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SPOTLIGHT
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Electric cars return to High Plains ElectroRally

Published on -9/20/2013, 3:37 PM

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Special to The Hays Daily News

The 2013 running of the High Plains ElectroRally -- where student driving teams see whose electric car design can make the most laps in an hour -- will be Sept. 26 at Frontier Park West.

The teams, primarily from high schools across the state, race full-size electric cars of their own design and construction.

The race is sponsored by Fort Hays State University's Institute of Applied Science, NCK Technical College, Midwest Energy, Sunflower Electric Power Corp. and Western Electric Co-op.

Volunteers begin setting up the quarter-mile road course, marking the way with hay bales and orange road cones, in Frontier Park at 6:30 a.m. Registration opens at 7 a.m.

So far, said race coordinator Joe Chretien, associate professor of applied technology at FHSU, 10 schools have registered, including such perennial participants as Hays High School, Hoisington High School, Scott City High School, Wheatland High School in Grainfield, Ulysses High School and Dighton High School.

By race time, he said, he expects the field will have about the usual 20 schools. Many just show up on race day. Pre-registration is not required.

Two races are scheduled with each race having two classes of cars. The Standard Class is cars that meet the criteria for a standard Electrathon America car. The Solar Class is for those who want to try out their solar arrays. The races are professionally run with strict car inspections.

"Safety is the rule of the day," Chretien said.

Kevin Vering, an electronics instructor at NCK Tech, will serve as race steward, enforcing safety and race rules and good sportsmanship. Volunteers from NCK Tech and from the sponsoring power companies work the race, ensuring that teams are ready by race time and that all of races run safely and smoothly.

Power company volunteers serve as judges, counting and tallying laps and awarding prizes to the winners.

The sponsors also provide a large quantity of food to feeding all race participants, advisors, sponsors and the many volunteers that make this event happen, Chretien said.

"This event provides a day of learning and fun for everyone," Chretien said. "The public is welcome to come and join in at no charge."

Spectator seating is available, but those who prefer their own lawn chairs are welcome to bring them, he said.

Races start at 10:30 a.m.

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