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Story contributed by Ralph Riello
At 6 am On Friday November 3rd, the Hawk Fabrication & Design Electrathon team led by Mr. Carangelo journeyed to Lime Rock Raceway to begin their 3rd full year of competition. The weeks leading up to the race were spent making final tweaks and modifications to cars “068” and “077”. On Thursday, both vehicles were loaded on a trailer with all the necessary equipment and hauled off by Mr. Riello for their date with destiny.
Upon arrival at Lime Rock, bus, trailer, and truck released their load of tents, coolers, video gear, grill, cars, tools, and people. A pit stall and operations compound was quickly created thanks to teamwork and a clear desire for first place.
The daunting task of driver check-in and vehicle inspection had begun. Drivers Joe Deschenes and Brett Petruny completed a written exam for on-track rules while the car underwent vigorous testing of braking ability and setup to ensure they were “legal” to run. Thanks to expert prep, both cars passed inspection with little trouble. The drivers passed their test, and the team was ready for competition.
Normally competition consists of two heats, one hour each. Due to a small turnout of 16 teams only one heat was scheduled, pitting Woodland’s two entries against each other as well as the other 15 schools. The cars were prepped, batteries were loaded and with a couple of final tweaks and fixes, 068 and 077 were rolled onto the track for the green flag start. With excitement mounting in the pits, the flag waved and both entries took off. Rounding the second corner, 068 piloted by Joe Deschenes, threw a chain from the rear tire. Pit crew members Derek and Amir sprung into action, quickly tensioning the chain while 3 laps ticked off. At this point both cars were running well and consistently.
As the minutes ticked away, both cars hummed along with plenty of voltage left to bring home the gold. At the 30 minute mark, both cars pulled in the pits for a mandatory driver change. Our drivers get out and back in, a technicality that qualified as a driver change. The last half hour of the race had both drivers cruising along with no issues. Sadly, fate intervened. At the 20 minute mark, 077 experienced a chain slip. Pit crew leaders Derek and Tim had 077 running again in 2 laps. With little time left and diminishing voltage, both drivers were instructed to pick up the pace. By the 16 minute mark, 077 lost power and dropped out. 068 soldiered on as 077 pitted for the last time. Car 068 lost voltage and pitted with only 10 minutes to go.
Although heavier and older, Car 068 ran a solid 42 laps by the team’s count. Newly designed and lighter, 077 ran an unexpected 37 laps, prompting the need for a return to the design board. This placed the team 4th overall out of 16 entries. Not the finish we wanted, but an excellent day nonetheless. As usual Mr. Riello played hauler/grill man and our well-fed and overworked team departed happy. They cooperated with the Hawk Productions crew to document the event in a soon to be released feature story recounting the event, and we even had a visit by team alumni Tom Lawlor and Drew Korzon.
The team headed back to Woodland knowing the changes needed to for the next race. Mr Carangelo’s deconstruction meeting this past Monday has Hawk Fabrication & Design ready and better prepared for the spring race. Car 077 and a newly designed car to be constructed will compete there. Car 068 was retired at a somber ceremony after running its last laps at Lime Rock. It will be deconstructed and live on to improve 077 and the new concept car. Thank you all for your support and interest.