Okay, so it didn’t get quite as much press as Ben Curtis’s surprise victory in the British Open or the Funny Cide-Empire Maker standoff in the Belmont Stakes, but for the 20 cars that took off from Chicago on July 13, the race was every bit as exciting. The event in question was the American Solar Challenge, the world’s longest solar car race, which ended Wednesday in Claremont, Calif., when the University of Missouri-Rolla team crossed the finish line five hours ahead of the pack. The $100,000 winning car was built by a team of students and, like all the participating vehicles, was powered strictly by solar energy. (The single-passenger cars were driven only from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the 2,300-mile race.) The Solar Challenge, now in its second year, is sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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