CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 23, 1999 -- After the completion of the third day of the ten-day, solar-powered road rally, Sunrayce 99 is shaping up to become better known as "Cloudrayce 99."
Cloudy skies once again were a major factor yesterday on the 180-mile stretch between Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., with most of the solar-powered vehicles racing in Sunrayce 99 declining to even fire up their electric motors for the start of third leg.
New Mexico Tech's Corona was one of only 14 sunshine-powered vehicles to attempt the run, but only made it as far as 40 miles before its battery power gave out.
But even though New Mexico Tech had to tow its race vehicle into Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, Corona moved up a notch in the overall standings to 25th in the 29-car field.
Racing strategy takes on added importance during cloudy days in Sunrayce 99 since solar race teams must carefully consider the amount of energy available from the sunlight and their storage batteries, the distance being traveled, the type of terrain encountered on the prescribed course, and several other factors before determining how fast they'll run their solar-powered vehicles on any given race day.
Sunrayce 99 continues today with a 150-mile leg to Clemson University in Clemson, S.C.
From June 20 through 29, teams from universities throughout North America, including New Mexico Tech, are racing through five states, from Washington, D. C., to a finish at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. The team with the lowest cumulative time over the 10-day road rally wins the event.
The top three finishing teams will receive trophies and cash awards. Scholastic achievement awards will also be granted for technical innovation, engineering excellence, artistic talents, teamwork, and good sportsmanship.
The biennial solar-car race was created by General Motors and the U. S. Department of Energy in 1990 to promote educational excellence in mathematics, science, and engineering by offering students a unique and highly valuable "hands-on" educational opportunity. Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS) joined GM and the DOE as a co-sponsor of the event in 1993.