Residents in the Parkland may have noticed strange looking cars accompanied by vans with flashing lights traveling down U.S. 67 the last couple of days.
Not to worry, they are part of a national race and approximately 13 teams are competing in it this year. Principia Solar Car #32 Truck Driver Ken Pratt said this is part of the American Solar Challenge and it only comes around every two years.
“Universities and colleges from around the country and in fact some from overseas are competing. We have a couple from Canada and one from Switzerland in this race,” said Pratt. “The race started on Saturday morning just south of Cleveland, Ohio and the route takes us through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, up through Kansas, Nebraska and we will end up in South Dakota at the end of the week.”
Pratt said each team brings their solar car in a trailer or a truck from their campus to the starting point and then the trailer shadows them along the route. In the event that there is a break-down and they need to trailer it, they will have the equipment available.
“We also have items in the front of the trailer, tools, spares and camping equipment and all the stuff the team needs to be autonomous during the week,” said Pratt. “The race is divided up into stages: the first stage was two days which started in Cleveland, Ohio and went to Vincennes, Indiana. We left there (Monday) morning and we made a stop at Grant’s Farm near St. Louis in the middle of the afternoon. We had to stop there for 45 minutes and then we came as far as we could.”