KDR Winning GP Kart "Fifth Mystery"

67_68 KDR GP Winner

KDR Grand Prix Victory - 50th Anniversary                                                                 
Purdue will be celebrating the 60th Anniversary Grand Prix this coming April and KDR will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first Grand Prix victory. Brother Al Brittingham (68’) was the first two-time winner of the Purdue Grand Prix (67’ & 68’), a feat that stood unequalled for 22 years. Like most racing success, engineering a better race Kart was an important key to victory.
The Kart was named "Fifth Mystery" which came from the fact the kart number was 5 and the engine was a mystery to all the other teams.  In true Purdue engineering fashion, Al and crew chief Bob Plummer 69’ seed blasted all the yellow paint off the engines, then polished the aluminum shroud. Unbeknown to all others, this gave Al about 1-1/2 HP advantage which is huge in a power to weight dependent kart.  McCullough (the engine manufacturer) figured the “Mystery” out when the winning KDR Kart appeared in Karting Magazine the summer of 68’, after the second win.  They stopped painting their blocks and heads.  
Al pulled the double-race winning KDR Kart out of the Purdue Grand Prix Museum and raced this past spring (Spring '17) in the Purdue Grand Prix Alumni race.
Brother Brittingham has been involved with the Purdue Grand Prix for many decades, and currently serves as treasurer of the Purdue Grand Prix Alumni Organization.  Al was Vice President of Engineering for Meritor Corporation, a Fortune 500 manufacturer of auto emission systems. Al retired in 2002, starting his own engineering and management consulting business, B&B Engineering. He also owns a woodworking and guitar-making business, and is an accomplished golfer.  Al and his wife Carol have been married 48 years. 

THETA’S QUIET NEIGHBOR: Brother James Barany

by Joseph S. Rosenberg, Xi Alpha ’96 and Phil Reber, Theta ’86

Growing up in a Catholic household and attending a catholic school for my formative years it was drilled into me that one should love thy neighbor. Well this is something that has come easy for the Brothers at Theta since one of the neighbors was actually a Brother. Brother James Barany, Honorary ’69, who was a professor for more than 52 years in the School of Industrial Engineering lived directly next door to the Theta Chapter house. However, this fact went unknown to most of our more recent Brothers.

James was born August 24, 1930 in South Bend, Indiana. He attended High School at Marmion Academy in Aurora, IL and graduated from Notre Dame University in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering. While attending Notre Dame, Jim worked for Studebaker Corporation and was a member of the United Auto Workers Union. After graduating from Notre Dame, Jim served in the US Army as a combat engineer during the Korean conflict. After military service, Jim went on to study Industrial Engineering at Purdue University, receiving a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in 1956. Brother Barany joined the faculty in 1958 after completing his master’s degree at the university. In 1961 he received his Ph.D. from Purdue University. In 1969 Brother Barany became a full professor at Purdue. His career at Purdue spans more than 50 years educating engineering students. In 1998 the State of Indiana recognized Jame’s widespread contributions by giving him its highest honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash award. The State of Indiana bestowed upon Brother Barany a Distinguished Hoosier award in 2005. In 2006 he was named the National Outstanding Faculty Advisor by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Upon receiving the award Professor Barany said “It’s not the awards that flatter me; what flatters me is that my students nominated me”. He retired from teaching in 2010. Upon his retirement a fundraising committee comprised of past students of our Brother raised more than a million dollars to establish the James W. Barany Endowed Scholarship in Industrial Engineering. The scholarship is a merit based scholarship that is awarded to juniors and seniors majoring in Industrial Engineering.

Brother Phil Reber, Theta ’86 recalls when in 1984 as winter approached the fraternity ran out of firewood for its fireplace in the Great Hall. Brother Barany had a very nice, even, well stacked lot of firewood. Over the course of about a month, his stack of firewood took on a decidedly crooked look (like a bar graph becoming progressively smaller in the direction of the fraternity house). At some point, Barany made it politely known to one of the brothers passing by that he needed his firewood and asked that we kindly stop taking his firewood. At which point, a couple ricks of firewood were ordered and when it was delivered to the fraternity the brothers formed a brigade line and restocked Brother Barany's firewood stack to as new condition.  When the firewood was restocked the Brothers that formed the brigade line jokingly congratulated each other for doing such a good deed.

Brother Barany passed away on November 7, 2011.  If you have a story or information about how Brother Barany became associated with Theta, we encourage you to share it with us by sending it to the National Office at executivedirector@kdr.com.