Taking the Baja SAE car for a spin made me feel like a kid again.

Tennessee Tech has a great culture of healthy competitiveness and a tradition of excellence in everything that we do.  That spirit is nowhere more evident than within our world-best student Baja team in the College of Engineering. Tech has won a total of 12 Baja Championships, twice the number of any other school in the country!

As you can see from the video, I recently enjoyed the honor of taking the 2011 Championship Baja car for a joy ride on the campus test track.  The helmet effectively conceals the mile-wide grin across my face.  For about half an hour, I was 12 years old again, but I assure you this was not the backyard go-cart from my childhood.  This is a very well-engineered machine capable of hitting 35 mph with only a 10-horse engine, designed to withstand a four-hour endurance race negotiating jumps, bumps, rocks and mud holes.

However, the most impressive part of the afternoon was spending time with the team leaders.  No team in the NCAA Final Four has greater focus or commitment than our Baja Team.  They take great pride in the quality of their engineering, work together as an efficient team, and they put in hundreds of hours to produce the tangible result of their collective daydreams.  What great examples of the Tennessee Tech spirit!  Just being around the team for a few minutes made me long to be 20 years old again.

These students are headed for great futures. Here’s a bit of proof. Check out what former Baja team member Amy McDow Elliott is doing now.

One of the highlights of this spring will be hosting the 2013 Baja SAE Collegiate Design Competition on campus.  About 100 teams from around the U.S. and eight foreign countries will bring their cars to our Shipley Farm April 18-21 to compete for this year’s crown.  Spectators are welcome, so come out and enjoy the competition and support our team. It will be a great event and a wonderful opportunity to showcase Tennessee Tech.  We have a lot to be proud of.

Go Eagles!