Vroom-vrooming to a win
Cassville class takes first place in state-wide challenge
The Cassville industry technology class came back first-place winners in the bio-diesel category of the state’s SuperMileage Challenge on April 16.
Marcus Reynolds, Cassville industrial technology teacher, said this is the first year the class entered into the bio-diesel category.
“We have done considerably more testing this year,” he said. “We finished the car before the competition, so we were able to test and work out a lot of the issues that came up.”
Reynolds said during the competition, there were only a couple of challenges.
“We had one run where the chain came off,” he said. “It was just because we used a new chain and it had stretched out enough to come loose.”
Reynolds said there was another run where a tire blew out, and they had to put a new tire and tube on the front.
“Other than that, we didn’t have many issues,” he said. “Last year, we got fourth place, and it made the students really want to do better, and they did.”
Reynolds said the judges took the average score over three runs.
“There were only three schools in the bio-diesel category,” he said. “The other schools had more issues than we did, so when they asked if they could take the average of three runs, we said yes.”
Reynolds said Cassville ended up having five runs total.
“We only did the bio-diesel this year,” he said. “We knew we were going to build a car from the ground up. My reasoning for wanting to do a bio-diesel car is because I want to be able to get students that I don’t normally work with, like chemistry, to get involved.”
Reynolds said the chemistry students can actually make the bio-diesel fuel needed for the competition.
“That would help make this a school-wide project,” he said. “The students wanted to do it mostly because they get excited about diesels and rolling coal.”
Reynolds said the students said after the competition that they want to build another gas car.
“They said since they won state this year, they want to win all the other trophies,” he said. “The students are already thinking about building the gas car for next year to enter two categories.”
Reynolds said there are five seniors in the class this year in the class, and a large number of sophomores.
“I am going to be able to keep this team for at least another two years,” he said. “I really hope it grows. I have been doing this since 2003.”
Reynolds said up until about 2008, there were between 30-40 schools that competed.
“Now, there are maybe 12-13 schools,” he said. “I would love to see other schools get back into it.”
Reynolds said a lot of schools are talking about hands-on projects in the school.
“I think it is good to get the science, math and other classes involved in one project,” he said. “It is good for the students to learn to work that way.
“In adult jobs, people have to communicate with different people in different departments to get the big picture completed. This can be a way for us to start teaching the students that.”
Reynolds said the plan for next year, is to build a bio-diesel and a gas care for the competition.
“In the Missouri SuperMileage Challenge, there are three categories,” he said. “The box stock, which is when you just purchase it and can’t make any changes, the bio-diesel, and the experimental category, which is anything like electronic fuel injection systems and really anything else. That is kind of the unlimited category.”
Reynolds said that category does cost considerably more to enter.
“But, that is where we can draw students in from other areas like robotics,” he said. “We have been slowly gaining on the amount of electronic equipment that we are using.”