Minnesota Finishes Second

8:00 am: After last night's penalty appeals, Michigan has regained the lead and Minnesota will be starting second today. Look for GPS updates as the rayce begins at 8 and a final update on the standings once the team reaches Calgary. Thanks for all your support, we have the best fans bar none!


12:30 pm: After 2500 miles from Austin, Texas to Calgary, Alberta, the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project finshed in second place by 11 minutes overall in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge.  We would like to thank all our fans, friends, families and sponsors that made this finish possible.  It has been a fantastic journey and we appreciated all your support throughout.  Thanks for the great comments on our site.

July 27, 2005



 Ashish Kumar
What a great performance! We are rooting for you. May the sun shin brightly right on your car.

Posted by: Ashish Kumar | July 27, 2005 at 08:46 AM

 Photo Mama
"... best fans bar none." -- You got that right! It's "rally cap" time!

Not sure you'll see this suggestion in time, but I bet it would help to blow off some of steam from the roller coaster jitters created by all of the ups and downs of yesterday's timing changes. I suggest you turn those cool Japanese team headbands into some funky "rally cap." Would love to see that photo... although your priorities of course are focused on the rayce itself.

I think that's today's key... FOCUS. Forget everything prior to today--but I'm just an arm chair strategist. Do what you do best, just as you've been doing all along.

Today is THE rayce. You passed MI in cloudy/rainy conditions early on--so we know you have it in you as a team to do that again.

AND--You are the best team, bar none! Remember your back-to-back "Esprit de Corps" trophies from Formula Sun.

YOU CAN DO IT! As the guy in an old beer commercial said, "I love you, man!" -- That "luv" goes for everyone on the team!

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of us are following the rayce and we are totally with you. So cool that other teams look to the UMN SVP site for info.

You all "got it goin' on!"

Best of luck and best use of your experience and knowledge today.

Posted by: Photo Mama | July 27, 2005 at 08:53 AM

It's not over yet - Anything can happen today. Congratulations on all you've done so far; good luck on this final stage. Catch 'em in the hills!

Posted by: Tony | July 27, 2005 at 08:55 AM

 Karen Jensen
Hi Kids!!! What great work and that car is beautiful. This is Mike Jensen/s MOM and I have followed this race just like when Mike was on Route 66 to Cal. I bugged him each day to get more stuff on the site so I could keep up. You are doing a great job with communications. Get out there today and bring it on home!!! You can do it for sure. Good luck to all of you.

Posted by: Karen Jensen | July 27, 2005 at 08:57 AM

Does anyone else get the feeling that Speed Limits weren't meant for raycing? I feel that these cars have surpassed road raycing (at least the open class). If road raycing is the way that NASC wants to be then they should enable the vehicles to be on the interstates which would allow for higher speeds and not all of the top teams would be able to travel at the same speed for 90% of the race which is why this one is so close and it will be even worse in 2 years. I wouldn't mind seeing a track race at Daytona or Indianapolis or something of the sort. Let them get out there and race.

Obviously I am not saying that we would have beat MI if this were the case as it was apparent last week that there may be a difference in Aero in the 2 teams. But it would have spread the field (maybe) and there would be a clear victor with no penalties involved either way. If I were a MI fan I would have not been very happy about the penalties that were incurred as their car was able to go faster than they were being allowed to in a race? OK I am done.

Go Gophers! Take 'em at a stop light and accelerate as fast as possible whenever you can.

Posted by: Aaron | July 27, 2005 at 09:22 AM

 Chris Churchill
I totally agree- I would propose a regulation that let teams that could qualify with a higher milage, say 225 miles and pass some high speed dynamics tests race on interstates whenever possible. Of course, they would be held to a minimum 55mph while on the intersate...
The most difficult thing about this rule would likely be making the officiating fair (severely penalizes teams on the slower route) and getting approval from the various states you'd drive through.
This problem will likely come up in Australia, as this is the first time they have had a 110kph speed limit for the whole route. Of course, they don't hold as fast to those speeding rules down under as we do here.

Posted by: Chris Churchill | July 27, 2005 at 09:59 AM

 Jason Halpern
How does 40 minutes go to 4 minutes in penalties?
Does this mean the UofMN's 5 minute penalty should be dropped to 1 minute if they argued the case?
There doesn't seem to be a very good system of speed penalizing in this race and again is open to way too much interpretation in my opinion. Maybe MI had a lawyer on their team, jk. 
They have a much better car this year than their 2003 entrant which didn't qualify for ASC, so hats off to them for running a good race and making a good car...but this thing isn't over just yet.

Go get'em!

Posted by: Jason Halpern | July 27, 2005 at 10:03 AM

 A Geography Fan
Goooooooooo Gophers! Visualize. You are going to win this rayce! You CAN do it!

Posted by: A Geography Fan | July 27, 2005 at 10:06 AM

 Don from Michigan
I tried to post this earlier, but my computer was acting up. I noticed a couple of you wondering why some of our penalties were cancelled while yours still remains. The reason is that we felt that the penalties that we had were questionable and submitted them for repeal. Your team could do the same if they felt strongly about it. However, the risk involved is that if you lose the repeal process your penalties are doubled. When we submitted for repeal we ran the risk of doubling our 45 minutes worth of penalties to 90 minutes. I didn't know about this until last night, so I thought you guys might be interested.

Posted by: Don from Michigan | July 27, 2005 at 10:20 AM

 Josh Sinykin
With the latest GPS coords, and close proximity in time:
University of Minnesota    Borealis III    35    Wed Jul 27 09:29:24 MDT 2005    50.715    -112.26
University of Michigan    Momentum    2    Wed Jul 27 09:29:17 MDT 2005    50.655    -112.081

This places BIII 18km infront of Michigan.

Posted by: Josh Sinykin | July 27, 2005 at 10:37 AM

 Don from Michigan
Also thank you to Jason for the compliment. The 2003 experience was heartbreaking for our team and started the 2005 team off on a not so great foot. However, we were able to bounce back from that and use it as motivation for Momentum.
As equally commendable is the Minnesota team for producing such quality cars for so many races in a row. Congradulations on that.

Posted by: Don from Michigan | July 27, 2005 at 10:42 AM

 Aaron Westman
While racing is fun, and everyone likes to be in fist place I am quite relieved that Michigan's penalty was reduced. Being a Borealis III team leader and a member of the Formula Sun Rayce Team, I can say from experience that Michigan's vehicle is impressive. No one wants the accomplishments of such great teams to be eclipsed by penalties.

I only hope that everyone appreciates the vehicle we have created. The fact that we are able to compete with such stiff competition bepeaks that character, ingenuity, and execution of this team. At risk of sounding apologetic - win or lose this team has put together the U of M's best vehicle yet. That is what we set out to do two years ago, and I am extremely proud of the team members who have raced this vehicle so strongly.

Posted by: Aaron Westman | July 27, 2005 at 10:48 AM

 Dan Evanson
Was that a pass, I think we passed Mich...
Isn't this just awesome!!

Posted by: Dan Evanson | July 27, 2005 at 11:03 AM

University of Minnesota Borealis III 35 Wed Jul 27 09:59:25 MDT 2005 50.864 -112.875
University of Michigan Momentum 2 Wed Jul 27 09:59:14 MDT 2005 50.834 -112.692

looks like more than slightly...

Posted by: Cardiac | July 27, 2005 at 11:08 AM

Now it looks like Michigan in in front...GPS is questionable.

I can't watch.

Posted by: Brad | July 27, 2005 at 11:24 AM

 Matt Haupert
but you can't look away either. I hope it is a GPS hicup, MN's last to positions were the same. I hope it's not a flat tire or something that would take away all chance.

Posted by: Matt Haupert | July 27, 2005 at 11:27 AM

Now, stars right on top of each other and MN 1.5 minutes earlier update time...that'd be 2.5 minutes gained out of ~12.

Posted by: Brad | July 27, 2005 at 11:38 AM

 Diane Herrmann
You all make us proud! You are great role models!


Posted by: Diane Herrmann | July 27, 2005 at 11:50 AM

 Josh Sinykin
According to the GPS we are now trailing Michigan, we must have had a flat or something.

Posted by: Josh Sinykin | July 27, 2005 at 11:51 AM

Looks like they are almost to the end and physicaly close to each other...too close...within a few minutes.

Posted by: Brad | July 27, 2005 at 12:11 PM

 Matt Haupert
by the last GPS update the coordinates are the same but MN was ahead by about 1 and a half minutes. let's hope we come in ahead!

Go Gophers!

Posted by: Matt Haupert | July 27, 2005 at 12:25 PM

Well this is nervewracking. :)

And yet not -- MN has run a fabulous race, the crew doing an excellent job with a top of the line car. World class all around. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Laurie | July 27, 2005 at 12:32 PM

According to Michigan's blog, they just pulled into the finish 45 secs ahead of BIII.

Congrats to the team, you guys and gals have a lot to be proud of.

Posted by: Nick | July 27, 2005 at 12:32 PM

 Matt Haupert
Nick, I saw the same entry and I sescond your thoughts. This is by far the best car ever produced by the U of M and you should all be very proud of your accomplishments.

Posted by: Matt Haupert | July 27, 2005 at 12:34 PM

Way to go Team!!!!

What a rayce! You've all earned some R&R. Congrats on a superb car.
Posted by: Shanna | July 27, 2005 at 12:44 PM

July 27, 2005

Minnesota Finishes Second

12:30 pm: After 2500 miles from Austin, Texas to Calgary, Alberta, the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project finshed in second place by 11 minutes overall in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge.  We would like to thank all our fans, friends, families and sponsors that made this finish possible.  It has been a fantastic journey and we appreciated all your support throughout.  Thanks for the great comments on our site.

8:00 am: After last night's penalty appeals, Michigan has regained the lead and Minnesota will be starting second today. Look for GPS updates as the rayce begins at 8 and a final update on the standings once the team reaches Calgary. Thanks for all your support, we have the best fans bar none!

July 27, 2005 | Permalink

Hail Big Ten!!! We rule the rayce!


Posted by: __earth | July 27, 2005 at 12:53 PM

 Photo Mama
Absolutely marvelous! High fives all around! I don't know when we'll know exactly how close this is, but let's not let those results diminish what we've all witnessed these past 11 days (and then some).

No second-guessing... the past 2 some years beginning with the very first meeting about a new car design culminating in this incredibly exciting event with such a strong, tight finish is indeed a momentous achievement to savour.

As a mom, I'm exceedingly relieved that we have arrived safely at the finish. And as Laurie said, UMN did so in world class fashion.

Your online crowd is roaring with applause and praise. Enjoy the ceremonies!! We look forward to awesome coverage wherever we can find it.

(It's killing me not to be able to be there in person.)

Posted by: Photo Mama | July 27, 2005 at 12:57 PM

 Charles Habermann
Well done, Minnesota, Well Done!!!

Borealis 3 is the fastest, most efficient, and most economical solar car in the world!

Come on home and we will celebrate your outstanding performance!

Shout out to all the friends, family, alumni, solar car cronies, and great competitors who make this sport shine!

- Charles.

Posted by: Charles Habermann | July 27, 2005 at 01:04 PM

 Matt Haupert
unless the team is sick of free barbequeues (they've had a few on this rayce) I think all the parents and alums should put together a welcome home celebration for this great team! And let's find some sponsors to get this car to Australia!

Posted by: Matt Haupert | July 27, 2005 at 01:07 PM

 John Hensler
Congrats on running a great race, UMN. Wish I could have been there to see the finish... I'm sure it was thrilling to watch.

Glad to see you have continued the fine tradition of Solar Raycing at Minnesota (this comes from someone who still hs a UMN shirt from Sunrayce 99!)

Posted by: John Hensler | July 27, 2005 at 01:39 PM

 Karen Jensen
Wow, so close. You have a lot to be proud of, kids. You put it together and ran a good clean race. It says alot for your team
that you didn't get all those penalties. I know it is hard not to be first when you have worked so hard, but you have a great car and coming in second is a great big deal! We are always so proud of our Minnesota kids. Your the best!!!!!

Posted by: Karen Jensen | July 27, 2005 at 01:39 PM

 Adam Hrpcek
great job guys. a 1st place would have been nice, but 2nd isn't too shabby. we built a great car and we should all be proud of it

Posted by: Adam Hrpcek | July 27, 2005 at 01:41 PM

 Bob Meinz
Bravo team! Enjoy! Relax! We're all beaming!

Posted by: Bob Meinz | July 27, 2005 at 01:47 PM

Go....... Gophers!!!

Great job guys! I followed it the whole way. I wish I could be there.

Posted by: lazer | July 27, 2005 at 01:57 PM

 Bob Meinz
P.S. Our heart rates and blood pressures are slowly but surely returning to normal. Whew!

Posted by: Bob Meinz | July 27, 2005 at 02:02 PM

 Omaha Gophers
Great job, team! All of us in Omaha enjoyed following your progress. You can be very proud of your accomplishment in the adventure of a lifetime!

Posted by: Omaha Gophers | July 27, 2005 at 02:13 PM

 Dan Evanson
Great finish, Wonderful performance!
I second what Charles says, sounds like a marketable product...

to be continued!
Posted by: Dan Evanson | July 27, 2005 at 02:25 PM

 Alex Murphy
Congratulations Gophers!

Excellent work, everyone. Be proud of this!

Posted by: Alex Murphy | July 27, 2005 at 02:33 PM

 Peter's Family and Fan Club
Way to go Gophers!! No matter what the standings read, you're number one in our books. Just an outstanding rayce by all teams. I think the BBQ for the team, families and supporters sounds like a great way to celebrate. Looking forward to the teams return. Again, congratulations to all.

Posted by: Peter's Family and Fan Club | July 27, 2005 at 03:14 PM

 Dan Bisila
Team B3,

Congratulations on a great race!!
2nd place is great (maybe 1st place next time).

You all did a great job, and kept us alumni hanging on the edge of our seats (following on our computer screens)!

Thanks for doing Minnesota proud.

Dan Bisila, Aurora I

Posted by: Dan Bisila | July 27, 2005 at 03:21 PM

 Frank Williams
You all should be very proud of your accomplishments! Remember that the winners of this event are not necessarily those whose car came in first. Rather, the winners are the people who learned the most by virtue of their efforts. It seems that you've made great use of your resources, time and talents! Congratulations!

Posted by: Frank Williams | July 27, 2005 at 03:27 PM

 Pat Huelman
Great race for the Golden "sun" Gophers. We are so proud of the team, the car, and the effort. But most impressive of all was the incredibly positive spirit and attitude. What a great group of future innovators and leaders!

Pat & Kathy Huelman

Posted by: Pat Huelman | July 27, 2005 at 03:44 PM

I love the U of MN So La Ka team so much, I think I will marry it!

Awesome job team! This site has been an amazing way for all of us alums to live vicariously through and relive our own glory days of raycing. For that, Thanks. I am so proud to have been apart of this program. What more can be said? Oh Geez, I am welling up with tears and at work...crap!

I gotta go get some kleenex. Nice job one more time and I cant wait for you guys to get back and tell us all the great stories of this rayce.

Posted by: MIkeyJ | July 27, 2005 at 04:02 PM

 Jason Havemeier
Borealis III Team,

I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to all of you for your efforts and achievements, particularly your outstanding performance and finish in NASC!!!

Posted by: Jason Havemeier | July 27, 2005 at 04:30 PM

 Jerry Wang
To the B3 team,

You guys did a great job, and it doesn't matter how you finished; it is whether if you gave it your best in the race that only matters to me. I have not seen the B3 yet, make sure when you guys get back, don't forget to show it on campus. I am sure there are plenty of people who can't wait to see the car and meet the people behind it.

Posted by: Jerry Wang | July 27, 2005 at 05:14 PM

 Cliff & Deb Bienert
Borealis III Solar Team,

What a great rayce and a job well done. Thanks for giving us an exciting 10 days of raycing. We would like to sponsor some sort of food/beverage to a great team with a lot of class. Get back to us.

Posted by: Cliff & Deb Bienert | July 27, 2005 at 05:16 PM

 Donna Adams
As a Michigan team parent--and MINNESOTAN--I heartily congratulate the Borealis III team on an outstanding effort. Although you did not finish first in this race, your accomplishments brought wonderful attention to the University of Minnesota that can reap benefits for many years to come. Everyone in the Gopher state is proud of you!! Thanks for making this a truly memorable experience for all involved!

--Donna Adams (mom of Michigan driver from Minnesota)

Posted by: Donna Adams | July 27, 2005 at 05:21 PM

Congratulations to the whole crew, those on the race and everyone else who put time and energy into getting them there! Certainly the fastest car ever out of Minnesota and one of the best in *the world*!!!

Posted by: Greg | July 27, 2005 at 06:37 PM

 Merry (Tom's Mom) Whipple
Well, I want a bumper sticker that says "Proud parent of a U of Minn Solar Car Team." I have been bragging about you all to my friends for days — and will continue to do so. Well done!

It was a total thrill to watch as this project progressed and to see all the cool pix on the web site and be able to track the team's progress all the way up North America.

Posted by: Merry (Tom's Mom) Whipple | July 27, 2005 at 07:21 PM

 Todd Colten
B3 Team,

Absolutely amazing job! Bt all accounts you executed on the design, contruction, integration, test, and racing better than any U of MN solar car team before you. All of us who have been there before are in awe of your accomplishments.

11 minutes between 1st and 2nd! This has to be the closest finish in the history of solar car racing. You guys where not beat at all; that's a tie. Your solar car and your team rank up there with the greats of all time!

I hope you guys go to Australia.

Todd Colten
Aurora 4

Posted by: Todd Colten | July 27, 2005 at 09:12 PM

July 27, 2005

Minnesota Finishes Second

12:30 pm: After 2500 miles from Austin, Texas to Calgary, Alberta, the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project finshed in second place by 11 minutes overall in the 2005 North American Solar Challenge.  We would like to thank all our fans, friends, families and sponsors that made this finish possible.  It has been a fantastic journey and we appreciated all your support throughout.  Thanks for the great comments on our site.

8:00 am: After last night's penalty appeals, Michigan has regained the lead and Minnesota will be starting second today. Look for GPS updates as the rayce begins at 8 and a final update on the standings once the team reaches Calgary. Thanks for all your support, we have the best fans bar none!

July 27, 2005 | Permalink

 Evan Wineland
Great job to the B3 team. I really enjoyed watching your progress on the blog.

I'm studying abroad in Melbourne, Australia and working with the Aurora team. Hoping to hear soon that you guys are gonna be here for the WSC. It'd be a privilege to meet the team.


Evan Wineland

Posted by: Evan Wineland | July 28, 2005 at 04:26 AM

I can only imagine the bitterness that is associated with such a close and controversial loss. However, the bigger picture is more important here. For instance, imagine the team from Northwestern; they spent two grueling years on their car, entered it, and qualified for the race only to withdraw on the first day. You guys on the other hand were in the lead for the better part of this ten day rayce. You all brought tremendous attention and due respect to the University of Minnesota. 12 minutes in a 2,500 mile rayce is like winning by a mole hair in a marathon. You guys are the best and proved just what the U of M is all about. Congrats.

Posted by: Ben | July 28, 2005 at 04:32 AM

 Greg Sallee
Good article on the Pioneer Press website (you need to register to see it):


Thanks Ed for the link.

Posted by: Greg Sallee | July 28, 2005 at 07:06 AM

To the Borealis III Team,

Congratulations on your performance! And thank you for the thrills! What a pleasure it has been to follow your progress throughout the 10 day event. When you get home, bug your departments to do a University wide event to recognize your achievements - there are many of us who would love to see your vehicle and meet the team. Again, my congratulations on a job very well done.

Posted by: Tanya | July 28, 2005 at 09:59 AM

 Garrick Williams
Congratulations on a great finish, Minnesota... you really made the rayce exciting and kept us all on the edges of our seats. You've clearly created a fantastic, reliable vehicle, and I do hope you can make it to Australia to pit "B3" against Momentum one more time.

I recommend to all solar car fans to read the Pioneer Press article on UMinn's team, though I do want to clear things up about Michigan's team. The article seems to paint a rather negative picture of the Michigan team- some have likened us to the New York Yankees of solar cars because of our large budget.

We do have a larger budget than most teams, but getting that budget has required quite literally thousands of hours of phone calls and meetings with potential sponsors. We have a dedicated business group on our team that spends almost as many hours on the phones looking for machining and materials sponsors as we engineers spend in the shop (they'd spend just as much time, but businesses usually don't like 4AM phone calls). Our network of sponsors has required 16 years to build. To diminish the efforts of our fund-raising team by implying we are just a "rich" or "spoiled" team is to do a disservice to the hard work and long hours put in by these dedicated students.

Also, rest assured that you are not competing against Ford, GM and Shell, as one of your team members stated in the article. Every single component, other than pre-fab items like shocks and the motor, which we don't have the capability of producing practically on site, are designed exclusively by Michigan students. We do outsource some design analysis, but only to provide a "second opinion" and ensure that all components are safe. At no point do these companies design parts for us, and we have to fix any problems our sponsors do find ourselves.

As far as building the actual components is concerned, outsourcing precision machining is often necessary to ensure the safety of the tight-tolerance parts we design. We lack CNC capability in our workspace, so our more complex parts have to be sent out. However, many of our steering/suspension components were in fact manually milled by our team members, either because we couldn't find enough sponsors or because our students, far from being incapable of understanding the parts, produced higher quality parts than some of the machining companies we paid to do the work.

The body of the car was entirely hand-laid by team members who often spent 40+ hours a week in addition to their full class loads. The aerodynamics of the vehicle, which proved a decisive factor in the final days of NASC 2005, were created entirely by U of M students and evolved from 16 years of Michigan solar car design experience.

I don't say all this to start any sort of flame war, I merely want everyone in Minnesota to realize that we, like you, are a group of hard working college students with a passion for this wonderful sport. We are fortunate enough to have a large number of loyal sponsors and therefore a large budget (though the $1.8 million figure is misleading, as it includes the full retail value of all of our in-kind sponsorships... it's not like we have a bank account with a million dollars in it... we had to have a major fundraising drive to buy enough tires for the race and encapsulate our cells). But these sponsorships weren't handed to us, they were earned through a lot of time spent networking and through the great success of the team. Companies don't give us money or materials because they think we're a charity case, they give us sponsorships because they feel that being associated with Michigan Solar Car will be beneficial to their company. With the continuing success of your team, I think you'll find sponsorships easier to come by.

But at the end of the day, NASC should prove to everyone that money can't buy solar car wins. The many setbacks we've had in our 16 year history prove as much. Success in this sport has a lot more to do with the people on your team than the money in your bank. Michigan's win, and Minnesota's incredibly strong second, required teams with a lot of heart and a lot of guts. We at Michigan have bled, sweated, and cried for Momentum, as I'm sure you have for Borealis III.

I guess I was just a little hurt by what some of the Minnesota team said about us in that article- we think of you as honorable fellow competitors, and I hope you think the same of us.

I apologize for rambling. Congratulations again for your amazing accomplishment. Both of our teams deserved to win, but only one team can be declared "the winner". Don't let this deminish your pride in your achievement. We're proud to have outrun a team as good as yours, and, had we come in 2nd, we'd be proud to finish just behind such a worthy opponent.

I will be the aerodynamics director for the 2007 Michigan car, and I look forward to dueling with Borealis IV.

Garrick Williams

P.S. I'm sure Joe had a lot on his mind when he didn't wave to you at the stoplight... but don't hold it against him, he's really a great guy.

Posted by: Garrick Williams | July 28, 2005 at 09:33 PM

 Robert Vogt IV
Hey guys,

Garrick did an excellent job of clearing up some issues in the Pioneer Press article. We really enjoyed competing against your team, and look forward to joining yourselves and MIT in attempting to outrun Nuon in Australia.

My understanding from talking with some of your team members was that taking off a semester to go to Australia would set them back a year in school; we're fortunate in that many of our programs at U of M are more flexible than that, although several of our team members have gone so far as delaying graduation for a year or more to work on this fantastic project.

Good luck in getting to Australia - we'll look forward to a rematch!

Robert Vogt IV
Strategy Director

Posted by: Robert Vogt IV | July 29, 2005 at 11:54 AM