LAWRENCE — At 15, Handerlin Rodriguez does not yet have a learner’s permit, let alone drive a car.
But that’s not stopping the sophomore in the Health and Human Services High School at Lawrence High from doing donuts and other maneuvers with the remote control car belonging to “Adrenaline,” the school’s racing team.
The nine students who make up the team are going to the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., May 16 to 18 to compete with other schools from across the country.
They got the chance of a lifetime after the Adrenaline Racing Club beat the Advanced Math and Science Academy in Marlborough in the regional driving competition.
“I thought it was amazing,” Rodriguez said of winning the regional event. “At first I doubted myself because we were rookies, but we learned quickly. Now that we have the grasp of the achievement, I think we can stand a chance at the nationals.”
Rodriguez is the driver, Endry Duarte and Radhames Mata are part of the pit crew; Immani Grullon, Angelie Heredia, Glorimar Estevez, Daritza Germosen are the engineers and math experts; and Angel Pagan and Brandon Wilson lead the business plan and graphics.
The team is made up of both sexes, Rodriguez, Duarte, Mata, Pagan and Wilson are male and Grullon, Heredia, Estevez and Germosen are young women.
Lawrence physics teacher Michael Lynch started the racing club in October and it did not take long for students to get into the rhythm.
The group purchased a kit, which includes the car’s shell, remote control, rechargeable batteries and spare parts.
Members of the Adrenalin Racing Club use a 1/10th scale radio control electric car. The engine is powered by a 7.2 volt battery. The car is 4-inches high and 20-inches long, Lynch said. He said the car’s speed is compared to a person going from jogging to running, or about 15 to 20 miles per hour.