Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Stage Stop in Sioux Falls

After a night and early morning full of rain, we left Omaha for Sioux Falls at 7:45 AM this morning. Driving at the speed limit or close to it, we pushed into South Dakota, arriving by police escort in Sioux Falls at 12:35 PM. As is the rule for stage stops, we charged for 30 minutes, then impounded our batteries, They will be released for an evening charge tonight from 6:00-8:30 PM, and then for morning and evening charges tomorrow. On Friday, we will have one last morning charge before heading out for Fargo, North Dakota and the Canadian Border.

Our nearest competition, Principia, arrived at 1:40 PM. Therefore, we added 1 hour and 4 minutes on Principia for the stage, giving us a total lead of 1 hour and 40 minutes for the first two stages (before second stage penalties, if applicable). More updates to follow. Hopefully, our connection here should be able to handle some picture uploads as well!

Update (8:00 PM): Although I do not have times on me at the moment, Bochum arrived at around 3:15 (give or take 10 minutes either way).  Waterloo arrived around 40 minutes later.  Calgary arrived somewhere after 5 PM, followed by Missouri S&T.

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Blogger Brian Ignaut said...

Glad to see the blog working again. Congrats on completing the second stage and extending your lead! Say "hi" to my Mom and Dad for me.

July 16, 2008 at 6:06 PM  
Blogger Michael Adams said...

I really could've used all these posts at work!! Congrats, guys. Enjoy the picturesque beauty of the falls. Do they have free massages like they did in '05?

July 16, 2008 at 7:25 PM  
Blogger Garrick Williams said...

I have to hand it to Dowling, his "go faster than everyone else" strategy seems to be working much better than my "spot the field 8 hours" approach. Nice work.

I do request that someone get some nice pics of Principia for me - at the risk of making Continuum jealous, it's a very nice looking car (but you'll always be my favorite Con ... don't give me that look).

July 16, 2008 at 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Tim Trueman said...

@Garrick Williams

It's pretty damn gorgeous isn't it?

July 16, 2008 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

Well, one thing that's not surprising about Principia is that a team of art history majors should make a really pretty car.

July 16, 2008 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

Okay, I get 12 hours even for the entire second stage of 606 miles. That's an average of 50.5 mph. First two stages: 941 miles in 20:10 = 46.7 mph overall.

Good job, Brad Charboneau, on controlling the weather. Liked how you held off that storm until the Base-X tents were up.

July 16, 2008 at 8:13 PM  
Anonymous Tim Trueman said...

To be fair, the car was designed by a Math/Physics major and there are many Math/Physics/Chemistry/Computer Science majors on the team (I was Compsci). Either way it's true, there have been Art, History, English, and Philosophy majors doing very technical work on our race teams. And I'd bet you'd never guess which ones are not science majors.

July 16, 2008 at 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Rumor has it that the team got to visit a moon bounce along their race route. May we see pictures in an update on your newly working blog?

Go blue! I've really enjoyed tracking your fantastic progress so far--I'm glad your hours/days/months/years of really hard work are paying off!

PS as a faithful fan of course I want Michigan to win, but as a fellow liberal arts schooler I'm excited that Principia has been doing so well! Art history majors can be good at math and physics too :)

July 16, 2008 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

It seems all U of M weather guys have something in common - "I seem to control the weather!" - Matt Trantham NASC video '05.

Way to go Brad, you're keeping the sunny skies overhead during all the important times!

July 16, 2008 at 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Tim Trueman said...

Also for the record I think this is one of the all time most beautiful cars:

July 16, 2008 at 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Tim Trueman said...

I seem to remember Matt Trantham guessing when a storm was going to arrive to the minute during qualifying in 2005.

July 16, 2008 at 8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next ASC will be the tenth one and Michigan should look into trying to get some of the past vehicles together. The way the design and technology has changed from 91 until 08 is amazing!

July 16, 2008 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger Garrick Williams said...

Well, in the conversation of best looking solar cars ever, this one has to be up there. The inside was just as pretty, something that unfortunately cannot be said of the Michigan series.

But the prettiest by far (in my humble opinion) is the Continuum that never got built due to the rule change. It was frakkin' beautiful.

July 16, 2008 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

A comment on Red River's blog says, "We are probably still ahead of Calgary and 30 min. behind Missouri. Probably in 6th place." That was posted at 1:57 pm and they were past the Omaha checkpoint at the time. Missouri was ahead of Minnesota last I know. No word on Bochum nor Waterloo.

July 16, 2008 at 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Tim Trueman said...


That Honda is pretty good lookin'.

Agreed about the Continuum that never was built (just look at the logo)...sigh.

Did those links satisfy your request?

July 16, 2008 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

Thanks for the 8:00 news. Michigan, Principia, and Bochum appear to be running 1-2-3, with the time between them stretching out. It looks like Waterloo has closed the time gap with Missouri and is really challenging for fourth. Missouri had 2 and a half hours on Calgary at Neosho, so I think Calgary is really 6th. Red River could be in there in elapsed time, though.

The big question: Where is Minnesota? They were third in Neosho, with a 50 minute lead over Bochum.

July 16, 2008 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Furqan Nazeeri said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 16, 2008 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Furqan Nazeeri said...

Speaking of good looking cars, personally I like to kick it old school.

July 16, 2008 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Peter said...


Can't blame you. She was/is/always will be very sexy. Form follows function, as they say.


Agreed on the Honda as well, though maybe that was just because they had a spare car in their trailer that they never needed to use...

July 16, 2008 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger Garrick Williams said...

Tim, the links are great - that's a fantastic photostream and everyone on this blog should go there if they haven't already. I was just requesting some full res closeups, and 3-views, from my team for *entirely* non nefarious purposes ;)

July 16, 2008 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Hostman said...

No, I'm sorry guys, Trantham actually _did_ control the weather. Remember that big dish on Chase? Yep, you guessed it ... weather control device. That's why we got stuck in that huge thunderstorm on day 2... the car battery on chase died and we couldn't control the weather anymore!


July 16, 2008 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Garrick Williams said...

And by that photostream, I mean those, specifically macbobumr and john4kc.

July 16, 2008 at 10:40 PM  
Blogger Garrick Williams said...

Robert, the weather gods should not be mocked while a race is on >:(

July 16, 2008 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger E Relson said...

Metaphorical Lineup: Blue, Sexy, German.

I like all three ;)

July 16, 2008 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

@michael_adams those free massages were for drivers only if i remember correctly.

@rbt - agree with Garrick on this one. The battery died right after Trantham made that comment that he controlled the weather on the video.. Though that could have also been because he was up all night doing forecasts...

Maybe next time we can get little solar-powered autonomous sensors similar to what they had in the movie Twister to float around and monitor the weather. And the other teams, of course.

July 16, 2008 at 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Tim Trueman said...


Oh I see, so you want our Unigraphics files and aero numbers? :P

July 16, 2008 at 11:16 PM  
Blogger Hostman said...

Hey Peter,

We can afford batteries! Who needs solar power, just toss some Lithium primaries into those trackers... :)


July 16, 2008 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger dkadams said...

Congrats, Continuum team, on your excellent performance so far! And thanks for all the timely posts on this blog, and for the interesting and valuable information added by other posters. Following this race via the blogs brings back fun memories of the 2005 NASC race!

We hope to be present at the starting line out of Sioux Falls on Friday, and we're thrilled that you will again be spending a small portion of the race route in Minnesota.

Go fast. go smooth, go BLUE!!

Steve & Donna Adams

July 16, 2008 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Peter said...


You're right. But I just realized that it's a moot point. We do have a helicopter, after all.. ;)

July 16, 2008 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger Garrick Williams said...

No that's okay Tim, it's more fun to look at grainy close ups crooked and squinty eyed and put our best guess into our predictions. Seems more devious (and more sporting) that way.

But seriously I'm very impressed by the Prin aero group - they should be deservedly proud (now, if only those fairings were working...)

July 17, 2008 at 12:18 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Yeah, be careful with those comments on weather control. They'll come back to bite ya.

July 17, 2008 at 12:48 AM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

The race isn't quite half over and you guys are getting slaphappy, arguing over which car is prettiest. You need to find some women.

July 17, 2008 at 6:57 AM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

Did my morning sweep of the blogs.

Missouri S&T made it to SF about 6:27:30, just before closing. They were running right with Minnesota for much of the day.

Minnesota reports they made camp 40 mi. south of Sioux Falls. Should be checking in early this morning.

Red River, the team that travels with its own chef (a culinary student from the college (take note Infinium team)), reports making camp about 2 to 3 hours from SF.

Queen's hopes to make SF this afternoon (Thursday).

Northwestern is still competing, but will trailer their car part of the way. They also have a link to a CNN report about the solar cars:

FriendFeed found a couple of articles that claim Michigan won the World Solar Challenge last year. Apparently the crash was a bad dream, and those Dutch . . . sweethearts didn't win their 4th in a row.

Principia reports signing autographs when they came into Sioux Falls. People are liking these cars!

July 17, 2008 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Yes, TC Lambert, we are all huge nerds. But thanks for trying to set the guys straight anyway!

July 17, 2008 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger Wisniewski said...

Momentum Alumni,
In 2005, you focused on a border crossing strategy. The rules were later adjusted to not time the border crossing. How long did the border crossing take you?

With the border crossing and about 50 mph average speed for Continuum, do you think the team will get to Winnipeg about noon on Saturday?

The Saskatchewan crosswind was an ally for Momentum. Besides Continuum, which teams do you believe will be competitive in those winds?

July 17, 2008 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Hostman said...

I can't speak to the border crossing, but it was pretty quick. There were lots of cameras and it was mostly a formality. Getting the car *back* in the semi trailer was more challenging than you might have thought.

There's a lot that goes into vehicle speed, including weather, terrain, and speed limits. I think the current average speed is mainly due to the restrictions of the speed limit along the route. Without looking at the upcoming route and weather, this is difficult to predict.

This is a tough question. I am quite impressed with Principia's design work, but I don't know if *any* of the cars are really equipped for crosswinds of the strength we encountered last year. Just looking on (not very scientific), it looks like 6-10 mph crosswinds are being experienced right now, which isn't all that bad... I remember gusts up to 30 mph. I guess we'll find out soon enough...


July 17, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Hafiz Noor Shams said...

meh. No wonder there was no update on google reader. You guys moved!

July 17, 2008 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

Minnesota made it to Sous Falls just before a terrible storm hit. The 7 teams in SF could take cover. Hope the others still on the road found cover, as hail was possible. (Solar cells do not like hail.) News reports say they think Kentucky is in 9th, Northwestern in 11th.

We won't know official standings until penalties are assessed, but here's my best guess:

1) Michigan
2) Principia (+1:40)
3) FH Bochum (+4:27)
4) Waterloo (+6:45)
5) Minnesota (+7:47)
6) Missouri S&T (+7:48)
7) Calgary (+9:35)

then I think Red River, Kentucky, Queen's, Northwestern, Iowa State, Arizona. Not sure at all of positions nor times of the last 6.

Look how close Minnesota and Missouri are. Looks like we have a race.

July 17, 2008 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it looks like its Michigan and Principia duking it out for the lead (Wolverines vs. Panthers, always an interesting matchup). Then Borchum in kind of a middle ground. Then a three way battle between Waterloo, the Gophers and S&T. Reliability and strategy are going to be huge during this next stage.

July 17, 2008 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Mr Wisnewski, Our border crossing practice on mock race led the race officials to not time it due to uncertainty of how different teams would be prepared... on mock race Michigan prepped so much and sent info ahead of time, and they ended up just letting us drive on through without even checking our passports! The semi was indeed the more difficult part, we didn't know we had to clear Momentum through customs separately depending on whether it was driving or coming back into the US as cargo... $1M car on a cargo manifest raises some questions at the border! During the race however, the border officials had a separate lane for solar cars, and all went pretty smoothly. It took maybe 15 minutes to get the solar car and main caravan through, and an additional 30 minutes to get the semi cleared. Pretty good considering the hazardous looking nature of so much of the equipment!!

July 17, 2008 at 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After penalties, Principia won stage two, and it has now closed the gap to only minutes away from the U-Mich car.
The current times are posted at
Anybody know what the penalties were assessed for?

July 18, 2008 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

Today's posted times show the first seven in exactly the order I posted. (Thank you, thank you.) The bottom 6 were a little out of order. I guessed: Red River, Kentucky, Queen's, Northwestern, Iowa State, and Arizona. The correct order is: Red River, Iowa State, Kentucky, Arizona, Queen's, and Northwestern.

The times of the leading cars were different from what I expected. A lot of that may be penalties. I'm very surprised by the time they have for Michigan. I had 20:10. They show 22:15. Two hours in penalties? Somebody poke the legal department. That can't be. NASC didn't list the penalties separately this time. Somebody please get some clarification.

Michigan is listed with a 22 minute lead. But they entered SF over an hour before Principia. If these penalties stand, the race is still pretty close.

Minnesota and Missouri S&T are close at 5 and 6, only 14 minutes apart. (My guesstimate had them almost dead even.) That is the smallest gap listed. (NASC didn't post times for Queen's and Norhtwestern. Does that mean they dropped out?)

Can somebody find out the penalty numbers?

July 18, 2008 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger TC Lambert said...

And if that time stands, Michigan's average speed for the first 941 miles would be only 42.3 mph. (Yes, Robert, that's slower than Momentum's speed in '05.)

July 18, 2008 at 7:04 AM  

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