Experience the excitement of motors, mud and mechanical engineering with Baja SAE 2008

Hear engines roar, see mud fly, feel adrenaline pump -- the course is ready, cars are tuned and painted, and teams are arriving for the 2008 Baja SAE competition that begins tomorrow and culminates with an endurance race Saturday at Tennessee Tech University.

Race fans, casual car mechanics, kids who like mud and just the curious are invited to watch as 93 teams compete in the collegiate off-road racing series sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Saturday's four-hour endurance race begins at 9 a.m. on a two-mile course with a water hazard more than 3 feet deep.

"There are three, large spectator areas within the course with great views," said Dale Wilson, event organizer. "This is a high-energy, exciting competition to watch."

Thursday, static events will take place at TTU's Hyder-Burks Pavilion. On Friday, the community can drop by to see the dynamic events competition -- including sled pull, water maneuverability and acceleration-- from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The course is located between Ninth and 12 th streets; it is bordered by TTU's baseball and softball fields and Pine Avenue.

Local fans can root for two Tennessee Tech entries. This year's TTU Baja team captain Michael Coradini, says he's expecting to successfully defend the team's reputation as one of the best ever. TTU's team won the Dayton Cup, the national Baja award for the year's best team, in 2002 and 2003. TTU has 11 first place finishes and 26 Top 5 finishes since the team began competing.

Teams from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Columbia, India, France, Venezuela and Mexico will compete, including two all-women teams -- University of Alabama's Crimson GRITS (Girls Racing in the South) and Embry Riddle's Lady Eagles.

Admission for spectators is free, and refreshments will be available for purchase. Shuttle buses will run from the Capital Quad area to the competition site to alleviate parking issues during the weekend in which spring commencement is also scheduled.

For a preview of the action, go to youtube.com and search for "SAE Extreme" for video of similar events. For more detailed information, go to tttubaja2008.com. If you have questions, contact TTU's Mechanical Engineering office at 372-3275.

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