Ross BBA Student Leads U-M Solar Car Team to Victory
Project manager Michael Brackney and Team Momentum will advance to world championship.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The University of Michigan solar car team recently earned its fourth national championship in the North American Solar Challenge (NASC) under the management of Michael Brackney, BBA '06.
Other Ross School team members include Jonathan Plichta, BBA '06, Web site coordinator, Jon Bates, MBA '06, and Adarsh Das, MBA '06.
The Michigan team is nationally recognized for the most wins of any university since the competition began in 1990 and they expect to compete in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in September. U-M teams have twice placed third in this contest.
The 2,500-mile race, which began July 17 in Austin, Texas, and ended July 27 in Calgary, is the longest NASC to date, spanning six states, three provinces and two countries.
U-M's car, Momentum, travels up to 80 miles per hour. Each day, the students draw a line in the road and resume the next morning.
According to Brackney, the team had its share of obstacles to overcome. "For us to recoup the lead, out of Winnipeg we encountered some very strong winds," he said. "Our strategy pushed that to the edge and we pushed in front of all the other vehicles."
In addition, the team compiled an emergency 55-page appeal to dispute 40 minutes of penalties for alleged speeding violations. The brief included in-car data, graphs, charts and maps proving their car didnít exceed the speed limit. After three hours of deliberation, the judges retracted all but four minutes in penalties.
U-M started the last leg with an 11 minute, 49 second lead over its closest competitor, the University of Minnesota.
The team finished first over 20 other universities at 53 hours and 59 minutes. Second place went to Minnesota with a time of 54 hours and 11 minutes.
The NASC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Natural Resources Canada, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, TransAlta, University of Calgary, CSI Wireless, AMD and Manitoba Transportation and Government Services.
For more information on Momentum, please visit http://www.engin.umich.edu/solarcar/.
For more information, contact: