After arriving in Goshen, IN, the next stage stop was Normal, IL. Day 5 began alright, but about half an hour later, the car’s motor shut off and would not restart. The electrical team began to debug the problem in a nearby grass lot. However, to make the situation even worse, a thunderstorm poured down rain and created an unsuitable working environment. With no other options, the team decided to trailer Chopper del Sol to Normal, IL and try to debug the problem there.

The last and final day of ASC required teams to cross the finish line at St. Paul, MN. After arriving in Normal, IL, the electrical team spent all night fixing a battery pack issue and successfully had Chopper del Sol driving around….at least they thought so. About forty-five minutes into our drive to St. Paul, MN, the car’s motor shut off again and would not restart. Since the last stage stop closed at 4PM, the team had two options: push the car across the finish line or try to debug the problem and drive in with pride. True to the MIT spirit, the team decided to fix the issue and try to make the stage stop before 4PM.

Since it was raining heavily yet again, the team trailered Chopper once more to a parking lot about 20 miles from the finish line. At 2PM, the electrical team quickly got to work. After an hour and a half, the electrical team had successfully fixed the issue! With only thirty minutes to spare, the team sprang into action! By 3:55PM, we had driven 17 miles and only had 3 miles left to reach the finish line. Thanks to a MIT alumni at the finish line, the officials extended the finish line closing to 4:10PM. With only a few minutes to spare, the MIT team rushed forward to reach the finish line. At exactly 4:08PM, Chopper del Sol finished the 2012 American Solar Challenge.

The team is all smiles as MIT officially finished ASC in St. Paul, MN.

Despite all the setbacks, the MIT team never gave up. Even with all the late nights of work and despair, every minute of the journey was a valuable and fun experience for all the members. The 2012 American Solar Challenge was an underdog story that will never be forgotten. 

We would like to thank all our sponsors and fans for making 2012 ASC possible! Without your support, none of this amazing journey would have been possible. More pictures of the race and team will be uploaded to the blog shortly.