Rolon-on, Designer Night at the Races™ #32 Torrance

One extra benefit to holding the Designer Night at the Races™ events in February is the opportunity to travel to sunny California and leave the winter behind in Michigan.  I say extra because the obvious regular benefits are still in play: the chance to connect with old friends, the opportunity to make new ones and going racing with Ford, General Motors, Honda/Acura, Hyundai, ICON Aircraft, Intersection Inc, Mazda, Mobis, Nissan, Tesla, Toyota Calty thanks to our main sponsors Lacks Enterprises, Plastic Plate and Dassault Systemes.


The week of karting started off innocently enough when a bunch of designers dropped in on K1 Speed in Gardena to see who was the fastest designer and the fastest design studio.  Unfortunately there were a few racers who had to cancel because of the flu, so to those of you who missed the event we wish a speedy recovery.  The remaining designers and sponsors had a fantastic evening of racing with 3 large groups.


In the C-Main designers from Honda and Tesla joined sponsors, Toyota Product Planning and a new participant, the design team from ICON Aircraft to form a field of 13.  Henry Chow from Toyota started on the pole but was passed by the flying Tuyen Le of Honda who knocked a whopping 1.237 seconds off his qualifying time en route to a win.  Toshiyuki Sase of Tesla finished third.  Brandon Toms of Tesla was the most improved driver of the evening as he went from a 30.789 qualifying time to a 29.096 race time, an improvement of 1.693 seconds.


C Main: The Hostess Katherine takes the medal for Henry Chow, your winner Tuyen Le and Toshiyuki Sase

The B-Main started with a duel as once again 3 different managers populated the podium.  Sue Neuhauser of Tesla worked her way from 3rd into 2nd place in the first couple of laps and then chased down the leader for the win.  Royce Meksilpstith started and finished 2nd while pole sitter Eric Sarmiento of General Motors finished 3rd.  Dong Tran of ICON was the evening’s most steady driver as he managed an average lap time less than 1 second off his fastest lap – an extremely consistent pace


B Main: Royce Meksilpstith, Sue Neuhauser and Eric Sarmiento

But the real action happened in the A-Main where there were 2 head-to-head accidents and a race stoppage to check for kart damage.  DSCN9254

The finishing order was nothing like the grid positions as some drivers advanced from the back and others ended up a lap or more down.  Jeremy Rolon of Honda started 2nd and stayed out of trouble for the win.  He also managed the largest victory margin of the entire week by winning by 14.568 seconds.

Jeremy Rolon celebrates his win

Jeremy Rolon celebrates his win

Michael Shumann of ICON moved up from his 5th grid spot to finish 2nd.  I guess working for an aircraft company allowed him to fly past most of the competition.


A Main: Michael Shumann, Jeremy Rolon and Matt Mantz

But the real mover was Matt Mantz of Honda who started 11th and filled out the last podium position moving up a remarkable 8 positions and setting fastest lap of the night along the way with a 27.799.


DSCN9216Thanks to our sponsors Lacks and Dassault there was a substantial improvement in the track food at the event as Bar-B-Que chicken, baked beans and corn-on-the-cob replaced the typical pizza.



Plastic Plate’s Ed Thierrault shows off the company’s products.


The Fastest Design Studio gets the use of a RC car from sponsor F1RCLab


DSCN9295Be sure to check out the results and the rest of the pictures here.

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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