May 30, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.

All girls E85 Supermileage Challenge team competes at Brainerd Int'l Raceway

All girls E85 Supermileage Challenge  team competes at Brainerd Int'l Raceway
All girls E85 Supermileage Challenge team competes at Brainerd Int'l Raceway

Working on small engines isn’t just guys any more. Just ask the all-girls team from Chisago Lakes High School. The team of Amy Peterson, Erin Sandell, Courtney Benson, Jaci Vitali and Nicole Schmitz finished second in the E85 division with an average of 239.19 mpg in 10 runs, at Brainerd Raceway.

Sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association for most of its 25-year existence, the Supermileage Challenge is an event where students try to build the most fuel-efficient vehicle possible. Nearly 500 students from 50 schools built more than 80 cars to compete in this year’s Supermileage Challenge, which included E85 (ethanol), modified, stock and electric divisions. Sandell and Schmitz participated in 2012 and convinced the others to join them this year. The girls estimated that they put in at least 90 hours working on the car.

“There was a little frustration, but we learned a lot,” Sandell said. “It’s been interesting.” Work on this year’s car included installing a fuel injection system, designing an intake adapter and installing components attached to the wiring harness. The crew also needed to fix an electrical short in the system to get the vehicle running properly in the competition. Chisago Lakes also has Supermileage teams in other divisions, but the E85 team was the only all-girls squad. “There’s some friendly competition with the boys,” Schmitz said. “But it’s all in good fun.”


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