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CHARLESTOWN, In. (WDRB) --When you're a U of L grad student, you usually spend a lot of time in a classroom. That does not apply to Alex Bays. A garage full of parts and tools is the spot where he learns about engineering, hands on. Bays and his classmates are putting the finishing touches on some off-road race cars. Building starts from scratch after a bunch of fundraising for parts.
"It's a year long process," Bays said.
That's if nothing's wrong.
"They see what works and what doesn't work. They see the shortfalls of the theory, and then they go out and test it," U of L Professor, Kevin Murphy said.
The testing happens in the dirt, flying over hills, and in front of a big crowd at Podium 1 Motoplex in Charlestown, Indiana. 20 teams from universities across the country, including U of L, take part in "Midnight Mayhem."
"Once the green flag drops, the checkered flag doesn't raise till 4 hours later," Bays said.
So much of the race depends on how well the students build the cars. The rest of it, depends on the speed.
"It's a rush. It's a serious rush," senior Nicholas Day said.
"Things will break, cars will flip over. It's a lot of mayhem, and a lot of fun to drive," Bays explained.
It's also just a warm up for the Speed School of Engineering students who compete across the country with their student-made racers come spring and summer. All of the trophies in their garage would suggest they know what they're doing.
"We are one of the premiere teams in this right now. It's pretty awesome," Day said.
If you want to check out "Midnight Mayhem," gates open at 2pm Saturday. The green flag will drop Saturday night at 8. Tickets are $10.