The forecast for the football team might be partly cloudy, but the sun is shining brightly on the University of Michigan's solar car team.
Last month the sunshine squad whipped 12 rivals for its third straight victory in the annual American Solar Challenge, a showcase of solar engineering technology.
The competition started in Broken Arrow, Okla., on June 20 and ended in Naperville, Ill., on June 26. The University of Michigan's car was the first across the finish line, with a final time for the 1,100-mile run of 28 hours, 14 minutes and 44 seconds, almost two hours ahead of its nearest competitor. That works out to about 39 mph.
Michigan won, in part, because of the reliability of its car, known as the Infinium. While breakdowns dogged several other teams, the Michigan students faced only minor setbacks. Rain shorted out a lighting board on the Infinium, but the students managed to fix it in five minutes on the roadside.
And a black widow spider moved into the spare battery pack, but the students removed it with a long pair of pliers.