Students take checkered flag in NASCAR project - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Students take checkered flag in NASCAR project

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

175 miles per hour!! That's how fast Chavez High School students whizzed through a school project.

They were the driving force this past weekend in the Texas Mile Competition.

"Exciting, crazy, and stressful" said Eric Lopez after surviving what he calls an "awesome" weekend.

It was one wild ride for students who met a Pro Nascar driver and had the opportunity to put their project to the test which wasn't smooth sailing by any means.

"The cooler the tire temperature and higher the pressure and we went way faster by like a good 20 miles per hour," said Lopez who was crew chief, and responsible for calculating different factors in order for the car to pick up speed.

In one case, students even had to get creative and use tape.

"For down force, when the air goes past the car it just goes around it so the tape seals any holes or anything from getting through the car," said Brianna Salas.

Students really had to learn the "tricks of the trade" plus math and science added up to a pretty fast race car that hit almost 176 miles per hour just a few miles short of the students goal of 180mph.

You may remember, this project all started last week when these young aspiring engineers re-worked the engine of a Pontiac G-T-O just in time for the big race. Students told fox26 they anticipated hiccups but got more of a rough ride from the beginning,

"We were turning the corner and our muffler falls off," said Lopez.

The crew was quick to shift gears though for their pro NASCAR driver who ended up taking them a ride in the real world.

"I'm kind of glad he was tough on us, keep us in check."

Even though the car didn't hit what students were hoping for they still received two certificates; one for racing at 175.5 mph and another at 172.2 mph.

"Our budget was minuscule, you take a 250 thousand dollar Ford GTO that would run 190 mph. We have an 8-thousand dollar car with basically ordering stuff out of the JC Whitney catalog to make this car go fast," said Mr. Gregory Ditch who overall describes the experience as "a blast."

Plus he says, all his students earned a grade well over 180!

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