New York Mills students prepare for super mileage contest
By Carol Stender
Date Modified: 04/05/2012 2:01 PM
NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. —New York Mills junior Nick Hoyhtya has rebuilt dirt bike engines, a Ford Ranger and is restoring a Chevy.
Right now, a vehicle that can go approximately 350 miles, from the school to the state capitol and back, on 0.924 of a gallon of gas is getting all the attention.
Hoyhtya is among the New York Mills ag students building high mileage cars. They will join other students from 50 schools for a super mileage vehicle competition at the Brainerd International Raceway May 14 and 15.
New York Mills participated in the event last year, and it's fifith year for ag instructor Lucas Becker.
Becker's students learn about welding, engine design and modification and squaring the frame as they build the vehicles. He brings a unique skill set to the classroom's technical courses. Becker, who graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelors in ag education and masters in ag ed with a technical design license, also makes prosthetic limbs. He became interested in prosthetics when his brother-in-law lost part of his left leg. Using a hydraulic design, Becker made a limb his brother-in-law uses for snowcross competition.
New York Mills will enter three vehicles in the contest, Becker said. A stock vehicle will run on unleaded gas with no engine modifications. The modified entry will have engine changes and a third vehicle will run on ethanol.
Becker chooses the crew chief and pit crews. Students will use stopwatches to time vehicles on the track.
Students who have drivers licenses can drive the vehicles, he said. But, before they drive on the track, they do a test drive in the school parking lot.
They took sixth out of 42 in the stock division last year and were seventh of 17 teams in the modified division, Becker said.
Lunds, a New York Mills boat manufacturer, provides aluminum for the car design. The U.S. Air Force has donated to the project in thanks to Becker's prosthetics work.
Most everything on the cars is reusable for next year's competition, Becker said.