Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

July 23, 2013

Bullard Solar Car Team: Car ready for road race despite setback

Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress

DALLAS — Progress staff reports



Despite being part of a multi-vehicle pile-up in Dallas Saturday, a solar-powered vehicle created by a team from Bullard High School only sustained minor damages, and is undergoing final testing at the Texas Motor Speedway to determine road-worthiness, said Cullen Hippler.

Hippler, the public relations spokesman for the Bullard High School Solar Car Team, said the car – which will be participating in the July 23-30 national Winston Solar Car Challenge – was being pulled in a covered trailer behind a pick-up driven by a team sponsor when it was caught up in an accident involving a motorcyclist.

“We were coming in at I-35 East at (Texas) Highway 183, where a motorcycle had hydroplaned – someone ran into him … and we were four vehicles back,” he said.

The motorcyclist “had blood dripping off his face, but he got up” and left the site of the accident, in which inclement weather played a role, Hippler added.

“It had been raining all day and the roads were slick, so once we hit the brakes, (the truck) hydroplaned.”

Their truck sustained some damage – namely, the fender up front and the hitch attached to the trailer, “but the big metal fender up front? That's probably what saved lives,” he said.

The project car received minor damage. “There was a small tear to the shrink-wrap, so we repaired that and spray-painted it” and corrected an out-of-whack wheel alignment, Hippler said.

“It's passed all the testing, now we're just running final tests on the Speedway, to see how hard it works on the road and if the lights and safety features are working,” said prior to a Jacksonville Daily Progress press deadline. “Everything else has passed (inspection), so all we need is to get a license issued, and we're set to go.”

The race begins 9 a.m. today, with 14 teams registered for the challenge. The Bullard Solar Team will be competing in the Classic Division against nine other competitors from schools in Wylie, Fort Worth, Argyle, Mansfield, Trophy Club, Greenville, Devon, Penn., Grosse Point Farms, Mich., and Orangeburg, N.Y.

The race ends in Los Angeles on July 30.