Apparently “neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor the winds of change, nor a nation challenged,” could keep DAADS (Detroit-area Automotive Design Staff) from coming out and racing this past Tuesday night. That’s right, a freak rainstorm that turned into snow invaded the area and the resultant traffic made driving to the event a chore. So based on the weather and the almost 2″ of rain a special thanks goes out to the guys and gals from Toyota who managed the two-hour drive to attend. In all 76 design staff from Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota registered, 58 showed up and 51 ended up racing. So after a quick thank you to our sponsors, we will get straight into the results.
Events like this cannot happen without a lot of hard work on the part of a lot of different people so I’d first like to thank the modest staff and helpers at AACS (Steve, Alison and Aaron) and my suppliers and friends (Brian, Charles and Chelsea) for all they do and have done to make it happen. After the staff you certainly cannot forget the host and Aaron and the rest of the gang at Kart2Kart have done an outstanding job over the years of making my job easy and making sure the event runs trouble-free. But all of that work doesn’t matter unless you have sponsors and this event was special because of the fact that for the first time we had multiple sponsors.
Lacks Trim Systems was our main sponsor and has been a multi-year supporter of the event. Lacks provides world-class Automotive Exterior Grilles & Trim in a variety of basic and advanced finishes. Associate sponsor Bayer Material Science is one of the world’s largest producers of polymers and high performance plastics and we welcome them to their first event. Pfaff Designs which provide custom vehicle photo rendering and design services brought out their Imperial Speedster which just happened to have Polycarbonate Glazing – something Bayer has been working on for its design freedom and weight savings properties. And finally, F1Paintlab which produces radio controlled Formula 1 race cars provided the team “trophy” for the evening that is pictured above.
After a practice and qualifying sessions and filling everyone’s belly with food we got down to the real racing. In the D-Main, last-minute entrant Alan Limburg from Chrysler pulled off the win and heat fastest lap with a 29.872. And I do mean last-minute as Alan was literally the last racing slot filled as he registered at 2:05pm on Tuesday. Alan was rewarded for his effort (and procrastination) with a raffle ticket for a 2012 Dodge Challenger (buy your own raffle ticket at the link shown). David Wong of GM and Kevin Byrd of Pfaff Designs rounded out the podium finishes.
The C-Main saw another manufacturer win as Ford’s Jim Smithbauer also set the fastest lap along the way to his first place finish. Jim’s 29.105 time was good enough to win, but was only slightly faster than GM’s Nathan Dressman’s second place finish. Ryan Blodi from Ford finished third.
In the B-Main the fastest lap was not set by the winner, but my Ford’s David McCall whose 28.773 second lap was good enough for third. Just in front of David was Deyan Ninov from Chrysler, who himself was just behind Mac Nolan of GM. Mac was the most consistent driver of the race proving that it is not just speed that wins, but also consistency. All of these winners, Alan, Jim and Mac now have a chance for a new car – the only restriction is that if any of them win I have to be the first person they take for a ride. Here at AACS we don’t just like to race, we also like to support solid local charities. In addition to a donation made to The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute for every person participating, we also support The Animal Aid Foundation.
The A-Main was a race to remember as perennial favorite and winner of more races than any other designer Micah Jones was finally unseated. Newcomer Max Sullivan (also from GM) put in one of the most consistent races ever as he took the title of King of Designers with his win. Micah managed to finish second while Steve Schwartz ended up third. But the fastest lap of the race was set by Dan Bohman, also of GM with a blistering 28.642 second lap en route to his 7th place finish.
After a short break to hand out trophies and pick our teams it was time for the crowd favorite Team Endurance Race. After losing the team race last year to cross-town rival Ford, GM stormed back this year to take all three podium positions. And the points they managed for this finish was enough to give them the overall event title and the F1PaintLab Trophy. The F1 Lotus RC car will now pass through the hands of each GM participant between now and the next event before the body is removed and made into a trophy for display in their office.
For a complete list of the event results and a bunch of pictures, please visit our website at http://www.supplierconsultants.com/designer_night_2011_11. I want to thank everyone again for coming out in the terrible weather and for all of you who stayed home – the rest of us had a great time and enjoyed the extra track time we got with your absence.