The Principia Solar Car — Final report!


Solar Car Team Beats Adversity to Finish Fifth

Solar Car Team Beats Adversity to Finish Fifth

Photo by Steve Shedd
August 7, 2014

Principia College’s solar car team placed fifth last week in the American Solar Challenge (ASC), an eight-day, 1,700-mile road race traveling through seven states from Austin, Texas, to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The strong finish was all the more remarkable after the car was nearly ruined between the first and second days of the qualifying rounds at the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin. Early the second morning, the team learned that an electrical fire in the garage adjacent to Principia’s solar car had set off emergency sprinklers, soaking Ra 9, Principia’s newly designed car. Team members arrived to find a dire situation. The car body was flooded with five inches of standing water submerging much of the electrical equipment and metal frame. In addition, soggy insulation from the garage ceiling had fallen onto everything, adding to the mess.

Urgently, yet calmly, team members went to work on what seemed like an insurmountable challenge—disassembling and rebuilding the entire car. Over the next several hours, they painstakingly dried and cleaned all parts, placing waterlogged components into diaper-lined tubs filled with rice in an effort to draw out the water. Laptops and other equipment were ruined, but important data had been backed up and was later retrieved.

The “Glorify” Steering Wheel
“Every member of the team confronted this crisis with focus and tenacity,” says Clayton Harper (C’14). “Ra 9’s steering wheel is imprinted with one of the program’s stated goals—‘Glorify’—and for those who witnessed what took place in that cluttered little pit, there could be no better word to describe the heart of a team that refused to give up on their car.”

Seven hours later, the car emerged onto the track to complete as many laps as possible during the remaining hours of qualification. “Ra 9 accelerated down the runway, up the first incline, and over the horizon with ease, as if nothing had happened,” Clayton recalls. After Ra 9 posted a respectable 13 laps in its hour-and-a-half appearance, officials ruled that Principia had earned a spot in the race, although the final lap tally didn’t meet stated qualifications.

Two days later, Ra 9 was at the starting line ready for the race. While the team faced several additional challenges along the way, nothing compared to the difficulty they had overcome in Austin. Team drivers and recent graduates Brian Ritter (US’10, C’14) and Kali McKee (C’14) took turns at the wheel, accompanied by others in the race convoy.

ASC Electrical Design Award
Along with its fifth place finish, Principia won this year’s ASC Electrical Design Award. “This was particularly significant because the carefully designed circuit boards really saved us during the ‘sprinkler event,’” McKee explained during a Principia Internet Radio (PIR) update. At the final race day banquet in Minneapolis, the team celebrated and said their farewells to race officials and other teams. Ra 9 team members also enjoyed what’s become a race tradition—a t-shirt swap among the teams.

“We deeply appreciate all the support we’ve felt from alumni, Principia friends, and team supporters who’ve donated time and materials,” said faculty member and team advisor John Broere (C’02) during the last PIR broadcast. Among those supporters are several College-area businesses that contributed time and expertise, as well as Siemens, which donated computer-aided design (CAD) software. Supporters also include the many loyal and enthusiastic alumni and friends who showed up along the race route to make sandwiches, cheer for the team, and provide moral support.

If you missed some of the nightly PIR updates or want to learn more about the building of the new car, go to College downloadable radio programs on the PIR webpage. Check out the Principia College Facebook page for photos and videos, and be sure to watch this month’s PrincipiaWire video about the solar car team.

Tuesday Nights at the Reading Room – August 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 8.42.37 PMCOME JOIN US!
All meetings are open to the public.

Tuesday, August 12
7:30 PM
Doors open at 7 PM
The Miscellaneous Writings Book Club
pages 161-180.
  • At the Christian Science Reading Room  – 102 Trinity,  Austin 78701  (across from the convention center) 512-472-8109.
  • Anyone can join in at any point – just be ready to discuss pages 161-180 in Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy.

The Principia Solar Car — Video and Race Updates!

Click here for detailed reports.
   Also check their Home Page

Click here for the latest statistics.

Click here  for a short video of the Prin solar car arriving in 6th place in LaCrosse, WI on Sunday afternoon, July 27, 2014.
All that remains is the final leg on Monday from La Crosse to Minneapolis…approx 150 miles…its been quite a journey!

Click here to see Ra 9 cross the finish line!
Congratulations Principia Solar Car 2014!

BoWl-DOCQAADY0f.png large
Race Route

Click here for video of Prin car on the road.

7-25-14 Solar Cars
Fri, July 25: Solar Cars on display before departing from
Black & Veatch in Overland Park, KS

Click here for a Video of the Prin Solar Car
at the Circuit of the Americas

July 8, 2014
The Principia solar car is coming to Austin—with many opportunities for you to meet the team and see the brand new car, Ra 9! Join us to cheer them on as they prepare for the American Solar Challenge race from Austin to Minneapolis.

Schedule of Events

  • Sunday, July 13—Join the team at First Church, Austin, for a pizza lunch at noon. After lunch the team will share how a small liberal arts college competes so successfully with some of the top engineering schools in the country. 
  • Monday, July 14—Solar car team advisor Steve Shedd will speak at the Rotary Luncheon at noon. The luncheon will be held at The Crown Plaza Hotel at the NE corner of the intersection of IH-35 and US 290. RSVP by Friday, July 11, to Dayle Baldauf at or 512.467.8775. The cost for the lunch is $16.
  • Thursday, July 17 through Saturday, July 19—Formula Sun Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. Come down to the track to hang out with the team and see the car race in the qualifying rounds for the American Solar Challenge. The team will be racing each day, 9–5 p.m. 
  • Monday, July 21—The race begins! Join the Principia Club at the start line at UT Austin at the Texas Memorial Stadium. The race will begin at 9 a.m. Wear your gold and blue, and cheer for the team as they take off for the 1,700-mile race to Minneapolis.

If you have questions, please contact Crystal Reynolds at or 512.680.3217 or Steve Shedd at or 618.581.4004.

We look forward to seeing you as we welcome the solar car team to Austin and help send them on their way!

Tuesday Nights at the Reading Room – July 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 8.42.37 PMCOME JOIN US!
All meetings are open to the public.

Tues., July 15
7:30 PM
Doors open at 7 PM
The Miscellaneous Writings Book Club
pages 146-160.
  • At the Christian Science Reading Room  – 102 Trinity,  Austin 78701  (across from the convention center) 512-472-8109.
  • Anyone can join in at any point – just be ready to discuss pages 146-160 in Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy.

Relevant Reading Rooms – Tuesday, June 17 – 6:30 PM

SE Summit LogoChurch Alive Southeast Region invites you to join in

a conference call presentation on the topic of

“Relevancy of the Reading Room
in Today’s Fast-paced and Digital Age”

Tuesday, June 17 – 6:30 PM (CDT)
Dial (559) 726-1300, enter conference ID: 139662#.

Culture and technology have changed a bit since The Mother Church Manual’s provision for “Reading Rooms” was first adopted.   However, its purpose and potential are still very relevant and needed in our communities.    Anjuli Graunke, JSH Manager of Advertising and Sales will be our special guest presenter.   She will be providing us with an update on the latest ideas for Reading Rooms.


Reading Room Webinar
Did you miss it?
The conference call audio as well as a recap is still
available for those members who were unable to listen to
it the first time:    Click here




Stomach Ache and School Anxiety healed

By Omid – Sunday School student in Austin TX.

About 2 weeks ago my stomach started to hurt. It was a very intense feeling and didn’t allow me to do anything. That weekend that it happened was super important to me because finals was that week. The whole entire Sunday I didn’t study anything because I could barely move without my stomach hurting.
My mom convinced me to call a practitioner and get help. So I called a practitioner that is very close to me and she helped me understand what might be making me feel this way. I told her everything that was happening to me and one of them was that if I didn’t pass my Language Arts final I would go to summer school or get HELD BACK!!!
She helped me know that I was in God’s hands and that God didn’t make mistakes and bad grades.  After that, I told myself not to worry and to just do your best.  My stomach stopped hurting me. That week not only did I pass my Language Arts class, I got amazing grades on all my other finals.
Thank you so much for reading this and helping me express my gratitude for Christian Science. 

Tuesday Nights at the Reading Room – June 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 8.42.37 PMJOIN US!
ll meetings are open to the public.

Tues., June 2 
11 AM – light lunch
12 noon – Live Webcast from Boston of The Annual Meeting of The Mother Church.
Tues., June 10 – 7:30 PM
Doors open at 7 PM
The Miscellaneous Writings Book Club -
pages 129-146.
Everyone is encouraged to join!

These meetings will take place at the
Christian Science Reading Room  – 102 Trinity,  Austin 78701  (across from the convention center) 512-472-8109.


Christian Science Churches in Austin, Texas, Welcome You!