Students Win Award for Race Car

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Fairmont State mechanical engineering technology students brought home the Briggs & Stratton Award for water crossing during the Mini Baja East Competition earlier this month in Auburn, Ala.

The Mini Baja is sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers and features three regional competitions. The East Competition includes three days of competitions in hill climbing, acceleration, braking, speed, suspension, water crossing and a four-hour endurance race. Students from close to 70 colleges and universities competed in the event at Auburn University, testing their skills at designing and building an off-road vehicle that can sustain itself through rough terrain and water. The vehicles are powered by a 10-horsepower engine.

Fairmont State University students competing in the event were Derek Payne, Chris Goodwin, Dave Calhoun, Jason Bell, Chris Hall, Adam Rogers, Vince Gala, Dan Morris, Janelle Piercey, William Varner, Christina Catrill, Jared Lowery, Craig Poland, Jeff Bolen, Chris Jones and Jessica Titus.

Merle Thomas, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said about half of the FSU students competing this year were on last year's Mini Baja East Competition team, which brought home the trophy for Overall Best Rookie Team.

Sophomore Adam Rogers is looking forward to competing again next year when the East Competition is held in West Virginia. His favorite competition is the four-hour endurance race.

"I like that because that's when we see how long we can go. If we can make that without breaking that's a pretty good deal," he said.

Race sponsors included Bill Kelley Racing, Novellis, T & F Exploration, Precision Coil, Pratt & Whitney Engine Services, Inc., Wilson Ford, Rocket Chassis and the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) for which John Ciesla serves as President of the Mountaineer Chapter.

The FSU College of Science and Technology offers academic programs and opportunities for pre-professional study ranging from architectural engineering, aviation technology, civil engineering, electronics engineering, mechanical engineering and safety/environmental engineering to technology education and graphics technology. For more information about these programs, visit

The Society of Automotive Engineers has more than 84,000 members -- engineers, business executives, educators and students from more than 97 countries -- who share information and exchange ideas for advancing the engineering of mobility systems. For more information about SAE International, visit