Normalcy Returns – Designer Night at the Races™ #31

If Monday night’s results were a surprise, Tuesday night was anything but.  The world has returned to normal as the regular winners again ascended to the top of the podium.  Over the past 7 years and 30+ events, Designer Night at the Races™ has grown by leaps and bounds.

IMG_7835What started out as an impromptu gathering at a local karting track (Dromo 1 in Orange CA) of one design studio (Ford) on two days notice has turned into a muti-day event that pits all the studios against each other in a furious battle to crown the Fastest Design Studio.

D-Main winner and the person to thank for these awesome photos, Ingo Rautenberg

D-Main winner and the person to thank for these awesome photos, Ingo Rautenberg

In the D-Main, Photographer extraordinaire Ingo Rautenberg filled in for a unnamed designer who cancelled last minute and ended up winning the race.  Takihiro Kitao of Hino improved the most positions in the race ending up 2nd after starting all the way back in the third row in 6th.

IMG_6058Bob Busch of Lacks Trim Systems set the fastest lap of the race and rounded out the podium in 3rd.  Taylor Manuilow of GM managed to be the most improved driver of the evening by running a race laps an incredible 2.655 seconds faster than her best qualifying lap.


C-Main winner Shingo Hatori of Hino

I did not get a chance to see the C-Main race as I was off doing whatever the host does at these things but it must have been quite an eyefull.  Shingo Hatori of Hino ended up gaining 4 positions and winning the closest race of the evening over teammate Osamu Watanabe as only 0.716 seconds separated them as the checkered flag waved.  What was so amazing is that they were both 1 lap clear of the entire rest of the field.  Christian Schwartz (the “C” in AACS) crossed the line in 3rd.

B-Main winner of Toyota Calty

B-Main winner Mitsuhiro Kondo of Toyota Calty

Pretty much every team was represented in the B-Main.  Ford, GM and Hino were joined by sponsors Lacks Wheel, Plastic Plate and AACS as once again Hino won a heat race.  Mitsuhiro Kondo of Toyota knocked 0.8 seconds off his qualifying time and edged Artur Sakarian and Casey Swasenger of GM for the top spot.


A-Main 2nd place Micah Jones and winner Max Sullivan, both of GM.  3rd place Frank Schwartz of AACS

The fastest drivers of the two nights ended up battling the entire race in the A-Main.  Both drivers also ended the evening under 26 seconds. 2nd place Micah Jones of GM set the fastest race lap at 25.985 while Max Sullivan, also of GM ran a 25.981 in qualifying and ended up with the win.  Third place was AACS’s Frank Schwartz, the evening’s host (I hate writing in third person) after battling for laps with David Wong of GM who retiured with a mechanical issues.

IMG_6363As with Monday night, a Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment was held to determine the kart number and starting order of the Team Endurance race.  The AACS team jumped from 8th to 1st over the first driver stint but a couple of bad driver changes doomed the team to a middle-pack finish.  The world returned to normal as the 3 GM Teams fought with Ford for the overall win until 1 team dropped out with a gas leak.  GM Team #1 with members Max Sullivan, David Wong, Bregt Ectors and Casey Swasenger ended up winning by a full lap over the Ford Team of Artur Sakarian, Chris Nichols, David McCall and Josh Greiner.  GM Team #2 ended up third with drivers Micah Jones, Patrick Vanderpool, Vlad Kapitanov and Matt McNerney.

Team Enduro

Team Enduro

With 2 A-Main wins, and a Team Enduro win Team General Motors repeats for the umpteenth time as the fastest Design Studio in the East.

Race #30 Enduro #30 Race #31 Enduro #31 Qty Attend TOTAL
General Motors 9 6 9 9 6 39
Sponsors 6 3 6 4 9 28
Ford 2 2 4 6 4 18
Chrysler 4 9 0 0 1 14
Hino 0 0 3 3 3 9
Toyota 3 3 0 0 2 8
Sponsor F1RCLab brought a display of their new offerings

Sponsor F1RCLab brought a display of their new offerings

Thanks to our sponsors for their continued support of this great charity event; Lacks Wheel Trim Systems, Lacks Trim Systems, Plastic Plate, RTT, Bunkspeed, F1RCLab and Middlecott Design.  Together with the sponsors, the DAADS (Detroit area Auto Design Staff) helped raise $1,080 for the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center.


IMG_5605And thanks again to the awesome food from Chef Ramone’s and the staff at Kart2Kart, and the extra time they donated to make sure we had a perfect evening ending with a full 45 minute Enduro.

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of 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.
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2 Responses to Normalcy Returns – Designer Night at the Races™ #31

  1. Pingback: Upset Special – Designer Night at the Races™ #30 | thesupplierblog

  2. Chris Nichols says:


    I wanted to again say how much fun I had last night, I got to know some other designers and had an absolute blast racing. I told my whole studio and forwarded the invite to all my designer friends…
    A great event! Cant wait for April-Round two!


    Chris Nichols
    Designer – Ford Motor Company

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