Solar Car Races postponed to May 12

Collage of three pics - 2 student duos with their solar cars on the track at Gus Stadium
April 19, 2018

The Solar Car Races originally scheduled for Saturday, April 21, have been postponed due to expected rain and thunderstorms. The new race day is Saturday, May 12.

his year marks the 22nd year of the Texas Solar Race Car Event in Northside ISD. The races are a culminating event for students who have been working for weeks designing and building miniature solar-powered cars. Race day is Saturday, May 12 at Gustafson Stadium, 7001 Culebra. The event is free and open to the public. 

Gates open at 8 a.m. The opening ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. and the races run from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Though these are solar car races, there are no worries if the sun doesn’t shine - the cars also have battery-power as a backup.

Around 370 elementary teams, a total of 1,100 students, are expected to compete with three or four students on each team. Approximately 76 Northside schools will participate along with competitors from Southwest ISD and Village Parkway Christian School. After preliminary heats, quarterfinals, semifinals, and a final race, awards will be handed out to the top eight teams.

Last year, a team from Lewis ES won first place.

Northside School Board Trustee Bobby Blount is the long-time organizer of the event which started as a mentorship project at Rayburn Middle School to give students hands-on lessons in teamwork, renewable energy, problem-solving, and science and engineering.

“I love seeing the students’ excitement as they compete,” says Blount. “This is a real-life problem for teams to solve and it’s important that students see science and math as fun. These races help do just that.”

Solar cars is an afterschool science program for fourth and fifth grade students. They are provided a solar panel, gear box, and axle rods but the rest of the car design is up to them. In addition to learning about teamwork, students are also developing their engineering skills through the design and testing process.

Sponsors for this year’s event are Northside Elementary Science Department, the Northside Education Foundation, the MITRE Corporation, the National Defense Education Program, Cryptologic and Cyber Systems Division, and Raising Cane’s.