As usual, this report is going to be a bit trimmed down from what’s been coming out so far this year. If you want to get the full report make sure you join up and become a member to get this year’s Raceday Preview. The Preview will be coming out in the next few days and it is chock full of great info and some fun articles. We’ll give you the scoop on who to look out for this season.

Truck weekend generally went smoothly, if a bit slow. All teams were frantically getting as many rolls as possible with this being the only two-day weekend of the season. Amazingly, all teams managed to qualify completely so there are going to be no need for any exemptions. Saturday photos will be posted this evening, there were some format issues that prevented them from getting out earlier.


Org Buggies
AEPi Kamikaze
Apex Ember, Phoenix
CIA Equinox, Icarus, Impulse, Ascension
Fringe NBXV, X1, Beacon, Bissa
PiKA Banshee, Raptor
SAE Lucy
SDC Bane, Malice, Rage
SigEp Kraken, Barracuda, Pandora
SigNu Bungarus Krait
Spirit Inviscid, Zuke, Seraph

Observations (Saturday Gallery | Sunday Gallery)

  • Unlike last year’s truck where teams had gotten up to speed and were actually preparing for raceday, this year it seems all teams were still treating this weekend like they had more time. All the top contenders from previous years were looking slow and while they haven’t had a lot of time this year for real practice, teams holding back on truck could lead to a very similar raceday this year as last year’s.
  • Of all the buggies and drivers that attempted qualification, only two didn’t make it, and those teams seem to have planned for it. Apex was attempting to qualify a second driver in Phoenix, but with their veteran driver having taken all the rolls last semester combined with the fact that they were originally attempting 4 other drivers, it seems it was doomed from the start. CIA had probably their worst incident of the season when Orca slammed head-first into the bales and was subsequently scratched for the remainder of the weekend. Word is she was put on the quick wheels and given a mighty push to make her pass test, but she was unprepared for the sudden the extra speed and was unable to compensate through the chute turn. SDC also wisely chose to scratch Avarice and Vice without even giving them a chance this weekend. They instead went and qualified Rage and Bane without too much trouble since both were already close from previous mornings.
  • In an unexpected turn of events, Fringe managed to qualify 4 buggies where we were only expecting them to get 3. Adding X1 into their list of raceday buggies we will actually get to see how the experiment stacks up against the other teams. Despite losing one of their combos this weekend, CIA still has 4 qualified buggies and will be the only other org fielding D-teams this year.
  • Sluggish pushers aside, teams have also looked sluggish down the freeroll except from a few select standouts. SigEp, who historically waits until truck to put on the “fast” wheels, wasn’t looking incredibly impressive and there was only a little bump in speed, not the amazing leap that we’ve been expecting. SDC, possibly in an attempt to qualify without further incidents, also looked significantly slower than we would expect, keep in mind that everything is relative of course and a slow SDC is still quite zippy compared to almost everyone else. Spirit and Fringe boosted a little, but the real standouts this year are CIA and PiKA. Banshee has been topping the charts all season and has only been picking up speed and seems to be the clear freeroll king this year. In a surprising turn of events CIA has found some fantastic new wheels and has been matching SDC’s and PiKA’s rollouts into hill 3. We’re not sure if the speed actually matches, but it’s damn impressive none-the-less.

If you want to get the whole low-down from this weekend and really prep for this year’s raceday, be sure to join up and become a member for your yearly Raceday Preview. Raceday is only a few days away, don’t fall behind all your friends and rivals by missing out.

Lead Truck Auction – Is now LIVE! Let the bidding commence and get a chance to see your favorite heat while you lead the pack around the course.

34 thoughts on “Rolls Report: April 11 & 12 – Truck Weekend”

  • CIA is a sleeping giant. They’ve always had good mechanical aptitude for the basics but were always unwilling to change with the times. With a composite shell, static pushbar, and normie wheels, I’m unsurprised they’re fast.

  • To give credit where it is due, whatever SDC’s drivers did after Saturday’s rolls resulted in quite a bit of overnight improvement for Bane & Rage on Sunday. It’ll be pretty awesome if a buggy older than some freshmen is still in trophy contention.

    SigEp’s drivers too, didn’t seem to have much trouble going noticeably faster on Sunday than Saturday.

    The current forecast is for rain ending early Friday morning, so who knows if that’ll dry enough to start in time to get all the men’s prelims in. Or even the women’s, if Sweepstakes decides to pack it in early rather than wait around for hours.

    With 2 days of racing I could see some teams playing it safe in prelims and deciding how much of a chance to take in finals depending on who is close. With only 1 day, how do you gamble? If teams don’t get too greedy, I don’t think we’ll see more than the usual amount of A team carnage. But for most teams, the dropoff from A-B is big; trying to pull a pusher swap in finals is probably not going to end well.

  • dancing in the rain. says:

    speaking purely from an equal rights perspective. If a short day is at hand. It is the men’s turn (and then some) to have priority. and roll first. Buggy has a long history of completed women’s prelims and or finals with the mens side rained out when it got wet later (or time ran out).

    • Raindrops are falling on my head says:

      From an equal rights perspective, if nothing is rained out, it is the women’s turn to have priority to go later in the day. Since the desired heats are later in the day when everything is warmer, why do the men’s teams always get the later heats while the women race in the cold and fog?

    • praying for a sunny Raceday says:

      The alternative perspective is that every year it doesn’t rain, Men’s gets the luxury of being later in the day, with warmer roads, better-rested pushers, and more crowds cheering as well. This is unfair to Women’s in different ways, speaking purely from an equal rights perspective. Is it not their turn to have priority for all these nice things?

      I think the only truly fair way to do it would be to switch the order of Men’s and Women’s every year regardless of weather. I’m not sure why no one has proposed this yet.

      • 1) There are more men’s teams, and 2) most people consider the men’s races (and men’s sports in general) more interesting to watch because of the higher degree of athleticism.

        You don’t have to like it but it’s true.

        • but actually... says:

          My question is, is it that people are more interested in watching the men’s races, or is it simply that people are more interested in watching races that are later in the day, and therefore allow for more sleeping in?

          • praying for a sunny Raceday says:

            I’m gonna go with a bit of both. If by “more athleticism” he means “faster” then yes. The point about there being more men’s races is invalid, just hold the intermission later. Plus the fact that there are more men’s teams means there are more men’s friends coming to watch.

            But I’m not saying this is fair. Maybe there would be more female involvement if the women’s races weren’t treated as a second class competition

          • Meaning no offense, the women’s races are inherently a second-class competition because they are not as high performance as the men’s competitions. For them to be first-class they’d have to be faster than the men, by the definition of those terms.

            In terms of how much people care about them…I think most teams would be just as happy to take home a women’s trophy as a men’s trophy. I believe several teams actually have more women than men. And let’s not forget that there aren’t any male drivers in the sport at all. Most of the reason there are more men’s teams than women’s teams are the fact that there are no sororities which participate, which is definitely a shame.

            But I think most agree it’s more interesting to watch a race where things move faster, and things move faster in the men’s races.

          • Men’s have at least approached the record in recent years, while the Women’s times have been creeping further and further away from the record, and even more importantly, the majority of the formerly “competitive” Women’s teams are truly non-competitive (4th place was…. 2:50 last year????). The most interesting competition for Women’s last two years has been the fight for third place.

            There were once 5 or so Women’s teams capable of rolling sub 2:35 (look at 2009), now there’s one, maybe two if really REALLY lucky. Some of this is attributed to the roads+weather, but the majority comes from flat out slower push teams. When there’s only one team within 10 seconds of the record you know something is wrong.

            The orgs which actually have the buggies and sheer size to be competitive (Fringe, Pike, SDC, Sigep, CIA??) simply haven’t delivered in making an interesting Women’s competition since 2011, as they are neither anywhere close to breaking records nor creating photo finishes competing for first place.

            So sorry to say it, but even if Men’s heats were first, the interest would still be higher, the turnout from casual watchers (read: non buggy alums) might be higher for Women’s due to sleeping in, but that’s about it.

            I hope one day that Women’s competition for first will return to being actually competitive, i.e. at least 3-4 teams within 5 seconds of first place, but at this rate, it ain’t happening.

        • The women might not be approaching record times, but “competitive” can also be assessed by how closely they compare to each other. A quick analysis of the top 3 for men and women last year shows both sides were pretty similarly competitive.
          Men Women
          Time (sec) Difference from 1st Pct from 1st Time (sec) Difference from 1st Pct from 1st
          124.473 153.452
          134.618 10.145 8.15% 162.620 9.168 5.97%
          137.010 12.537 10.07% 169.457 16.005 10.43%

  • But maybe... says:

    how about we just mix them in, run a men’s race, then a women’s race and flip back and forth. Then all the competitive heats would get pushed to the end of the day by virtue of there being a greater desire to be out when it’s warmer.

    • Whatever happened to “ladies first?”

      Alternating men & women sounds nice at first, but there’s a few downsides:
      1) There’s a bigger difference in weather between the first and last teams of each gender, so the benefit of going later gets even bigger, so to be more fair across genders, we get less fair within a gender.
      2) If it starts to rain halfway through, both classes of competition are half done, so will have to be redone completely on the next day. The way things are, at least the women would have a complete result & wouldn’t need to rerun, which is useful in case the 2nd day partly rains out too.
      3) The logistics of using the same buggy in both men’s & women’s competition (or a driver as a pusher) get a lot more complicated.

      Plus, women’s freerolls are generally slower than men’s, and drivers get no practice runs on the day of the race, so why start with the faster race?

      When fraternities were more numerous & larger, there were naturally more participants & interest in the men’s race. If the men raced first, some winners might choose to start celebrating rather than stick around for their women’s teams. It used to be hard enough getting rerolls run after the winner was known.

      I agree that the women’s field generally has less depth than the men. It used to seem like any mid-sized fraternity would have 5 guys who could get around 2:16, so 5-8 seconds off the winner. Whereas in women’s the equivalent is 2:50ish, at least 15 seconds off the winner. SDC may have 1st place locked up, but behind them are 5 teams fighting over the 3 remaining trophies. And with the smaller pool of athletic women (is this still true?) to draw from, there’s more potential for the order to change from year to year.

    • Maybe not.... says:

      How would SDC, PiKA, Fringe Etc prep one buggy for two races in a row if they had to? Impossible. It has been brought up in the last year or two swapping the mens races to earlier to get them finals, but the chairman prefer to run the mens races on the warmer roads at the end of the day. Teams don’t just want to win, they want to break org records, course records etc. If we change the properties of the road, it makes it more difficult.
      What could be done with prelims would be 4 women heats then 5 mens then the last women heats than the mens, split them up like that. But as written above, Men’s races are closer, more competitive (more teams vying for 1st) and faster. Thats not to say the women races are boring. In 2012 I felt the women races were more exciting than the mens races. The races we had on the mens side last year and in 2013 though were incredible. This right here is the most exciting, butt clenching race I have ever watched:

      • Ready2Rumble says:

        That one was super fun to watch, but don’t forget heat selection is meant to prevent races like this, so that’s why they’re so rare.

    • When rain threatens the schedule, the usual response is to shrink the time between heats, which can’t really get shorter than 6-7 minutes without really good organization. But there’s another alternative, which is to shrink the number of heats. Take all the A teams, plus B teams in the top half of the seeding, and fit them into heats. It should work out to be about the same as finals, but with a 3rd, slower, buggy in each heat. Since each team will have at most 2 entries to prep, it’s more feasible for the mechanics than rapid heats. It sucks for the teams that don’t get to race, but right now it’s the top A teams that don’t race if time runs out. Since everyone is sitting around during a rain delay anyway, might as well use the time to figure out the hypothetical compressed schedule.

      • I have an idea…let’s just let another 5 to 10 years of apathy reign and then we can run the one heat in less than 3 minutes, and all go home

        • ^^^ favorite cmubuggy comment of all time. I am growing concerned with how much I agree almost uniformly with everything sig nu alums say on here. none of this matters without increased participation, and C and D teams are critical to the sport.

  • If you believe warmer roads make you go faster, you might have it backwards. Warmer air, yes, warmer pushers, yes. Warmer tires, yes, warmer roads, no.

  • Elmo Zoneball says:

    When women teams build their own buggies and can produce the same course times as the men’s teams in the race, they’ll be treated as equals. That’s how Danica Patrick is treated in NASCAR; her starting position is based on how fast her car is compared to every other teams’ vehicles.

    If you really want to be objectively fair, you’d run mixed heats — Mens and Womens — based on time alone. The fastest buggies, concave or convex, get to go in the last heats.

    I would also suggest going to a NASCAR style system to set the field; use truck weekend timing of full course runs to populate the starting heats; fastest teams get the first choice, slowest teams the last choice. And mix the mens and womens teams and compete for a single trophy.

    But if you insist the women have to have their own races and their own trophy and their own records, while being demonstrably slower than most mens teams, then don’t complain when they are treated differently. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Terrible Buggy Person says:

    I take issue with the the two-faced argument I’m hearing here, which is:
    1) Men are getting preferential treatment, by choice? Yes, good, as the physically superior beings we deserve this.
    2) Women are getting preferential treatment, by chance? No, this is unfair, someone give us our turn!

    Yes, women are “weaker” than men. This is why there are women’s and men’s races. It’s not like there isn’t precedent for this on a global scale. I don’t think anyone could argue that getting an Olympic gold medal in a women’s event is any less of an accomplishment than getting it in a men’s event. It’s true that the men’s events get higher viewership because men are faster and stronger. No one is contesting that. But the issue here isn’t viewership or popularity, it’s the fact that the women are racing at a disadvantage because the men say so. Yes, they’re all disadvantaged equally, but no, this isn’t fair to them.

    What it comes down to is that I believe that women’s and men’s athletic events should be treated equally, because women and men have equal merit despite their physical differences. If you don’t agree with me on this then we’re not going to see eye to eye.

    NASCAR is different because driving talent isn’t based on innate athletic ability (where men have a clear advantage), and Danica should absolutely be held to the same standards as everyone else.

    The women’s record could be several seconds lower if they were given a chance to race at noon instead of 9am, since racing later in the day confers a demonstrable advantage in time. If this were the case with the men’s race, the outcry would be deafening (and insufferable). But since the men are getting preferential treatment, all is right in the world of buggy.

    Hold the men’s races first on even years, and the women’s races first on odd years. It’s the only way to be fair. That way, no one gets to complain about weather delays cancelling only their races, and everyone gets two attempts within a college career to get their late-as-possible race.

    • I believe running the men later in the day is mostly a function of tradition and that tradition has short changed the guys many times.

      Why have we not changed? Tradition, a fear of loss of control of the event if the order was reversed, and the mistaken idea that conditions for speed improve as things get warmer and the related sexist idea that the men deserve to go later to take advantage of the “good ” conditions.

      This later = better idea is silly. I think that in part the later = better idea was started when heating wheels became common. This planted the warmer is faster idea. If warmer tires are faster, we should roll when it is warmer. Makes sense to a degree. Also people tended to want to run in later heats for various reasons that were not all related to conditions and more related to knowing how everyone else had done before your turn. Seeing where the bar is set….

      Warmer weather might help the pushers but for the most part, people have figured out how to warm up and how to get ready to push in any conditions so if there is an impact, it is not significant.

      Warmer air temps would have lower air density if all else were equal. This would make for lower air drag so that favors running later. However, this is balanced by the fact that colder pavement is harder pavement and harder pavement results in lower rolling resistance ( even though heated wheels grow cold sooner).

      Thus, there is a balance afoot: lower air drag and happy pushers vs rolling resistance / happy tires. Which is more important?

      If we look at the weather when buggy records were set, we see very cold days involved. The spirit mens record in the late 80s was set with snowflakes hanging in the air. The epic throw-down between PKA and SDC men in 2008 where the record was lowered a few times in the space of 2 days, the weather? very very cold.

      I can only conclude from this that women rolling first is unfair to the men. it is also unfair in that by going later, they have less of a chance in getting their event in on either day. We have never, to my knowledge canceled the women’s races as time slipped away while we waited for the track to dry, we simply start with the women’s heats as soon as we can roll. On the other hand, we have had the men’s prelims or finals canceled many times as showers arrived or returned and it becomes clear that the track will be dry again for some time. Check recent history: 2012 and 2013 we see women’s prelims and final times and only one set of times for the boys.

      Thus, I like the idea of mixing up the order. Not because it gives women a shot at good conditions but because it gives every one a shot at good conditions (early, not late) and gives the men a shot at completing their event on rain shortened days.

      • Terrible Buggy Person says:

        Interesting, I confess now that I think of it, all my evidence for “later = better” is anecdotal, or because the fastest teams wanted to be last, not that the last teams were inherently fastest. Pavement hardness isn’t something I’d ever considered, as I’d always just assumed it was hard enough to not really matter. Yet another reason to alternate the order, so we can settle this debate along with all the other ones!

        • there are a lot of reasons later = better. chief among them is because it’s more motivating for pushers to have a time to beat. the human factor is at least equal in effect to the physical properties of hot vs. cold air drag.

          I was talking to a student (aubrey) recently about how I thought black was the optimal color for a buggy because of heat absorption and ease of hiding defects blah blah blah, but I was wrong. brightly colored / patterned buggies aid in recruitment, and recruiting one pusher that is slightly faster confers far greater benefit than the physically optimal color of the paint. if you’re pika (circa 2004 or whatever) you have all those bases covered, and your pushers are going to join and crush it regardless of buggy color, but for an independent org it matters a lot.

          re: men’s / women’s timing: you can also make the argument that since women’s heats are going to be slower, but the same drivers are used for both, it’s safer for the drivers (and maximizes the number of buggies that survive) for them to do the slower run before they do the faster run.

          I don’t recall the weather being cold in 2008 btw, I thought it was super nice out? aren’t you in california? is this one of those things where if you leave everything seems a little cold?

          • As long as I’m pontificating about heat — I’d imagine (though I certainly have no educated experience with this) that the heat of the shell & hardware matters. Warmer bearing lubricants are less viscous, warmer carbon / steel is more resilient, etc. My hunch is that the buggy holistically benefits from a warm environment, though certainly not to the degree that the wheels do.

  • 2008 low on Friday was 37 degrees, low on Saturday was 41. That seems like that is fairly brisk. The high temps (well after the races) were in the low 70s. (verified at

    A reasonable buggy is through the chute within ~2 minutes of leaving the truck. Chances are the wheels were hot/warm as well when they exited the truck. That suggests the bearings and most of the items that you mention are probably above ambient or at least close to ‘truck’ temperature, especially if there is minimal airflow within the buggy, no matter how warm or cold it is outside.

    I recall BETA, who may or may not have gotten the entire “heat” idea wrong, once actually heated their entire buggy (and dropped that hot potato on the way to the starting line in a ruinous manner).

    • I’ll agree that it was that cold at sunrise, but going by the NWS, it would’ve been over 60F by the time the women broke the record around 9:40 and 70F when the men did it around 11. Then mid-60’s for the current record in 2009.

    • Elmo Zoneball says:

      >I recall BETA, who may or may not have gotten the entire “heat” idea wrong, once actually heated their entire buggy (and dropped that hot potato on the way to the starting line in a ruinous manner).<

      I was there at the starting line when it happened. Apparently the inadvertently overheated the chassis ("Echo" was the buggy, btw,) and when they tried to put the driver in, he started screaming, as he was being burned. They extracted him, and waited until the last possible second to stuff him in, close the hatch, and tried to sprint to the starting line. They didn't make it in time, and one of the guys carrying it was being burned by the wheel he was holding, and dropped it hard on the pavement from waist high, taking a large chunk of tire off the wheel as it hit.

      I got the tire chunk. Very interesting properties…. and aromas.

      It not clear to me the intent was to heat the whole buggy, but that it was simply an unintended consequence of the large box they constructed and into which the set the buggy while heating the tires before the race, with cover over the entire structure. Of course this wasn't visible from street level, but is was from above, as in those days they didn't have a top on their buggy tent. "Click, click."

      I'm guessing this was 1977 or 1978.

      • Elmo Zoneball says:

        Just checked the records, and there’s no time for Beta A in 1977, but they won in 1978.

        So 1977 was the year they cooked “Echo” and dropped it on the way to the start line.

  • All were sunny days, and the black asphalt baking in the sun would’ve gone some way towards bringing the road up from its overnight temperature.

  • Just curious says:

    Just curious… What does the money for the truck auction (and all other donations) actually get spent on?

Comments are closed.