Fusion moves up to third in its class

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's solar car raced 325 miles into remote Saskatchewan on Sunday and passed Auburn University's car along the way.

That moved Fusion, Iowa State's student-built solar race car, into third place in the stock class of the North American Solar Challenge. The race's sponsors say the challenge is the world's longest solar car race.

Team PrISUm reached the Brandon, Manitoba, checkpoint trailing stock-class cars from Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley. But it had moved 17 minutes ahead of Auburn.

Fusion continued to trail eight cars from the more powerful open class. That put Fusion in 11th place overall at the Brandon checkpoint. The University of Minnesota was seven minutes ahead of the University of Michigan for the overall lead.

The Iowa State team camped in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, Sunday night. That was a long way from anywhere, reported team member Ryan Pfeiffer. But the senior from Council Bluffs who's studying mechanical engineering wasn't complaining too much.

Fusion had averaged 43 mph for the day. The racing weather was "gorgeous all day." And it wasn't even hot along the Trans-Canada Highway. "It's almost chilly," Pfeiffer said.

Team PrISUm expects to make Medicine Hat, Alberta, late Monday afternoon, Pfeiffer said. That's the final checkpoint before the race's finish line in Calgary, Alberta. Teams that make it to Medicine Hat on Monday can spend all day Tuesday preparing for Wednesday's final sprint into Calgary.

The North American Solar Challenge started July 17 with 20 university teams trying to race 2,500 miles from Austin, Texas, to Calgary. Sixteen teams made it through the Brandon checkpoint Sunday.