Designer Night at the Races #24 – The Fight in Sterling Heights

Thanks to our perennial sponsors Lacks Enterprises, Designer Night at the Races returned to Kart2Kart in Sterling Heights Michigan with a vengeance.  More than 50 designers came together to benefit several local charities and celebrate an evening of competition and camaraderie.

We even had our first team from Japan join us as Hino happened to be visiting Toyota’s Ann Arbor campus.

So after a quick run through the list of people I wanted to thank and acknowledge, we’ll provide you with a complete rundown of the results and you can find out who the Fastest Design Studio in the East is.  First off, these events cannot happen without sponsors and Lacks Wheel Trim Systems and Lacks Trim Systems came together at the last minute to make this event happen before the weather got too cold.

Second, the great staff at Kart2Kart once again went out of their way to make the evening enjoyable by finding room to fit the over-capacity crowd and staying past closing time. Be forewarned, while we managed to get everyone in this time, we have a strict 60 racer limit and our next event will most certainly have a wait list, so make sure to register in advance.

Next I need to thank my staff at AACS, which has grown considerably since the last event (more on this later).  Without their help I could never have managed the preparation and planning necessary to stage an event in two weeks.  While it goes without saying that the social aspect of the evening is what makes it fun, the event also helps charities – and on this night we are please to announce donations to Animal Aid Foundation, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center and Habitat for Humanity.   Enough with the pleasantries, let’s talk racing.

After a full practice and qualifying session we broke the racers up into 5 heats based on their fastest laps.  The E-Main race featured a field of 13 drivers from AACS, Chrysler, Ford, Hino and Toyota competing for the prize, a gift certificate to Kart2Kart.  The final three spots went to drivers from 3 different companies as Takeshi Okabe of Hino beat out Adam Huebers from Chrysler for second place.  But the clear winner was Jason Cummings of Ford who also managed the fastest lap en route to a huge margin at the checkered flag.

The D-Main was another mixed bag as Chrysler, Ford, Hino and Toyota were joined by General Motors and sponsor Lacks battled it our for 9 laps.  Dennis Arning set the fastest race lap but was mired back in the pack and could not fight to the front.  Anthony Meyer of Ford managed to finish in third place as Alberto Formento of GM chased Ken Iwaski of Hino for the win.

Chrysler and GM were missing from the third race but it didn’t make it any less exciting as four different companies finished in the first four places in the C-Main.  Miljan Jevremovic of Toyota finished fourth, Shingo Hatori of Hino was third, Stefan Di Bitonto of Germany Trade and Invest was second as the entire field watched Ed Golden of Ford race off into the distance for the win and set the fastest lap in the process.

Things started getting interesting in the B-Main as it was the first group with racers in the 28 second range.  Every manufacturer had at least one driver in the field as Vlad Kapitonov set fastest lap on his way to a third place finish.  Teammate Matt McNerney of GM was second as Nicho Vardis of Chrysler won the race.

Unlike the mixed fields of the other races, the A-Main was a 3 horse race as the entire field was comprised of GM, Ford and AACS drivers.  In the end it was the closest race of the evening as more than half the field ran laps under 29 seconds.  Loren Golden of Ford managed to run the most consistent laps of the evening and took the first podium fspot with a third place finish.  Jeff Castle who participated as a guest of AACS (he used to manage many of our events at Kart2Kart) chased the eventual winner from the first to the last lap and ended up second.  But perennial hotshoe (and lightest racer) Micah Jones upheld his reign as fastest designer in the east with a blistering 28.007 lap and a solid win.

As usual, the high point of the evening was the Team Endurance race where 5-driver teams competed in a 45 minute race of lap times and driver changes.  Team Chrysler #2 comprised of Brock Koelzer, Jon Gaudreao, Nicho Vardis and guest drivers Jeff Castle and Dean Acivatti of AACS set the fastest lap at 28.065 on the way to a third place finish.  Toyota Team #1 with Miljan Jevremovic, Hiroyuki Imai, Chung Le and one other driver (whose name I could not read) were joined by amateur road racer and AACS member Ron Copeland to finish second.  But it was the Bust-a-Nut Racing General Motors #1 Team of Micah Jones, Nathan Dressman, Nick Griewe, Vlad Kapitanov and yours truly who eeked out a narrow one lap win (you can see their recent outing at the 24 Hours of Lemons in Joliet IL here) .

While the Spinelle Cup has been retired, there is still a team trophy awarded to the manufacturer who wins the most points over the course of the evening.  The formula is rather simple, bring the most designers, travel the farthest distance, and finish the highest positions in the race and you get to take home a RC Formula One car provided by sponsor F1Paintlab.  In the end Chrysler finished 5th, Ford Motor Company 4th, Toyota 3rd and new-comer Hino finished 2nd,  While the results were closer than at any previous Detroit event, the winner was the same as General Motors took home the win for the umpteenth time.

I want to close by thanking again my newly enlarged staff at AACS for helping bring everything together and making sure everyone had a great evening.  Thanks to you, our customers, we have grown to 9 people; Brad Plamer is now handling our Automotive Design and Studio Liason activities, Dean Acivatti handles Component Sales and helps in the Marketing and Strategy areas, Ron Copeland is our Dealership Trainer and provides expert insight into Dealer Operations and Consumer Behavior, Steve Schwartz continues to manage all of our Software Development,  Alison and Aaron Schwartz continue to do much of our Market Research and last but not least Registration and Trophy duties are handled by Simone, Lindsay and Mia.

Full a full run down of results and pictures, click on our link here, and while there take a moment and check out the ways we help suppliers develop better products. Also, take a few minutes and look through our design-related postings on this blog.  It is just a sampling of what we offer – if you’d like to see more invite us in for a presentation.

And don’t forget to come back later this week as we have a full report from the LA Auto Show.

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of CarFriend.me and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
This entry was posted in Designer Night at the Races and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Designer Night at the Races #24 – The Fight in Sterling Heights

  1. Vlad says:

    Frank, Thanks for a great night! Loads of fun as usual. Go Team Bust-A-Nut!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s