim. I mean, with no problems yet, how will you stay busy?

Go Minnesota!

Posted by: Ryan Osero | July 18, 2005 at 06:10 PM

So why is it that the University of Illinois's car is the spitting image of Borealis II? Did you guys sell the car to them?

Paul (NDSU solar alumni)

Posted by: Paul | July 21, 2005 at 10:11 AM

 Leisa Dreps
Has Minnesota tried to join the World Solar Car Challenge in Australia? A lot of countries are already participating in this contest. The Netherlands has been raking in the awards in the past years, but the US isn't that far behind.

Posted by: Leisa Dreps | August 19, 2011 at 07:31 AM