2023 Solar Car Challenge - Awards Presentation
The evening of day 3 when we arrived into El Paso started out jubilant, because we had now made it to the 1/2 way point of the Fort Worth, TX to Palmdale, CA, cross country race and day 4 was a scheduled day of rest, where we could make some needed repairs to our our solar car and frankly get some much needed rest. We decided to start the evening with a nice dinner at a highly recommended local Mexican food restaurant.
However, by the time that we got back to the hotel that evening, a text notification came out from the Solar Car Challenge organization that they had experienced a wide spread Covid outbreak among their staff, where 16 of them were ultimately sidelined with Covid and the required isolation. As a result, they were no longer able to both staff all the required roles for the race and keep everyone safe. Consequently, they had to end the race early in El Paso, TX, where at this point, we had already completed 489.4 of the 953.3 available miles (51.3%) of the Fort Worth, TX to Palmdale, CA race. Later after they had performed some analysis, they determined that everyone who contracted Covid had been in contact with a single team, which was potentially the source. The Solar Car Challenge staff contacted this team and advised them of this and suggested that they get tested for Covid. At this point, this team stated that they already knew that they had Covid in almost every member of the team and had known that they had Covid in the team for days. Sadly, this team did not take the steps to isolate their members who had Covid and they ultimately infected other non team members and Solar Car Challenge staff leading to the race early termination.
The Solar Car Challenge staff labored hard overnight to compile the final race results and determine the division winners for a trophy presentation the next morning. Covenant Christian Academy won the Advanced Classic division with 457.3 miles! In fact, we drove more miles in this year's Solar Car Challenge than any other team, including the Advanced division teams. This is the third year in a row, that CCA has won the Advanced Classic division!
Our team decided to honor both the Ballard Bombers from Kentucky and the Polytechnic team from California for their heroic efforts of loaning us their welding machine and welder the day before, by presenting them our day trophy that we won on day 2. It was a small token of appreciation and honor to show them how much we appreciated their generosity.
After the race was over, both Kayson Hergert and Jake Caraway who are both former team alumni and captains and who are serving this year as Junior Advisors for the team, took our solar car (Cougar Spirit) for a drive through the parking lot.
Lastly, before we loaded the solar car and started to long drive home, our team members spent time visiting with the Oregon Solar Car team, who won 2nd place in the Advanced division completing a total of 353.2 miles.