Rayce Day 2: Stage Stop in Neosho, MO

We began today by driving the remaining 7 miles in to the stage stop in Neosho, MO. As expected, we arrived at the stop in about 15 minutes, putting us in 3rd place behind Principia and Michigan. After impounding our battery at the stage stop, we immediately set to work on setting up the power trackers. As more teams rolled in, we got a better feel for how the remainder of the teams were doing. While electrical team was busy fixing things, the remainder of our team socialized and networked with other teams. We took up a pit spot next to Principia, and we immediately started helping each other with problems on the cars and comparing design philosophies. This is turning out to be a fun and very beneficial relationship for both sides.

Teams continued to roll in throughout the day, giving us a better idea of where everyone sits. Most notably, Iowa State rolled in at about 3:00PM, which ensures their position as a fully qualified team in the remainder of the race. As we continued to work on trackers, more and more teams became involved in the 'project.' I believe Principia, Iowa State, Calgary, and Arizona State all helped out in some way; even our top rival Michigan was getting in on the action in exchange for some updated firmware we acquired.


We were informed today that Iowa State made it to their stops in time, and thus will be allowed to compete in the race as a fully qualified team. Even though they have a lot of time to make up, we are confident that they will do very well in the long run. Our adopted new team, Oregon State, was unfortunately unable to complete the stages in the required time, but will be included in the race as a demonstration-class vehicle in order to gain experience for the next race; we look forward to seeing them and helping them as the race progresses further.

We got the trackers working enough to participate in the evening charge. Due to a new rule that dictates batteries must be impounded at stage stops, all of the batteries were released at exactly 6:00PM, leading to a stampede of no fewer than 40 students running across a parking lot carrying or rolling their 60-pound batteries. It was certainly a spectacle to behold, although officials claim it won't happen again due to the safety issues associated with Lithium Ion (a highly volatile material) being recklessly carried at high speeds.

Due to the low sunlight associated with late-day charging, we were unable to see exactly how our power trackers were performing. The electrical team says things are looking up, but we will have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to really make a determination.

Thank you to all of your support and comments, it's really uplifting to know that we have plenty of fans out there! We hope to see many of you in the coming days as we near Minnesota!

--David Towey
Crew Chief

July 14, 2008



You made me laugh with the description of the parking lot / battery run. I hope someone videotaped that. :-) Congratulations on another great day of racing and on the collegiality you are experiencing with other teams. What a powerful experience! I was looking at the photos posted on Principia's site, and I saw lots of maroon & gold visiting them. I'm glad you're having such a good time. Stay well! We look forward to seeing you in Fargo!

Posted by: Jeanne LaMoore | July 14, 2008 11:15 PM

See you in Omaha tomorrow!

Posted by: Jan Coffey | July 14, 2008 11:54 PM

This is turning into all kinds of races, solar, foot, chase car, brain power. I'm so happy to see the team sharing skills, experience, parts,it's very encouraging!
Here's hoping the flow of power is smooth in the groove, rayce well...

Posted by: Louise Somers | July 15, 2008 12:24 PM

Great progress! I hope someone video taped the Lithium Stampede! The stampede theme will be very appropriate when the teams reach Calgary. Best wishes to all! Continue to assist all race teams, it will pay off in the end, it always does.

Posted by: Betsy Ross Heller | July 15, 2008 9:02 PM

For anyone looking for an update and not finding one Tuesday night . . . I was reading some of the other blogs and saw a reference to Minnesota's car making loud banging noises, like fireworks. I called my son to see what was going on. The power trackers are crashing (sorry for my lack of engineering vocabulary). They expect to spend another all-nighter, have borrowed more equipment from other teams, and are hopeful that they will be ready to race in the morning. Say a prayer for our kids and those troublesome power trackers!

Posted by: Jeanne LaMoore | July 15, 2008 10:53 PM

I take it our original power trackers with the mystery failure on Saturday night are beyond hope?

Posted by: Nick | July 15, 2008 11:07 PM

Wait, I thought OSU was still racing and drove 210 miles today. I'll check with my sister, Kathy, and see, but I think they were allowed to continue to race.

Posted by: Becky | July 16, 2008 12:32 AM

I'm glad to hear you guys are doing well. There will be cookies on your return.

Posted by: C | July 16, 2008 10:30 AM

I talked to my son this morning and they are on the road again. They are averaging around 30 to 40 MPH through the hills of NE. They hope to make Sioux Falls today.

Posted by: Mike Shea | July 16, 2008 11:58 AM

I've been getting e-mails all afternoon from friends who couldn't make the Bellevue checkpoint, but saw you at various locations on 370 or Harrison. One friend even took a chair out to her backyard and stood on the chair peering over her fence until you passed by! The general consensus is that you look great! Make Tyler share the cookies with you. Go Gophers!

Posted by: Jan Coffey | July 16, 2008 3:05 PM

Go, go, Gophers! Fans are rooting for you over in Hartford and Slinger, Wisconsin!!!

Posted by: Bob and Bonnie | July 16, 2008 7:05 PM

Our Minnesota team has stopped for the night (Wednesday) about 40 miles before Sioux Falls. They will be in town tomorrow! Then a much-needed day of rest (which they will probably spend working on the car). Go Gophers! We are wishing you well.

Posted by: Jeanne LaMoore | July 16, 2008 10:03 PM