Every June, a crew from Pitsco Education loads up and heads to the Technology Student Association’s national championships to help run the Dragster Design races. It’s always exciting, but this year something unprecedented happened – a competitor won the national event for the fourth year in a row.
This is significant for two reasons. First, the event coordinator for at least 30 years cannot recall anyone winning the event even two times in a row in the past. Second, this high school senior from Bradenton, Florida, is a young woman: Merritt Kendzior. The dragster event has always been dominated by young men, so Merritt’s consistent successes are an inspiration to girls who want to give engineering and building dragsters a shot.
To read about this impressive young lady’s reign, check out the full story on the Science of Speed website. While there, you might read on to learn about this year’s middle school winner, Hunter Raley, who is also from Bradenton, Florida!
This year’s event was a bit more challenging for all the competitors as the specifications called for a CO2 dragster with the wheels on the outside of the car, which hasn’t been common in decades. Recent generations of dragster designers are familiar with the shell car that has the wheels on the inside to reduce drag.
“Even in the middle and high school, I’ve never had outside-wheel cars, so I did a lot of testing to try to find the most aerodynamic shape and what was going to benefit the car the most,” Merritt said. “You’re going into the race automatically with a disadvantage because you have all this extra frontal area. But the game this year has become about how good you can design your car to accommodate it and what you can do to get past that disadvantage.”
Another TSA competition that Pitsco assists with is Transportation Modeling, which has a transportation theme for students to focus on as they create detailed models. Past years featured vehicles like classic cars and helicopters, but this year’s theme of motorcycles inspired some classic and beautiful bikes.
Read about the results in both the Dragster Design and Transportation Modeling events at www.science-of-speed.com. To get a close-up look at the dragsters and motorcycles created by this year’s competitors, check out the 2017 Showroom.