05/11/11 Each year on a Sunday in April teams of students show up at the Indianapolis Airport at the Vincennes University Aviation Center for technical inspection of a years worth of planning and work. This is the starting of the Super Mileage Challenge. After technical inspection and a meeting put on by contest officials the cars are taken to the 5/8 mile oval track at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. The team must make 10 laps on less than 10 ounces of gasoline. The cars must make at least 3 complete sessions in order to qualify. Highest mileage wins. The Challenge is a contest presented through the Indiana Board of Education and sanctioned by the Indiana Mathematics, Science, and Technology Educators Association. The purpose is to have our student engineer and build vehicles the sometimes get over 1,000 mile per gallon.
Locally Warsaw, Whitko, Wawasee, Fairfield, Goshen and Mishawaka all have teams. This write up is about Triton’s hectic day. The day was frustrating, but the lessons learned were very valuable. The day was so frustrating that we won what is referred to as the “Tenacity award”.
The “Blue Car” had a spindle bearing go bad between technical inspection and the first run of the day. This run ended after just 1.5 laps of 10. Those repairs were just the start of a day filled with repairs and tow-ins. The guys from Vincennes University in charge of bringing in disabled cars got to know our guys very well. We finally did get one 10 lap run completed.
The “Black car” on the other hand ran all day, but not without a problem.
Our design had a smaller drive wheel. This tire wore out in 2 runs. Luckily we had Roger Terry’s generator with us. Conveniently it had tires the same size as the ones that were wearing out. You probably can guess the rest of that story.
In a day that saw several schools have trouble, our students just kept trying without getting mad and bickering, no cussing, instructors kept upbeat and helpful. The contest committee noticed this. When the awards were given the “Tenacity Award” went to Triton. We did not win the contest, but maybe the lessons learned were more important.
Carol Anders Correspondent