WMU News

Sunseeker in Oklahoma, two cars out of solar race

July 18, 2001

Sunseeker Web site

VINETA, Okla. -- The Sunseeker 295 team closed Day Three (July 17) of the American Solar Challenge in Vineta, Okla., less than 100 miles northeast of Tulsa, after a trailering stint, a recharging stop in Neosha, Mo., and about five hours of actual road time.

The team, which began the day in the #22 slot in the field, was confident at day's end that Sunseeker had retained the same rank and was in good position for advancement within the next day. Six of the race leaders, with the University of Missouri-Rolla in front, made it to Tulsa or slightly beyond on Day Three.

Of the original 30 cars in the race, 28 are still competing. Teams from McMaster University and the University of Pennsylvania experienced a number of problems with their cars. McMaster formally withdrew from the race, and Pennsylvania was disqualified for failing to maintain the race's minimum road speed.

Driver Roger Anthony took the wheel of Sunseeker for the entire Day Three trip. He is scheduled to be in the driver's seat again tomorrow. Anthony says despite some rugged landscape the car performed well and remains mechanically sound.

"We hit some pretty rough patches of road, but the car handled it well," Anthony said. "A broken spedometer cable was the only problem we experienced and that is being fixed now."

Team electrical advisor Abraham Poot reported the team dealt with heavy traffic, long grades and rough pavement as historic Route 66 joined Interstate 55 for a period during the day.

The team plans to begin Day Four by driving to the ASC checkpoint in Tulsa, then trailering to the next checkpoint in Edmond, Okla., where the team intends to fully charge the car's batteries for the next day's run.

While weather conditions remain sunny, long recharging stops are necessary, says Poot, because while it's on the rad, Sunseeker uses more energy than the solar array provides so stored energy in the car's batteries is vital.

For daily updates during the race, go to the Web sites for WMU News, WMU Sunseeker or the American Solar Challenge.

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

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