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South graduate participates in Lipscomb engineering competition

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By The Staff

Crestwood student Casey Burkhart was one of nine Lipscomb University engineering students who competed in the 2008 Baja SAE Competition, an off-road vehicle 100-mile endurance race held annually by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Burkhart spent the past school year helping to update and improve the Lipscomb vehicle constructed for the first time by students last year. Lipscomb’s dune buggy finished 34th out of 93 teams, an impressive showing for a university in only its second year of competition.

Burkhart is a South Oldham High School graduate and an engineering mechanics major.

The 2008 Baja SAE Competition took place May 1-3 at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tenn. Lipscomb’s 34th-place finish came largely due to a first-place finish in the sled pull race and a ninth-place finish in the land maneuverability race. Those are two of nine separate competitions that make-up the Baja SAE, a competition challenging students nationwide to design and build an off-road vehicle that can survive the severe punishment of a rough terrain and water track.

Teams from Virginia Tech to Georgia Tech, from Rochester Institute to Florida State, come out to motor in the mud, but the brutal off-road course knocks even big-name universities off-track.

Only 58 of the 93 teams made it to the 100-mile endurance race after two days of stringent tech inspections and races to test water maneuverability, land maneuverability, strength and acceleration.