Race Day 4: From Chaperone Eric’s Perspective

Featured, General, Outreach, Structures, Texas / Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

This is a blog segment written by chaperones and their perspective on the race! Eric is a parent of team member Timothy [9], who was always with the team on the track or the Sky Palace (team condo overlooking the Texas Motor Speedway), willing to do absolutely ANYTHING.

“The first thing I do every morning after waking up is to see the Texas Motor Speedway and all it’s glory from the sky palace. Just like the previous 3 days of racing, day 4 came with great anticipation. It was the last day of the race with 9 laps deficit for our team. However, having witnessed the race from the top and how everyone stick to the mission, I was confident our team will defend the title. One word to sum up my conclusion is “Discipline”. It didn’t matter which team has the better solar panel, slicker bodywork or fancier design. Without discipline to execute a solid mission plan, all that hard work will be in vain.

After settling on the team’s lunch menu with my partner in crime Mr. Paul Batig, I went down to the track to pick up the telemetry boys to bring them up to the sky palace. That’s when I learned about the ruling of team’s protest effort the night before and the shocking news of Iron Lions’s fate for the last race day. In hindsight, it wasn’t a complete surprise. We ran a disciplined race where the Iron Lions ran an emotional one. In the sky palace, the parents were timing the laps of our car and the Iron Lions. We can clearly see how inconsistence the Iron Lions’s lap times were. Their aggressiveness and erratic behavior on the track was apparent that they did not have a sound strategy. In a stark contrast, our telemetry team has a solid strategy on how the race needs to be ran. As Timothy and Whitaker discussed and planed each move, they kept close communications with the drivers and pit crew on the ground. Observing the sun and cloud covering on the track. Calling out conditions of each turns and the straights. “Sky palace to hell, heavy traffic on turn three”, “slow traffic on back straight”. Drivers replayed the intel “heavy traffic on turn three, Roger

that!”. Since the data acquisition system was not operating properly, the drivers also relayed the voltage information back to the telemetry team when they complete each lap. It was a seamless collaboration within the team and a treat for me to witness/experience. Cheers would erupt with frantic camera clicking when La Cucaracha passes turn two. The excitement gets elevated with high fives in the air each time our guys overtake Iron Lions, especially when this happens in front of the palace. As quickly as the excitement build, everyone quickly gather and regroup themselves with the antioption of the next big move.

As a parent watching all of these, I was at aw on how poised the telemetry team and the ground crew executes the strategy, the intense analysis of the data, the ideas exchanges between them and the decisions they make. There were occasional differences of opinion on what the next move should be but they always come to an agreement based on conditions and data facts at hand. They understand their car and have total confidence and trust for each other. It was amazing to see the team come together to operate at such high level with complete control and conviction. These kids work hard to get to Texas. They worked even harder when they got there. Helping each other and stepping up to overcome challenges. Assisting other teams in need and build camaraderie. These priceless experiences will carry them far in their futures. Through it all, they executed the mission to near perfection and most importantly done it with discipline!

These are high school kids!? Holy smokes! Can’t wait to see what they will cook up next year.”

Eric [Chaperone] picks up the best BBQ in town for the team!

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