“Missouri S&T Has Broken Their Kingpin. They’re Out!”

That’s the message that crackled across the FSGP radio net just a few minutes ago.
Freshman Wesley Hacket had found his groove and was turning lap after fast lap, helping S&T to tally nearly 70 laps this FSGPCrashSUN_0933.jpgafternoon when the suspension collapsed leaving Solar Miner VII helpless and facing the wrong way. Losing the kingpin caused the left front wheel to fold up under the car, and took S&T out of the competition with less than an hour to go.
The Miner support team jumped in the track van and headed to the now-conjested corner to extract Wesley, clear the course of debris, and figure out what happened. Once they got him back to the pit area and he began to breathe again, he reported that the rear tire had gone flat and handling was getting a little flakey. Before he could even radio the problem to the pits there was a loud “POP!” up front, the car started spinning, and he was suddenly facing oncoming traffic. We understand that the content of his next transmission may well be looked into by the FCC. 🙂
Here’s the preliminary report:
1. Wesley was uninjured but his heart rate was sure soaring
2. The rear wheel was ground down to ruin by the sideways spin
3. The $15,000 drive motor seems to be undamaged
4. Solar Miner VII took some damage to the underside of the array
5. The solar cells look OK
They’ll have to wait to the checkered flag to bring the car back to the pits for a full inspection, but this probably was the retirement lap for good ol’ SMVII.
Too bad, because as late in the race as it was, and the fact that the sun was actually shining, meant that teams (including the Miners) were going all-out to set their fastest lap times.
It’s no crime if SMVII is put out to pasture, because it’s time to design and build SMVIII, based partly on the lessons learned this weekend. With luck, the chassis can be repaired and used as a driver training tool.
OK, Formula Sun Grand Prix 2011 is over. Time to clean up, head to the awards dinner, then join local S&T alums for a party.
See you back in Rolla tomorrow evening!