Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 27, 1997

Solar car team honored for perseverance

by Skip Derra

On the eve of Sunrayce 97, members of Iowa State's Team PrISUm were singled out by race officials. They were presented with a "Spirit of Sunrayce" award for persevering through adversity and getting their car in race shape after an April accident, and for good sportsmanship in sharing tools and materials with other teams during qualifiers.

It was an emotional time for the students, who came back from a serious accident to fix their car and finish the job they started two years ago -- to build and race the ExCYtor car. Making it into Sunrayce was a major challenge.

The car was damaged in an April 29 accident, near Topeka, Kan., while students were transporting it back to Ames after a Sunrayce qualifying round.

Team PrISUm scrambled to rebuild the car in less than two months, and making it through qualifiers and into Sunrayce was a major challenge. The car qualified for the 36-car field June 17, two days before the 1,200-mile, Indianapolis-to- Colorado Springs race began.

Rebuilding ExCYtor gave the team little time to put in much- needed test miles. As a result, team members have had to test the car during the actual race. While the car has run near the back of the pack, team members note some major successes.

On the first day of Sunrayce, they averaged about 28 mph. The second day they found that the car could cruise comfortably at 50 mph.

Along the way, team members Andy Earhart and Karla Abrahamson, who were hospitalized as a result of the April 29 accident, joined Team PrISUm to support their efforts.

The 1,230-mile race that began June 19 in Indianapolis ends Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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