Electric Vehicle Club cart wins Purdue Grand Prix

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Jimmy Simpson of the Electric Vehicle Club (EVC) won Saturday's 56th annual Purdue University Grand Prix race.

Simpson is the first driver to win both the "gas" Grand Prix and the Purdue Electric Vehicle Grand Prix. In 2012 he won both the evGrandPrix at Purdue and the Purdue Collegiate evGrandPrix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Starting on the pole, Simpson took the lead on the opening lap and led for nearly the entire 160-lap race, falling out of first for only about 19 laps after making a pit stop just past the race's halfway point. He went back in front on the 122nd lap and easily stayed there the rest of the way.

James French, driving for MKR of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, finished second. Drivers from IUPUI had won the three previous Grand Prix races.

"This is the first time I've run this race, and a lot of it is about consistency and staying out of trouble," said Simpson, a sophomore from Indianapolis who is studying communication. "That's what it's all about. It's not really about going fast. I can't thank the guys on my crew enough. They did a great job."

French, a junior from Sheboygan, Wis., majoring in motorsports engineering, realized Simpson was the dominant driver.

"Chaotic is the best word to describe my race," French said. "Once I saw I was in second place and a lap down, I put it in cruise mode and tried to stay out of trouble."

Chris Young, of PIKE 2, a freshman from Riverhead, N.Y., majoring in mechanical engineering, finished third. Greg Burns from Sigma Chi 1, a junior from Lafayette, Ind., studying mechanical engineering, finished fourth. Matt Dean of Fairway 1, a senior from Bargersville, Ind., majoring in mechanical engineering, was fifth.

Chuck Sprague, a Purdue alumnus who won the 1976 Grand Prix and works for Penske Racing, served as the event's grand marshal.

Official results from the 2013 Grand Prix will be released Monday (April 22), following a standard review by the race's scoring board.

Grand Prix Student Ambassadors presided over race-related events. They are Danielle Field, a junior who is a first-year professional student in the College of Pharmacy, and Jill Griffin, a junior in the College of Agriculture studying agribusiness management.

Among their duties, ambassadors serve as spokespeople for the Grand Prix Foundation and encourage race support and business sponsorship. The ambassadors each received a $1,000 scholarship from the Grand Prix Foundation. Sixteen other students received scholarships ranging from $250-$750.