WMU News

Solar race kick-off dinner draws dignitaries

July 13, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- More than 600 people are expected attend a kick-off dinner this evening, July 13, at Western Michigan University for the American Solar Challenge cross-country race that will begin Sunday, July 15, in Chicago. Those attending will include officials from the U.S. Department of Energy, area legislators, founders of the biennial event and members of the 33 solar race car teams set to compete in the July 15-25 event.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, ASC Director Dan Eberle, Dr. Richard King from the U.S. Department of Energy, WMU President Elson S. Floyd and Dr. Daniel Litynksi, dean of WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, are among those who will address the gathering. Special guest will be retired General Motors/Hughes Aircraft executive Howard Wilson, one of the founders of American solar racing. Wilson, who retired as Hughes Corp. vice president for General Motors programs helped former GM Chairman and CEO Robert Stempel launch solar racing in the United States.

The dinner is by invitation only and will be held in the Bernhard Center on the WMU campus beginning at 6:30 p.m. In addition to serving as the kick-off event for the national race, the event is the concluding activity for the July 9-13 WMU Formula Sun Grand Prix, the final qualifying activity for American Solar Challenge. ASC officials will use the event to present up to 12 team awards based on the results of the WMU event.

On Saturday morning, July 14, race competitors who have spent the week at WMU, will head for Chicago to prepare for the start of the ASC race the following day. The race will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 15, and conclude 10 days and 2,300 miles later in Claremont, Calif., after traveling historic Route 66 without using a drop of gas.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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