26 Jun Stanford crosses the finish line first
Time? Speed? Spacing? I have no idea, but I do know that Stanford crossed the line first today and fourth overall. And I know that I could not be more proud of my team or my car. It was a tight race to the finish this morning, with all of the top teams going as close to the speed limit as possible.
There we are, crossing the finish line. The car and the checkered flags are up in the foreground, and you can see the team doing its victory run in the background.
People running towards victory are pretty quick, it seems. They caught up to me and the camera in short order. Guarav is just about to give me a high five, and Nathan is about two seconds behind him with a bear hug.
This is Forest Nelson, our final stage driver. Apparently there were some aggressive, but legal maneuvers on the road to get ourselves into first for the stage. No, there’s no air conditioning. That’s why he’s pretty sweaty. Go give him the hug he deserves.
But what was I doing there? I’ve graduated and am no longer the team lead. Wouldn’t want to steal the current team lead’s thunder. Donuts, of course! It is the duty of every visiting Stanford alum to bring donuts for the team. In return for dropping in unannounced and bringing sugary goodness, I was allowed to drive the car from its post-race scrutineering paddock to the display parking space a hundred yards further down the parking lot.
That’s me! Obviously I had to wear an old Stanford admit weekend shirt, just to date myself as a grouchy old timer.
Speaking of old timers, here’s Michigan’s oldest fanboy. He’s a really sweet guy and has pulled some ridiculous stunts to save their team. Apparently he got aluminum wheels machined and shipped off to the team in under 24 hours after they found stress fractures in their magnesium ones. Sadly, UM has never let him drive, so he’s never driven any solar car. Well, today we fixed that. He drove Apogee around the parking lot and was very pleased to get the chance. I didn’t catch the introduction, so I don’t know his name, but he got my card. Hopefully he’ll ask for the photos when he gets back home.
[Found out that this is Chuck Hutchins, co-founder of MDSI]
Though I’ve been following the race from afar, it feels like I’ve been sitting in chase. I was on the phone through our electronics failures, our squabbles with officials, and our speculation about other teams and standings. It’s been frustrating, fun, exhilarating, and intense. No person can be more proud of their team than I am right now.
Nathan, I also want to specifically call you out for having pulled off miracles. You are more than the best successor I could have asked for. I’m buying you bubble tea tonight.