TTU Baja takes another Top 5 finish on difficult home course

"O, Canada" turned out to be the victory cry in the 2008 Baja SAE contest held at Tennessee Tech University as Queen's University of Ontario, Canada, took top honors over more than 90 other competitors.

Tennessee Tech's team, which entered two cars, took 5th and 22nd place, but churned their way to the top of the water maneuverability trials, placing first and second.

"We broke a lot of Baja vehicles over the weekend, and in my four-plus years in the [college design series], it was the toughest," said Sam Barill, SAE's collegiate programs manager.

Just minutes into the competition, several teams were towed or pushed into the pits to repair damage or make adjustments. Participants and spectators say the course took its toll because of the skill and commitment of lead course designer Justin Stacy.

Overall, Rochester Institute of Technology finished second, Virginia Tech took third, while the University of Louisiana-Lafayette placed fourth.

TTU placed third in the Autodesk Inventor Design Communication honors, awarded to the team(s) whose exemplary design report demonstrates the best written and graphic communication of their engineering and design process . TTU also took third for the Polaris Design Award.

Dale Wilson, lead organizer and team faculty adviser, says hundreds of volunteers helped make the event successful.

"We want to thank community sponsors and community and campus volunteers, some of whom helped throughout the year leading up to the event," said Wilson.

TTU's team still holds the greatest legacy in the national competition since 1978. TTU's team won the Dayton Cup, the national Mini Baja award for the year's best team, in 2002 and 2003. TTU has 11 first place finishes and 27 Top 5 finishes since the team began competing.

Stacy says the course will remain as it is for a few weeks in order for the TTU team to test for the next competition. Then, the pond will be filled in, the area will be leveled and grass will be sown.

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