ASC log 7/12/12: The Seventeenth Day

Me jumping for joy on the track we raced on. This is probably the last time I will see this track. Unfortunate that I forgot to remove my name tag…


Today is the last day of FSGP! At the end of today, awards will be given out for the three teams who ran the most laps in the past 3 days, and, more importantly, we will have a set of teams that are qualified for ASC 2012. As of this morning, UMich, Iowa, Minnesota, Principia, OSU, Indiana, Western Michigan, and CalSol have qualified. The main teams we are rooting for to qualify are Montreal and MIT.


Apart from cheering on those two teams and trying to help them in any way we can, most of our time today is devoted to organizing our caravan vehicles and buying new supplies to pass the caravan check. We actually ended up going to Walmart to buy plastic boxes to better organize our tools.


One of the more entertaining parts of today was when Michigan State finally entered the track – even though they qualified for FSGP last night, they still had more to work on this morning, so it was relieving for everyone to see them actually make it onto the track. They received massive applause from everyone as they drove onto the track. They are the true underdogs of this race.


Michigan State has two things going for it, and two things only – it has lead-acid batteries, which can draw a lot of power at once, and it is very heavy, which means it’s stable around turns. These qualities are very suboptimal for a long distance solar car race, where you want a light car with efficient batteries. However, they do make for fast and hard turns, which solar cars are typically not good at making. This resulted in a couple of interesting situations on the track. The first was when MIT, a notoriously fast and light team, attempted to pass Michigan State on a tight turn. Michigan State took the turn a lot faster than MIT was expecting, and they actually got dangerously close to a crash. In the end Michigan State pulled out ahead, and there was some brief debate as to whether anyone should get an infraction for being unsafe. I witnessed a heated argument between one of the head scrutineers and an MIT student, who disagreed on “whose fault” the near-collision was. In the end they decided it was MIT’s fault for attempting an unsafe pass. Later, Michigan State actually passed University of Michigan around the same corner, which was fucking hilarious to everyone because University of Michigan is a world-class team and Michigan State’s team was founded like a month ago and their car sucks ass. That was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, and I think all of the teams in the pits other than UMich enjoyed it immensely.


Montreal was skating on thin ice today, as they were scrambling to make enough laps in time (their laps from yesterday were not counted), and if either of their tires went out, it would take a while to replace and they would lose too much time on the track to be able to qualify. Luckily, they never had this problem, and them as well as MIT eventually qualified for ASC by the end of the day! Even though they are our competitors, this was a big victory for us too, because all of the teams that we like have qualified. This is going to be a good race. Michigan State ended up “conditionally qualifying,” which basically means they get to start off ASC, and if they can keep up with the stage stops, then they can continue racing, otherwise they will be disqualified. I think it’s unlikely that they will be able to do this because their car is so janky, but it’s cool that they even get to start the race with the rest of us.


By the end of the day we had passed the caravan check (finally all green on our qualifying checklist!), and celebrated with a free dinner at the FSGP award ceremony. UMich got 1st, Iowa got 2nd, and Western Michigan got 3rd. There were some other titles given out, such as fastest Slalom time (Michigan State) and fastest lap time (Iowa), neither of which were won by the best team, which made for an interesting ceremony.


We ended the day by doing a massive clean sweep of the track where we’ve been staying all day for the past week, picking up trash and disposing of it. It was a great team effort, and we left the Monticello Raceway probably cleaner than it started. We went home, made some decals for the caravan, listened to music, ate delicious watermelon from the Jewish market, and went to bed happy and rested. Tomorrow is display day, where we will all set up our cars at the Rochester Institute of Technology and show it off to the public before heading out the next morning to start ASC!


I’m running out of inspirational music so I’ll just post sun-related songs…. this one in particular was among scout car’s favorites during the trip.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: