Columbus, Neb. – With Werner Park as a backdrop, 39 electric-powered vehicles fought off some early rain and windy conditions in the annual Power Drive Championships Saturday.
Eventually the sun broke through towards the end of the competition with Syracuse and Bancroft-Rosalie high schools taking top overall honors in the 2015 competition finals. The event has been held annually since 1998 and is co-sponsored by the Nebraska Public Power District and the Omaha Public Power District. Forty teams from Nebraska and Iowa competed Saturday.
High school students throughout the state build their cars during the school year and test them during spring rallies. In the finals, each car’s performance in endurance, braking, maneuverability, design engineering, as well as documentation supplied by each competing school, determined the championship winners. Points were awarded in each category for teams competing in Advanced and Standard classes, and were combined to tally a final score.
Bancroft-Rosalie (car A20) was the overall winner in the Advanced Class, followed by Elkhorn in second, Wayne third, Bancroft-Rosalie (car A31) in fourth, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kennedy took the fifth spot. Wayne High School took top honors in the Maneuverability category, Elkhorn was first in Design Engineering, and Elkhorn received top honors in Documentation.
In the endurance rally, Raymond Central topped the Advanced Class by completing 47.8 laps in the 60-minute race, followed closely by Bancroft-Rosalie (A20) in second with 47.15 laps, and Bancroft-Rosalie (A31) third with 47.1 laps.
Syracuse was the overall champion in the Standard Class, followed by Cedar Rapids Kennedy in second, Elkhorn in third, Bancroft-Rosalie fourth, and Friend fifth. Syracuse also won the Maneuverability category. Winside received best Design Engineering and Elkhorn was named the winner for Documentation.
In the endurance rally of the Standard Class, Friend led the competition with 42.3 laps completed. Cedar Rapids Kennedy finished second with 40.5 laps to edge out Syracuse which completed 40.1 laps.
Wayne was first in the Exhibition Class endurance rally with 43.3 laps completed, followed by Elkhorn with 40.5 laps, and Raymond Central was third with 30 laps completed. In the Novice Division endurance rally, Dundy County-Stratton finished first with 31.1 laps followed by Winside in second with 28 laps.
The award for Best Pit Crew went to Bancroft-Rosalie (A20), and Howells-Dodge received the award for Best Performance by a First Year Team. Elkhorn High School (car S5) won the Ken Kitchen Best Paint/Finish Award.
Zachary Brandenburg of Raymond Central High School was the recipient of the $1,000 OPPD Power Drive Scholarship and Jordan Masek, also of Raymond Central, was the winner of the $1,000 Paul High Memorial Scholarship.
Saturday’s event marked the completion of this year’s Power Drive program. Previous races were held in Lincoln, Hastings, and West Point this spring.
The following were the top three in each of the various categories:
- Maneuverability– 1. Syracuse; 2. Friend; 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy;
- Design Engineering– 1. Winside; 2. Syracuse; 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy;
- Documentation– 1. Elkhorn 2. Cedar Rapids Kennedy. 3. Stanton
- Maneuverability– 1. Wayne; 2. Deshler; 3. Bancroft-Rosalie (A20);
- Design Engineering– 1. Elkhorn; 2. Wayne; 3. Beatrice;
- Documentation– 1. Elkhorn; 2. Wayne; 3. Bancroft-Rosalie (A20).