Electric Cars Zip (Quietly) Around Hawkeye Downs

Brady Smith, KCRG-TV9
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Hawkeye Downs Speedway was uncharactaristically quiet Saturday, as electric cars raced around on its sun-b

With speeds topping out at around 40 miles per hour, the Indy 500 this is not, but high speeds aren’t the point of this race. It’s all about endurance.

“I like being able to get out there and just go,” said Lexie Kennedy, driver of Kennedy High School’s A-30. It’s an elongated yellow car, showing signs that this isn’t its first time around the tarmac. “Aerodynamics is a big part of it, and batteries, too.”

After the green flag drops, drivers like Kennedy have to see how many laps their cars can complete, over two hour-long races.

Jim Morrow and his team from Elkhorn, Nebraska are racing the futuristic-looking Jetsons car, and one called “Purple Rain.”

“The slowest ones might not even finish the race,” Morrow explained. “It’s a combination of how well you drive, how good are your aerodynamics, even something as simple as how well you have your tires aligned so you don’t have tire scrub.”

“You see people doing it and it looks so easy, and once you get in there, there’s a lot of challenges,” said Kennedy. “But once you get to know what you’re doing, it gets a lot easier.”

Kennedy looked comfortable sitting in the car, which has little wiggle room, and appears cramped. “The shoulders a little bit, but other than that, it’s really roomy,” Kennedy told us. “Your butt goes a little numb, but other than that, it’s really comfortable in here.”

Morrow calls this “the ultimate science lab.”

“Take everything you learned in classroom, and find a way to apply it here,” Morrow said.

From pit-stop tinkering to tire-blowing breakdowns, these kids are tackling real-world problems outside of the classroom.

“You’re learning teamwork, and you’re learning how to build things,” Kennedy told us.

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