College’s Baja Team Finds Victory, Validation in Illinois

Team members standing in front of a massive Caterpillar D11 bulldozer manufactured nearby are (from left) Mark A. Turek, Travis Scholtz, Darian P. Trego, Shujaa AlQahtani, Trevor M. Clouser, Logan B. Goodhart, Nathan M. Eckstein, Johnathan T. Capps, John D. Kleinfelter, Matthew J. Nyman and Clinton R. Bettner. Not pictured are Michael A. Oldroyd-Costello and faculty adviser John G. Upcraft.

Capps drives the #93 car to another commanding Penn College finish.

Penn College’s Baja SAE team turned in another fifth-place performance during an endurance competition in Illinois on Saturday, duplicating last month’s impressive effort in Kansas and finishing a personal-best ninth in the overall standings. “We had another flawless race,” said John G. Upcraft, instructor of manufacturing and machining and adviser for the college’s Baja SAE Club. “The team is pretty darned happy!” (The top four endurance teams were San Diego State University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Akron and Oregon State University, respectively.) Not that there weren’t issues. The mud that marked the Pittsburg, Kansas, race was replaced by heavy winds and dust at the Caterpillar Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center in Peoria. What’s more, the transponders didn’t work during the live stream, causing an inaccurate leaderboard until the manual trackside count properly credited the team for all 59 of its laps. “But we didn’t wreck and nothing on the car broke. And for the first year,  some top teams told my guys what a good job they’re doing. This is a real engineering competition, and we haven’t always been as strong as we’d like in that area; we’re slowly getting there, and people are recognizing us as a top team.” On the basis of its finish, Penn College wins entry to the first race of next season. The college will be represented by the No. 9 car at Baja SAE Maryland, scheduled for April 26-29 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Watch PCToday for more on the Baja SAE team’s phenomenal finale to its season.
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