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PHOTOS: Willmar students win supermileage car challenge

Willmar students won the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association Supermileage Challenge at Brainerd International Raceway with a car that recorded a top performance single run of 532.55 miles per gallon.

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Willmar Senior High School students Jose Gutierrez, from left, Dustin Seubert and Kole Lindemann pose with the supermileage car they recently took first place with at the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association 34th Annual Supermileage Challenge at Brainerd International Raceway on May 15-16. The car, which competed in the Pro Sport division, recorded a top performance single run of 532.55 miles per gallon in the competition.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR β€” A trip from New York City to Los Angeles would take just a splash over five gallons of gasoline if making the trip in the newest version of Willmar Senior High School's supermileage car.

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Students Daniel Pauff, Kole Lindemann, Dustin Seubert and Jose Gutierrez labored approximately 200 hours this school year tweaking the supermileage car, which has been modified over the last few years.

Right when they had the car in tip-top shape and ready to compete, they ventured up to Brainerd International Raceway, where they competed May 15-16 in the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association 34th Annual Supermileage Challenge .

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Dustin Seubert, a student at Willmar Senior High School, fastens into the driver's seat of the student team's supermileage car to demonstrate just how tight a fit it is to maneuver the vehicle around Brainerd International Raceway.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Willmar has been competing in the event since 1997, winning previously in 2012. The team has placed second and third numerous times over the years. This year's car finished with an average performance for all runs of 480.5 miles per gallon, and a top run of 532.55 in the Pro Sport division.

According to teacher Mike Kroeker, the team's car greatly benefited in this year's competition by incorporating a new hub for the rear wheel. The hub was machined by Onyx Racing Products out of St. Augusta. The team spent two years looking for the part, Kroeker said.

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A new hub for the rear tire of Willmar Senior High School's supermileage car machined by Onyx Racing Products in St. Augusta made all the difference winning this year's Pro Sport division at the 34th Annual Supermileage Challenge.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

This year's competition featured 33 schools and 53 teams in total, competing in various divisions including electric, urban concept, urban electric, super sport, pro sport, electric and E-85.

Every three years, teams have to build a completely new vehicle. This was the second year this car has competed, meaning students will have one more year to tweak this car in hopes of increasing its mileage capabilities.

"We get to run it one more year and start all over again," Kroeker said.

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Jose Gutierrez, from left, Kole Lindemann and Dustin Seubert carry their supermileage car out to the parking lot of Willmar Senior High School on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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Macy Moore is an award-winning photojournalist at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota.
She can be reached via email: mmoore@wctrib.com or phone: 320.214.4338.
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