A Tale of 2 Bananas – Designer Night at the Races™ #35

Since we already let the cat out of the bag with a teaser report on the overall winner, we should probably take a moment to explain the following picture. If you want to know more, read on after the jump.


Designer Night at the Races™ has changed a lot since its inception in 2006.  A few designers getting together for some racing fun has turned into an evening of Competition, Camaraderie and Charity.  But the fun part is still evident as Adam Hubers and Jeremy Glover from Chrysler’s Product Design Office came in costume and reminded everyone that at the end of the day work is stressful enough – let’s have some fun and raise money for charity. My only question is, ‘who plays second banana?‘.

IMG_1263This was also our first event for several new partners.  JAC Products brought out some awesome displays for cargo management systems.  Philips Lighting‘s display was equally exciting and Recaro brought out a racing simulator along with several production seats to try out. And let’s not forget long time sponsor Lacks Trim Systems, Lacks Wheel Systems and Plastic Plate.  Without their support for 8 straight years these events could not happen.IMG_1213 IMG_1253 IMG_1224

IMG_1318And now on to the event results.  The D-Main was a sponsor affair as 11 of the 12 racers worked for one of the partner companies, which should have made for an interesting Tuesday in the office.  In the end it was between Philips and Recaro for the podium spots.  Coming from 7th on the starting grid, Mike Murto of Recaro passed coworker Markus Kussmaul for 3rd.  And while Mike Hervey of Philips started on the pole, he was involved in a race long battle with 2nd place qualifier Favian Delima of Philips.  Favian held on for the win with a lap time 0.001 of a second faster than Mike.  Adam Vincens, also of Philips completed the Philips domination with a fastest lap of 27.275.

Favian accepts his D-Main trophy from Erin

Favian Delima of Philips accepts his D-Main trophy from our Hostess extraordinaire Erin

The C-Main must have been a heck of a race because the entire field qualified within 0.4 seconds of each other.  The results?  Not a single person finished in the same position they started in (unfortunately I was off doing organisational stuff and missed it).  Zach Domitrz of Lacks Trim moved all the way up from 8th to claim the 3rd spot.  But the real race at the front was between Chrysler Teammates Paul Hoste and Jeremy Glover (otherwise known as one of the racing banana brothers).  Paul ended up with the win and the race’s fastest lap at 27.292.

Paul Hoste claims his C-Main Trophy

Paul Hoste of Chrysler claims his C-Main Trophy

The B-Main was had the tightest field of the evening as racers from Chrysler, GM, Toyota, JAC Products and AACS were entered.  It ended up another Chrysler affair as Ian Hedge set the fastest lap and moved up from a 4th starting position to win.  He also happened to pass and beat his boss Klaus Busse across the finish line – not so sure that will turn out to be so good for his career.  Shin Numoto of Toyota Calty started 3rd and claimed the last podium spot.

Ian chose a DVD

Grand Prix fan Ian Hedge of Chrysler accepts the B-Main honors

The fastest 9 racers of the evening were included in the Lacks Enterprises A-Main race.  Qualifying was headed by Steve Schwartz of AACS, followed close behind by Micah Jones of GM and Adam Hubers of Chrysler and yours truly was 4th with exactly 0.2 seconds between 1st and 4th.  Unfortunately for me, once the green flag dropped I managed a slow and steady march back to last place, SIGH.  At the front was a torrid battle as first Jones and then Hubers worked their way past Schwartz.  In the end General Motors captured another A-Main win as Jones finished first, followed by Hubers of Chrysler and Schwartz of AACS.


A-Main Results: 3rd Adam Hubers of Chrysler, 1st Micah Jones of GM and 3rd Steve Schwartz of AACS

As the racers and spectators qualified and waited for their race heats, many found their way into the back to try out the Recaro iRacing simulator.


Since we were crowning the Fastest Design Studio in the East, we decided that times and points should also be awarded on the simulator.  A Mazda Miata was used as the car and each driver was given 3 qualifying laps at Lime Rock.  Later in the evening the top 5 were invited back for another 5 lap stint to find the overall winner.  In the end the top 3 drivers were less than a second apart as Brad Palmer of AACS edged out Ian Hedge of Chrysler and Michael Smith of Ford.  Brandon Lynum of GM ended up in 4th.

Markus Kussmaul of Reacro awards the Recaro Simulator Challeneg Trophy to Brad Palmer of AACS

Markus Kussmaul awards the Recaro Simulator Challenge Trophy to Brad Palmer of AACS

In addition to the awards for the individual races, there were numerous other awards given away during the evening.  Micah Jones won the JAC Products Fastest lap Award with a blistering 25.860 lap in the A-Main Feature.  Kohl Kohrman was awarded the Philips Lighting Tail Light Award as he moved from 9th to 2nd in the Middlecott Sketchbattle Student Runoff and showed at least 7 people his tail lamps. And out in the parking lot was a mini-car show sponsored by AACS.  Micah Jones added a 3rd trophy for the evening as his Corvette won Best In Show.  Zach Whitacker’s Lotus took home the award for Most Fun.

Micah Jones Corvette won Best in Show sponsored by AACS

Micah Jones Corvette won Best in Show sponsored by AACS

A CCS Student accepts the Tail Light Award from Adam Vinvens of Philips on behalf of Kohl Kohrman

A CCS Student accepts the Tail Light Award from Adam Vincens of Philips on behalf of Kohl Kohrman

Micah Jones of GM gets his Fastest Lap Award presented by JAC Products

Micah Jones of GM gets his Fastest Lap Award presented by JAC Products

As if there wasn’t enough activities on hand to keep everyone occupied, some CCS students joined the activities as Middlecott Design put on a mini-Sketchbattle Experiment.


If you haven’t seen a Sketchbattle before, it is a sketching and design competition pitting designers against each other based on the Design Brief provided.  In this event, 8 songs were played and students had to sketch vehicles inspired by the music.  The winner, Kohl Kohrman, won a $500 contract to provide some sketches for sponsor AACS to use.


But perhaps the favorite event of the evening is the Plastic Plate Team Enduro.  10 Teams of 5 drivers competed in the 45 minute race that saw 4 driver changes.  The Chrysler #3 Team of Favian Deliva, Klaus Busse, Markus Kussmaul, Paul Hoste and Steve Goodrich won the race by 2 laps over GM team #2 of Brandon Lynum, Jim Wagner, John McDougall, Kyrylo P. and Ryan Lacks.  3rd through 5th place were all on the same lap but Chrysler Team #1 with Adam Hubers, Brock Koelzer, James Yu, Jerry Nelson and Natalie Keys ended up just a little ahead of the teams from Toyota, Ford and GM Team #1.

1st Place Chrytsler #3

Plastic Plate Team Enduro:  2nd Place GM #2, 1st Place Chrysler #3, 3rd Place Chrysler #1

So, at the end of the first evening of racing, Chrysler held a small lead with 19 points, followed by GM just one point behind with 18.  The Sponsors are in 3rd with 15, Ford is 4th with 9 and Toyota has 7.

IMG_1248 IMG_1250 IMG_1251IMG_3656 IMG_3885Here is a link to the results and photos of the event.  Come back tomorrow for a report on night 2.




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.
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