Race Day 2019 Preliminary Races Friday, April 12, 2019

Race Day 2019 saw the 99th year of the Carnegie Mellon University tradition, buggy. Also known as Sweepstakes, the concept is simple. A relay race with a team of five pushers and one driver in the buggy, which acts as a baton. Two pushers push the buggy up hills 1 and 2 before they let it free roll down around sharp curves through the neighboring Schenley Park. At the bottom of the hill, a team of three more pushers push the buggy to the finish line. The top ten teams with the fastest time during Friday's preliminary races compete in the final races on Saturday.

Join along as we revisit Race Day 2019. All these photos are from the Friday preliminary races.

The preliminary races started with a robotic buggy demonstration.

The first heat of the Women's races started with CIA B, Fringe D, and PiKA C racing in lanes 1-3 respectively. CIA B would progress onto the finals with a time of 2:42.22.

Bumper crosses the finish line for Fringe D.

Heat two saw SDC C and Spirit B take the track. Spirit B would be disqualified due to interference. Due to this call, SDC C would be granted a re-roll on Saturday.

Spirit B running fast up hill five

Heat three saw Fringe B and PhiDelt A competing for a spot in the final races. Fringe B would take eighth place overall and earn a spot in the finals.

Argo, built in 2017 by PhiDelt, rolls up hill five.

SigEp A and SDC D would take to the hills of Oakland next. SDC D would be disqualified due to a failure during the drop test after the completion of the race. SigEp A moved on seventh overall.

Pushing up hill one.

Spirit A, CIA D, and Apex A all rolled in heat five of the women's races. Spirit A would end up spinning out in the chute and would retire. Apex A finished ninth overall and moved on to the races on Saturday.

Apex's new buggy, Solaris, begins free roll.

Fringe A was the only buggy team rolling in heat six. PiKA B missed the starting line time and was disqualified. During the inaugural roll of Fringe's new buggy, Blind Faith, a bag was caught on the wheel. The roll was completed, and Fringe took fourth place in preliminaries, advancing to Saturday's competition.

Blind Faith in free roll

Heat seven had three teams racing once again. This time, SDC B, SigEpC, and Apex C took their marks. Of the three teams, only SDC B would earn the right to compete on Saturday.

Azula, a 2018 buggy from Apex, rolls in front of Phipps Conservatory.

Heat eight of the Women's preliminaries was an exciting one. Both racing teams, CIA A and SigEp B, earned spots in the final races.

CIA's Emperor, 2017 buggy, rolls through the Chute as it reaches the start of hill 3.

Heat 9 included PiKA A, Apex B, and Fringe C on the course. PiKA A would take the number two seed for the preliminaries.

Handoff between hills 3 and 4 for PiKA

The final women's heat of the day included SDC A and CIA C. SDC A would take the fastest time of the morning's activities at 2:28.31 seconds.

After pushing the buggy on Hill 1, the pusher watches as the buggy makes its way towards the finish line.

Before continuing on with the men's rolls, there would be another robotic buggy and a short break.

The robotic buggy, Atlas.

Racing through the course for the first heat of the men's races would be SigEp B and Fringe D. Neither team would progress as Fringe's time was too slow, and SigEP would be disqualified during the drop testing.

Kraken, SigEp's 2013 buggy, rolls up hill 1

Heat two would see Apex A and SigNu A. Neither team would progress to the finals.

Solaris, Apex's new buggy for 2019, at the hill 3/4 hand off

Heat three had the first finalist of the day, Spirit B. SDC D would be rolling in lane two, but ended up crashing before completing the race.

Spirit handing off between hills 3 and 4

PiKA B would earn the next spot during the fourth heat of the men's races. PhiDelt A would also roll, but didn't earn a high enough time.

PhiDelt's 2017 buggy, Argo, rolling into the chute.

Heat five saw Fringe B and Apex C rolling. Fringe B missed the chute and Apex C's time was too long for advancement to the second day of races.

Apex in free roll down Schenley Drive.

Heat six came to an early end when CIA B and PiKA C had contact with each other. PiKA C was deemed to be responsible and was disqualified. CIA B was granted a re-roll on Saturday.

CIA and PiKA coming around the bend towards the monument.

SigEp A and SDC D would take to the hills for heat seven. SigEp A would advance to day two with a time of 2:16.21.

SigEp's Barracuda at the top of hill 2. Barracude is the third oldest buggy on the course having debuted in 2009.

Heat eight saw three teams on the track for the first time during the men's rolls. Of the three teams, only CIA C would take a spot in the finals, earning the tenth seed. Spirit A spun in the chute, causing them to be disqualified.

Three buggies, coming up hill 1.

Fringe A would earn the fifth seed in heat nine. SigEp D would not be fast enough.

SigEp just prior to the hill 1/2 hand off.

Heat ten saw SDC B and CIA D on the course. Of the two teams, only SDC B would earn the right to move on to the final races.

SDC and CIA preparing for the starting line.

CIA A, Spirit C, and Fringe C would all be on the course for heat eleven, the only other heat in the men's races to use all three lanes. CIA A would qualify for the finals. Spirit C missed out of the finals by .32 of a second.

Climbing hill one. The support teams run up behind the follow truck.

The next to last heat of the day involved PiKA A and SigEP C. PiKA A moved onto the finals with the number two seed.

SigEp during the drop testing after the race. All buggies must pass a brake check during drop testing.

Men's heat thirteen was the last heat of the preliminary race day 2019, and it was also an exciting one. SDC A and Apex B both raced and earned the number one and nine seeds respectively, sealing them into finals the next morning.

Apex celebrates after taking the ninth seed.

Race Day 2019 would continue on Saturday, April 13, 2019 for the final races.

SDC departs for the day.

HDIC Productions would like to thank the CMU Buggy Alumni Association for keeping records of the races and for distributing the spotter's guide. Both pieces of information were used in the making of this story.

All photos are copyright 2019 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions. Please contact allen@hdicproductions.com with any comments or questions.

Created By
Allen Howard