By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Goshen High School, Fairfield Jr./Sr. High School, and Northridge High School participated in the 18th annual Indiana Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Alliance (IMSTEA) Super Mileage Challenge Monday held at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis.
It was the first time a team from Northridge participated in the event. Their team placed 10th in the stock class and won the rookie award for a new team.
“To win the rookie award was pretty awesome,” said Kyle Hembree, a Project Lead The Way teacher from Northridge. “After the heartbreak of breaking down and not having the parts to fix the car it was pretty cool to be recognized like that.”
The team had a successful weekend and it was a little stressful at times with the multiple break downs that we had but the guys overcame each and every time, Hembree said.
“Our day came to an end in a way that was a little depressing. We were on our best run of the day and blew a tire a quarter of the track away from finishing,” Hembree said. “The class learned a lot at the competition. When we first got to technical inspection you could see that our guys were a little intimidated by some of the other schools cars. I told them to keep it all in perspective, this is our first year and some of these schools have been doing this for five-plus years.”
The teacher was extremely proud of his team and what they accomplished.
“ Just passing tech inspection was an accomplishment for us then going out and completing 30-plus laps and dealing with breakdowns,” Hembree said.” It was really awesome to step back and let the kids go to work. This car was theirs, they made all the design decisions and I was there to assist them as needed,”
Hembree added it really great how willing other schools were to help each other out.
This was the eighth year Fairfield has participated in the super mileage challenge in Indianapolis. The two cars we took were designed and built by the students in a seventh hour engineering class, said Fairfield teacher Jim Jones.
“They did 90 percent of the work from the ground up. We did have help from one or two of our sponsors,” Jones said. “The best mileage for one set of 10 laps was 414 MPG for one car and about 250 mpg for the second car.”
The cars ran on small Briggs and Stratton engines with very little modifications. The students would like to thank all their sponsors for the great support we get from the Fairfield community, Jones added.
There were 39 cars in four classes of competition from 26 Indiana high schools, according to IMSTEA President James Thompson.
The stock class had 12 cars and allows no modification to the engine. Six cars used a ‘J’ designation denoting the use of a new stock class engine in a new stock class.
Unlimited class allows engine modifications and had 18 entries. Three cars ran in an exhibition class which allows the cars to use non-standard engines. The unlimited class cars typically average more than 1,000 mpg and, “this year, the field will be seeking to crack the 1,500 mpg barrier,” Thompson said.
The students build their own cars under the supervision of a faculty member. They are also responsible for the design and construction of the car and raising the funds needed for the project. Briggs & Stratton Corporation of Wauwatosa , Wis. furnishes the engines, but all other items must either be purchased by the team or donated by sponsors, Thompson added.
The challenge provides a twofold purpose for the students. Not only do they learn the technical and scientific aspects of building a high mileage car, they also learn how to work as a team and solve complex problems.
Each school must submit a detailed technical proposal covering all aspects of the design and construction of the car to be eligible for the challenge. Such things as aerodynamic drag, friction forces, braking forces and cornering forces must be calculated and discussed in detail.
“The proposal insures that the students are exposed to the scientific principles of high mileage as well as the technology of building the car,” Thompson said. “These students are the future scientists, engineers and technicians who will be designing, building and servicing the cars of the future. What they learn in this event may help them to give us more fuel-efficient cars in times to come.”
Goshen did not compete but were in a demonstration category.