A process of trial and error: Solar-powered go-karts race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Students from Elizabethton High School participated in a regional go-kart competition at the famous Bristol Speedway Tuesday, though the results of the competition were not as positive as they had hoped.

This was no ordinary go-kart competition, though. Instead of gasoline or another traditional fuel source, kart racers used giant solar panels to power their vehicles.

“This was a two-hour endurance race,” STEM teacher David Campbell said. “It was based on how well you can charge your batteries and how efficient your cart is.”

Initially, the design showed promise, placing the racer in the Top Three within the first 10 laps. After that, however, it all went downhill.

“We went from top three to barely making it around the track,” he said.

In the final standings after the two hours were up, EHS scored dead last at 21 laps.

EHS sophomore Clayton Meritt said this was the first year he got to race in the actual cart itself.

“At the beginning, we were confident,” he said. “We just died at around lap 12.”

He said he was not too deterred by the defeat, however.

“It was still fun coming to Bristol and racing,” he said. “Driving was the coolest part, and learning how everything worked.”

The team said they were not quite sure what went wrong to cause them to lose power so quickly.

“We did flip the vehicle [the day before],” Campbell said. “However, we are not sure what exactly went wrong.”

Campbell said this year, in comparison to the past two years, had a tighter budget to get the cart put together. They did not purchase any new parts for their rig, instead learning to rely on what they had available to work with.

He said the defeat, however, was still a crucial part of the experience.

“Engineering is a series of failures,” he said. “This year was by far the hardest.”

He said the series of success and failure pattern of projects like this is what sparks up interest in the field for students.

“For me, this is the best kind of project we can do,” Campbell said. “This will make people get interested in engineering.”

They said they plan to return to next year’s competition, with just as much hope of coming out on top as they did this time.

Local news

BBQ Fundraiser to support veteran set for Saturday

Local news

Introducing the ETSU Alumni Summer Series

Local news

Caroline Price awarded Maggie Crosby Tetrick Diversity in Leadership Scholarship

Local news

Summer means road trips and increased bear activity

Local news

From the coaching box to the AD’s office…Ryan Presnell ready to tackle new role

Local news

A Life Lived: Judy Bailey spent her life doing for others

Local news

Getting his priorities in order…Holt stepping down to spend more time with family

Local news

Tennessee set to begin summer EBT distribution

Local news

Roan Mountain student makes Dean’s List at C-N College

Local news

Memorial Day weekend TWRA registration, safety checkpoints

Local news

Tennessee 2023-24 business tax revenues continue to fall short of predictions

Local news

‘Pipes to People’: City water resource project safeguards key pipeline

Local news

Keep America Beautiful, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, and Keep Carter County Beautiful partner for the Great American Cleanup

Local news

ETSU Martin Center announces surprise 2024 encore show, “The Book of Mormon”

Local news

Gas prices decline across Tennessee ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

Local news

School board again approves plans to close Little Milligan

Local news

Abortions rise slightly since Roe v Wade was overturned, driven in part by telemedicine

Local news

Elizabethton High celebrates accomplishments of FFA members

Local news

ETSU named 2024 Top Adventure College

Local news

Shady Oaks Garden Club will host garden tour

Local news

First Baptist Elizabethton to host free food bag distribution

Local news

City school board OKs $36M budget that includes 4.5 percent raise for all staff

Local news

Board gives OK to naming ‘LaPorte Field,’ ‘Dave Rider Center for Athletic Performance’

Local news

Local musician set to release first album — ‘Heroes & Friends’