The University of Dayton's Society of Automotive Engineers recently returned from the 4-day Baja SAE Alabama 2009 competition. Successfully completing all static and dynamic events, Lucky significantly improved on UD's previous performances. Ultimately, the team - and Lucky - earned a rank of 34 out of the 100-car field.
After passing Technical Inspection with relative ease, Lucky fractured an exle during the brake test. That night, the team worked long and hard repairing the faulty welds. Saturday, Lucky competed in the acceleration drag-race, earning a 6th place finish with Evan Layton at the wheel. The team struggled with finding a good lane in which to stage in the traction pull and dug a few holes at the start of the course, but with Brandon Virgallito behind the wheel, it easily pulled the 1000-lb Rhino through the rocks, sand and gravel, earning 43rd in the event. The team then made their way to the far end of NCAT's property where the Suspension and Manuverability events were being held. Experienced Rallyross driver Hector Fontanet guided Lucky through two successful laps, earning a 46th place finish. Mike Malloy then suited up for his maiden drive in Lucky through the Suspension course, which, so far, was seeing approximately a 15% sucess rate! Manueveraing through several hairpin turns and even flipping the car once, Mike and Lucky finished in 44th place.
Having sucessfully completed all the dynamic events, the team enjoyed the afternoon watching the activities of the competition, scouting the endurance course and replacing alternator bolts on Subarus. Sunday morning saw the start of the infamous 4-hour endurance race. Starting in 6th position, Lucky had an advantage in the land-rush start. Unfortunatley, 2 laps into the race, with Fontanet at the wheel, another car landed on the left-front suspension and snapped the shock in half. Luckily, Lucky managed to limp back to the pits where the team frantically welded new shock tabs in front, swapped the rear shocks into the front and modified a new set of shocks to fit the rear. Spending nearly an hour of the race in the pits, Lucky made its way back onto the course to successfully complete 10 more laps with driving time split between Garth Justinger, Brandon Virgallito and Jared Szechy. Despite the broken shock, Lucky finished 36th in the Endurance race with 12 laps.
Following the race, satisfied with their 34th place finish, the team cleaned up and packed up and prepared for the 11-hour drive back to Dayton.
Pictured from left: Hector Fontanet, Mike Malloy, Brandon Virgallito, Evan Layton, Scott Colotti, Jared Szechy,
Matt Cline, Matt Powers, Garth Justinger (not pictured are Edwin Dirksen and Tim Gorey)
Detailed results of the competition can be found HERE