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SOLAR CAR CHALLENGE CROSS-COUNTRY RACE HITTING THE OPEN ROAD

SOLAR CAR CHALLENGE CROSS-COUNTRY RACE UNDERWAY WITH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HITTING THE OPEN ROAD

FORT WORTH, Texas (July 17, 2018)

A record 20 high school teams from 10 states began their week-long, cross-country race in solar cars Tuesday as the 23rd running of the Solar Car Challenge got underway from Fort Worth.

In a span of just seven days, the teams, which include nine from North Texas, are competing in a cross-country race of more than 1,300 miles that will conclude Monday in Palmdale, Calif. The race will have the teams travel from Fort Worth to Snyder, Texas (Day 1) and then onto Carlsbad, New Mexico (Day 2); El Paso, Texas (Day 3 and Day 4 rest day); Phoenix, Ariz. (Day 5); Palms, Calif. (Day 6) and Palmdale, Calif. (Day 7).

“It’s an incredible opportunity for these young people to see what it is like, testing their skills, their abilities,” said Dr. Lehman Marks, founder of the Solar Car Foundation and race director. “They’re going to be driving on the roadway – we prefer two-lane streets that have a nice shoulder for them to go through – and other traffic is going to be going around them during the next seven days to get to California.”

The North Texas contingent that qualified for the Solar Car Challenge and took the green flag were the Winston School of Dallas; All Saints Episcopal School of Fort Worth; Coppell High School; Plano Green Team; Liberty Christian of Argyle; Prosper High School; Covenant Christian Academy of Colleyville; Wylie East High School; and Greenville High School.

“I think it’s going to be awesome to get this (solar car) on the road, get the caravan moving and go to California,” Prosper High team captain Tanten Jones said. “That is spectacular.”

In addition to the local participants, teams traveled from as far as New York, North Carolina and California to compete across four divisions – Classic, Advanced Classic (used their classic car for more than three years), Advanced and Electric-Solar Powered – in the cross-country race.

Throughout the cross-country journey, Western High School, the lone representative from Florida, will pay tribute to the victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The schools are approximately 20 miles apart in South Florida and the Western High School team placed decals on each side of its solar car – “Douglas Strong” on one side and “MSDStrong” on the other – in remembrance of the 17 students and staff members that were killed in the incident.

“This hit really close to home and we were at school when this happened and we got locked down immediately,” Western High team captain Brandon Abin said. “They are close friends; it’s our community. You always hear about these things happening elsewhere, but when it hits close to home it really hits deep. … It’s something that scarred us for a while.”

In addition to the teams from Texas and Florida, the others competing are Palmdale (Calif.) High School; La Canada (Calif.) Engineering Club; Staten Island (N.Y.) Solar Car/Green Technology; Leesville Solar Car Team (Raleigh, N.C.); Dove Academy (Oklahoma City, Okla.); Lisa Academy North Solar Car Team (Little Rock, Ark.); Pana (Ill.) High School; Houston (Miss.) Solar Car Race Team; and Frontier High School (Kansas City, Mo.)

The Solar Car Challenge is an educational program designed to help motivate students in science, engineering and alternative energy, and teach students how to design, engineer, build, race and evaluate road-worthy solar cars. The Solar Car Challenge Foundation, based in Plano, Texas, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year while this will be the 23rd season of competition dating to the inaugural race in 1995.

The Solar Car Challenge routinely alternates its race format between the teams competing on a cross-country excursion and running laps on Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval, which will be the format in 2019.  

For more information and race updates on the Solar Car Challenge, please visit www.solarcarchallenge.org.

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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