The Newton County Solar Team from Decatur, Miss.; the Houston Solar Car Team from Houston, Miss.; and the Newburgh Free Academy team from Newburgh, N.Y., won their respective divisions in this years Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge. The nine-day race began July 16 at Dells headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, and ended 2,020 miles later in Newburgh, N.Y.

Nine teams from Mississippi, Texas, California, Florida, Missouri and New York took part in this years race. Four teams participated in the Open Division, which allows teams to use various technologies, body styles and dimensions. The Classic Division requires that participants adhere to specific types of solar cells, motors and body design.

Tying for first place in the Open Division, the Sundancer team from Houston, Miss., and the Sol Machine VII team from Newburgh, N.Y., reached average speeds of 38.76 and 38.42 miles per hour, respectively, and traveled about 689 miles.

The Newton County Team, driving Hightech Redneck, drove at an average speed of 17.05 miles per hour and traveled some 466 miles to take the Classic Division.

Each year I am astonished at the level of dedication, critical thinking and teamwork that these students display, said Karen Bruett, Dell's director of K-12 business development. Each team used 21st-century skills to turn a high school road trip into an exemplary science and engineering project. I know this year's event will not only help them in their future careers but also contribute to the future of environmentally friendly technology.

The students solar cars use only sunshine for power. Fuel-free technology like this foreshadows a potentially better future in a time when daily commutes are increasingly expensive.

This event proves to me that, if a group of high school kids can build a solar car and drive it across the country, the possibilities for our future are endless, said Dr. Lehman Marks, race director.