Sunseeker falls behind in first day of solar racing
July 16, 2001
With driver Kurt Hayden of Battle Creek, Mich., at the wheel, Sunseeker took off from the Museum of Science and Industry with a ninth place position based on its performance in qualifying events. The University of Michigan's car, the only other entrant from Michigan to qualify, began in the 10th place slot.
WMU alumnus Keith Gill, '88, transportation curator at the museum, waved the green flag for Sunseeker as it took off from the starting line. With spectacular sunny weather to charge its batteries. The car headed east on 57th Street , then south on Stony Island Avenue before picking up Route 66 for the start of the 2,300-mile trek to Clarmont, Calif.
But a bad bearing in a rear wheel forced the car to the side of the road near Braidwood, Ill., and repairs cost the team valuable sunlight hours. Once back on the road, with its stored energy waning, team members were forced to keep the car's speed to the 25-30 mph range before finally running out of power near Elkhart.
At the close of the racing day, the team was still in Elkhart
and had not passed through the official race checkpoint in Springfield,
Ill., so no official mileage or time for Sunseeker was recorded
Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org