An electric hotrod built by Great Mills High School students broke the high school division record Saturday at a national electric drag racing competition in Hagerstown.
Their racer -- made from an old Mazda -- reached 80 mph on the quarter-mile track and finished with a time of 16.65 seconds at the Power of D.C. annual drag racing event hosted by the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA). It was the second year that high school teams have competed.
The Great Mills students also took the second place trophy for the High Voltage Division, surpassed only by an experienced drag racer. The competition for electric-powered cars and other vehicles is in its fourth year at the Mason-Dixon Dragway in Hagerstown, and it is one of a handful of NEDRA events around the country.
"They have the fastest street rod that is sanctioned by NEDRA in the country," said Larry Jarboe, a St. Mary's County commissioner and owner of the car who has been a volunteer adviser to the students.
Allen Skinner and Bryan Craley, science teachers at Great Mills, encouraged students in the Engineering Club to transform a rusty old Mazda into a high-tech electric car crackling with power and speed. Now it's got 216 volts, a new paint job and their school mascot -- a hornet -- plastered on the hood.
Last Thursday, the day after school ended for the summer, the students fired up the car for its first official race. That fast trip down the quarter mile at the Maryland International Raceway in Budds Creek was meant to be a warm-up for the weekend's main event.
Paul Graham, who just graduated from Great Mills and is headed to the Florida Institute of Technology in the fall, drove the car.
-- Susan Kinzie and Jessica Valdez