June 13, 2003 at 9:52 a.m.

Full speed ahead-Super Mileage Team continues to make tracks

Full speed ahead-Super Mileage Team continues to make tracks
Full speed ahead-Super Mileage Team continues to make tracks

Chisago Lakes High School’s supermileage car program is finely-tuned, and we’re not just talking about the vehicle engines. In his 14 years as program advisor Mike Sandell has developed better and better systems of delivering the cars, materials and the kids, and it shows. This year’s MTEA Supermileage Challenge posted Chisago Lakes’ vehicles solidly in second place in three categories. That’s out of 90 cars (approximately 40 schools registered) passing inspection to certify their runs.

The supermileage runs are held at Brainerd Speedway in May. They are sponsored by the Minnesota Technology Education Association and Corn Growers of Minnesota

“They had to work for it,” Sandell said of the impressive finishes in the technology competition.

The three vehicles Chisago Lakes students put into the competition were running in stock class, modified and E-85 classes. They took second in all three. (E class is for 80 percent ethanol fuel, stock and modified vehicles run on regular gasoline.)

In the supermileage program the aim is high miles per gallon. The competition pits schools against each other to see who can develop the vehicle that will go farthest and longest. There’s rules for what can be used in the extremely lightweight car production and operation, including speed. The Chisago Stock vehicle had 510.27 mpg on average in its six runs. The modified ran at 618.18 mpg and the E-85 car went 479.025 miles to the gallon.

Sandell gives extra credit (pun intended) to the local business community for assisting the students and himself in acquiring materials and for sharing expertise. “Alot of it (success) depends on the fundraising and paying for equipment. We raised close to $2,500 in donations from local business.”

This year 10 students participated in the program, as vehicle designers, builders and operators-pit crew. Sandell said he averages about 10 to 15 students in the program annually.

This season, the Wildcat group’s itinerary included a trip to Michigan for an international supermileage event, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). It was held at Marshall, MI Eaton automobile proving grounds. Sandell said only about six high schools were entered, with 20 college level programs represented. “It’s fun to see how you can do compared to the rest,” he remarked. The Chisago Lakes modified vehicle was the only car they ran, and it registered at a tad over 1,015 miles per gallon


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