The Kids Get Jiggy with Electricity

All Juiced Up and 20+ Miles to Go...

Students from all parts of Connecticut – and Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey – go electric at Electrathon races. Race results below. A small collection of photographs from the event can be found on Lime Rock Park’s Facebook page. A video from 2010 -- some of the same cars were here then -- can be found here.

The 2011 Connecticut Electrathon autumn competition was held Tuesday, October 25 at Lime Rock Park on the full infield autocross course in the track’s infield. There were a record number of entries – 20 – with high school and college teams from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.

Electrathon is a national program for engineering and technical students who design and construct electric race cars under the auspices of teachers and professors in order to advance the state of all-electric mobility.

Twice a year, Lime Rock Park donates its facility and manpower to the Connecticut division of Electrathon, which is organized by former Torrington High School tech teacher Mike Grella. The spring race is usually in May, and the autumn contest in October.


Yes, indeed, that's carbon fiber. Like an F1 car. Photos by Rick Roso

The winner of each class (there are four) is the team that can cover the most miles in one hour while lapping the 4/10s-mile Lime Rock autocross. Each team starts with identical, fully charged Optima 12-volt car batteries, so the test is one of design efficiency, minimal rolling friction and aerodynamic drag, minimal weight (the cars are ballasted with lead to equalize driver weights) and driving tactics, strategy and technique. Lime Rock’s autocross is a stern test, with 11 corners and significant elevation changes.

Even within the relatively strict rules of the Electrathon formula, the variety of designs and construction the students come up with is... fascinating.

Of note was the Long Lake, N.Y., Central School (pre-K – 12) team, which drove nearly 300 miles to Lime Rock from upstate New York, having to leave at 4:00 a.m. to make the race, their first time at this event. The team finished second in the Novice Class.

Also making “long hauls,” as is said in the racing business, were Rockport High School (shoreline north of Boston), Franklin County High School (central Mass., near Deerfield) and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ, Ewing, N.J., near Princeton).

The event is extremely well organized and with each team comprised of student engineers and their many friends and family – plus the invaluable help of Central Connecticut State University volunteers, who handle tech inspection, flagging and timing & scoring – there were close to 350 people on site. The weather was stellar, the competition was fierce but friendly, and everybody had a good time... and learned a lot.

A small collection of photographs from the event can be found on Lime Rock Park’s Facebook page. More information can be found at

Results from the October, 25, 2011 Connecticut Electrathon autumn competition at Lime Rock Park:
Team, town (car no.), laps/miles completed (reason out)

Novice Class
Haddam-Killingworth H.S., Higganum, Conn. (133CT), 40L/16 mi.
Long Lake Central School, Long Lake, N.Y. (20NY), 35L/14 mi.
Ridgefield H.S., Ridgefield, Conn. (308CT), 3L/1.2 mi. (mechanical)

Classic Class
Lyme-Old Lyme H.S., Old Lyme, Conn. (5CT), 52L/20.8 mi.
Nathan Hale-Ray H.S., Moodus, Conn. (16CT), 52L/20.8 mi.
Lyme-Old Lyme H.S., Old Lyme, Conn. (236CT), 50L/20 mi.
Old Saybrook H.S., Old Saybrook, Conn. (395CT), 48L/19.2 mi.
Somers H.S., Somers, Conn. (209CT), 43L/17.2 mi.
Rockport H.S., Rockport, Mass. (66MA), 40L/16 mi.
Farmington H.S., Farmington, Conn. (520CT), 39L/15.6 mi.
Franklin Co. Tech School, Turners Falls, Mass. (007MA), 34L/13.6 mi.
Farmington H.S., Farmington, Conn. (522CT), 33L/13.2 mi.
Simsbury H.S., Simsbury, Conn. (651CT), 27L/10.8 mi.

Composite-Construction Class
*Nathan Hale-Ray H.S., Moodus, Conn. (17CT), 56L/22.4 mi.
Somers H.S., Somers, Conn. (211CT), 45L/18 mi.
Somers H.S., Somers, Conn. (210CT), 44L/17.6 mi.
Nonnewaug H.S., Woodbury, Conn. (665CT), 43L/17.2 mi. 
Rockport H.S., Rockport, Mass. (56MA), 40L/16 mi.
Cheshire H.S., Cheshire, Conn. (107CT), 38L/15.2 mi.

Solar Class
TCNJ, Ewing, N.J. (011NJ), 45L/18 mi. 

*Overall winner



Brand-new Sunday in the Park video

Want to see a really interesting video about the most recent Sunday in the Park Concours? Then please click here!

Dom Miliano is a freelance auto writer. His god son is a young man named Stephen Candio. Dom wrote a story a couple years ago for Forza Magazine about Stephen titled "The Making of a Car Guy." At the time, Stephen was 13 and the piece was about his first time at a race track: Lime Rock Park. Stephen is a recent graduate of Full Sail University in Florida and is the cinematographer and editor of this Sunday in the Park story. He did a great job.

We're pretty sure you're going to like it...





Thule Mounts Lime Rock


Roof racks for race cars? No. Well, not yet, anyway...

LAKEVILLE, Conn. - You know those really trick Thule ski racks, aerodynamic roof carriers and zoomy bike racks that you see mounted on everything from Pintos to Pininfarinas?

Yes? Okay, so how cool is this...

From now on, those Thule products, and others, will have been tested at Lime Rock Park before you head off to the store to buy them.

Management at Thule’s U.S. research and development facility in Seymour, Conn., has signed an agreement to conduct its rigorous field testing of existing and future products at Lime Rock Park, beginning this month.

Click here for a short video taken during the first test day

Click here for photographs

Thule (“TOO – lee”) Inc., the Sweden-based makers of a wide range of vehicle carrying and towing accessories, including its instantly recognizable roof, bike, kayak and ski racks for cars, trucks and SUVs, will have near year-round access to the track’s test facilities. Until now, Thule’s non-laboratory product testing was conducted at its Seymour factory and parking lot.

Karl Wiedemann, channel marketing and PR manager for Thule, Inc., said, “We have a lot of racing and driving enthusiasts here at the factory who are already fans of Lime Rock Park, which is a bit more than an hour’s drive. When our test engineer insisted that we could improve our testing protocols and procedures at a dedicated track... well, it just made perfect sense to pick up the phone to talk to Lime Rock.”

Lime Rock Park and Thule also expect to take advantage of numerous marketing and promotion synergies as the partnership develops.

Even before this test-facility agreement with Lime Rock Park was finalized, since 1999 Thule has required its field test engineers to graduate from a two-day Skip Barber driving school.

Reed Frick, one of Thule’s test engineers and driver, says, “Testing at Lime Rock is a tremendous advantage – it gives us a whole new level of repeatability. And in such a strictly controlled environment, we can be even more aggressive with our protocols.”

The Seymour, Conn., plant, along with a facility in Chicago, manufactures 80 percent of the Thule products sold in North America.

The Thule Group is a world leader in products and brands designed to transport lifestyle equipment securely, safely and in style. Under the motto “Active Life, Simplified,” the Thule Group offers products within four areas: Vehicle Solutions (roof racks, bike racks, ski boxes, snow chains, etc.), Towing Solutions (towbars and trailers), Carry Solutions (laptop and camera bags, backpacks, etc.) and Work Solutions (ladder racks, tool boxes, etc.).

The Thule Group has 3,100 employees at more than 50 production facilities and sales offices worldwide. In 2010 sales amounted to SEK 5.7 billion (US 700 million).



Marine Motivated to Get Back Into His Z

Liam Dwyer of Southbury, Conn., is a member of C.A.R.T., the Connecticut Autocross and Rally Team club that rents track days at Lime Rock Park. He's also a Marine  sergeant who lost his left leg in Afghanistan in May. But watch him in this NBC 30 segment produced yesterday and you will know he's going to be back in his car, a red Nissan 350Z, to lap Lime Rock Park again, no matter what...


A Penny for your Thoughts....

Todd Szegedy wins "66/99" presented by Town Fair Tire    Click here for a bunch of great shots from Saturday at Lime Rock Park

Mrs. Griffin’s Penny Helps Szegedy Win the Town Fair Tire “66/99”

LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Sept. 17) – One of the duties of a star in any racing championship is the PR meet and greets with VIPs, local movers and shakers, promoters, etc. At Lime Rock Park, fans that buy Fan Hospitality tickets also get a visit from a top driver. As polesitter for the Whelen Modified “66/99” Presented by Town Fair Tire for the second year in a row, Todd Szegedy volunteered to meet those fans at lunch time today, about 90 minutes before the start of the race. After hobnobbing with the fans in the hospitality chalet, as Szegedy was leaving a woman came up to him and handed him a “lucky” penny. “Put this in your pocket for the race,” she advised.

And he did.


Then Szegedy went out and not only won the race, he did so after falling off the road not once but twice, willing himself back to the lead. After the race, Szegedy was asked, “Hey, you didn’t really need that lucky penny, did you?”

“Oh, man, yes I did. I want to thank Mrs. Griffin for that!”, as he dug the penny out of his pocket and showed it to the media. “I’m keepin’ it!”

Wherever you stand on the value of talismans, Szegedy was an absolute animal in his #2 Wisk Detergent/A&J Romano Construction Ford. After leading handily in the first half of the race, a slow pit stop put him down three positions. Then trying too hard saw him slip off the road twice; once in the Downhill and the second time in Big Bend, as he was battling hard with Teddy Christopher on a re-start.

But he knew he had a very good car and was gonna win this race, no matter what.

“I said this morning, I’m not points-racing today – I’m racing to win this thing, come heck or high water,” Sszegedy said post-race. “Man, this feels good.”

Finishing second was another road race ace, Mike Stefanik, who had won full-bodied NASCAR races at Lime Rock when the stock cars raced here. Stefanik came from sixth on the grid and he too had to work his way back to the sharp end of the field at various times. Third in a fine effort was the young Justin Bonsignore, the 24-year-old looking calm and collected all day.

With just a dozen laps to go, the leader was actually Doug Coby, his team having given him a good pit stop late in the race, but on a re-start, Coby made a mistake in West Bend and put it hard in the fence under the Bailey Bridge. After a brief red flag to fix the Armco, it was Stefanik leading Szegedy. But within two laps of the re-start, Szegedy popped a pass going into Big Bend, and then gapped Stefanik the last four laps.

“And boy, I had some more luck, too,” Szegedy said. “The last three laps, the engine was bucking and burbling in the Downhill– I was running out of gas!. But I didn’t tell the crew, I didn’t want them to have to suffer that knowledge. And it all worked out.”

Besides making up for last year – Szegedy had led every lap last year, except for the final four – his win in the Town Fair Tire “66/99” did something else: It moved him to first in points, a scant 12 in front of Ronnie Silk, the points leader coming into Lime Rock who got tangled up in an eight-car real estate dispute in the Lefthander that put him a lap down and earned him a desultory 15th.

Rounding out the top 10 were Richie Pallai, Jr., in fourth, Ted Christopher (he too had to slice his way back to the front twice during the race) in fifth, followed by Rowan Pennink, Erick Rudolph, Eric Beers, Kevin Goodale and in 10th, Patrick Emerling.

The complete box score of the Whelen Modified “66/99” Presented by Town Fair Tire is here, on the NASCAR Home Tracks web pages.

Also on today’s Lime Rock Park card were two SCCA Pro Racing open-wheel championships, the F1600 “Formula F” series and the F2000 series. Each championship held two races today.

In race one for F2000, points leader Remy Audette of France had the measure of 40-year-old Tim Minor and Angel Benitez, and in race two, Chris Livengood beat Audette and Tim Paul.

In F1600, Bill “The World’s Fastest” Valet nipped Art Foster for the win in race one, with Colin Thompson third, while in race two, it was Foster with a last-lap pass for the win, over Ryan Leach and Thompson.

- Rick Roso