Designer Night at the Races™ #45 – Detroit starts with a Tie!

After the excitement in California (which included first-time winners Hyundai/Kia), it was great to get back to the D and spend a week karting and chatting with the DAADS (Detroit area Auto Design Staff).  It also means the return of the Spring Designer Auto Show (which we here at AACS) sponsor.  But more on that in a later post, let’s get right into the Camaraderie, Competition and Charity that each evening of Designer Night at the Races™ was designed to deliver.

IMG_8146CHARITY: For the charity side in 2015 we are partnering with the Mercy Health Lacks Cancer Center.  If your family has ever been affected by cancer, you know one of the most difficult parts is that you have to have a team of doctors and experts to manage the process.  And those doctors typically are located all over town, so the patient has to travel from appointment to appointment, all the while feeling less than 100%.  The Mercy Health Center features a multidisciplinary approach, where all the key experts are located onsite and a patient can see everyone at once in a single location.  I want to give a personal thanks to everyone who has contributed at one of our events – lets keep having fun and racing to beat cancer!


This may be the first time anyone capture a picture of me leading

45 events over 9 years is a lot of work, and these events could not continue without some awesome sponsors and partners.  Along with the gang at Lacks (Lacks Trim Systems, Lacks Wheel Trim and Plastic Plate), for 2015 Autodesk has joined us for all or our karting events in both Detroit and California.  Those of us on the engineering side were probably introduced to Autodesk through AutoCAD back in the early 80s.  But for the studios you probably are more aware of the Alias suite of software.

We want to thank James Cronin and Autodesk for their awesome support of the event

We want to thank James Cronin and Autodesk for their awesome support of the event

CAMARADERIE:  The chance to hang out with former classmates who may have defected to the competition is really the number one reason people attend.  It really is more of a social event, as many people come and hang out without racing,  and enjoy the food and beverages along with helping raise money for charity.  It is quite enjoyable too, to see the VP of one company sitting next to a Lead Designer from another company without talking about the day’s deadlines or prep for tomorrow’s meeting.


The audience watches as the teams choose their karts

COMPETITION: For the competition side, Designer Night at the Races™ was developed to give the Design Studios a chance to compete on the track and fight for the title of Fastest Studio.  At the Detroit Spring events we gladly welcomed back the Nissan team.  Even though they moved the studio back to the west coast, there is still a full studio support team here to represent (their support team is otherwise known as engineering lol).


Our flag girls are better than the usual Kart2Kart flag guys

In the B-Main we had a clean sweep of the podium as it was filled with sponsors, former and current staff of AACS.  After losing more than 100 races to at least one of the Design Studios, we finally did something right.  As they qualified, so they finished as Joe Minock led by over 10 seconds at the end, followed by James Cronin of sponsor Autodesk and Brad Palmer of Pixlhut a further 3 seconds behind.


Joe Minock, an advisor to AACS wins the B-Main



A victory lap for Chrysler

The A-Main was an altogether different situation.  Aside from Deyan Ninov who just ran away and hid from the start, the next 4 people were about as closely matched as I have ever seen (full disclosure – I was right in the middle of this battle) and if this race was held 20 times, there would be 20 different outcomes.  Yours truly moved up from 5th on the starting grid to finish 2nd, even considering the fact the others all ran fastest laps.  Max Chen from Nissan passed the most karts by starting 7th and finishing 3rd to round out the podium.  But the results should take nothing away from Micah Jones of GM who set second fastest lap and Adam Hubers of Chrysler who fought tooth and nail until the checkered flag, both just missing the podium.


Deyan Ninov from Chrysler is our A-Main winner and apparently unhappy about something


Max Chen from Nissan finished 3rd and Frank Schwartz from AACS joined a smiling Deyan on the A-Main podium

Once the heat races were finished, it was time for the crowd favorite, the Plastic Plate Team Enduro.  Teams of 3 drivers competed LeMans style over the course of a 45 minute race with pit stops and driver changes.

Plastic Plate Team Enduro Driver Change

Plastic Plate Team Enduro Driver Change

Seven teams took the start in random order and the competition was fierce but Team GM#1 (Micah Jones, Bregt Ectors and Brandon Lynum) set an evening lap record of 25.800 en route to a 1 lap cushion.  AACS threw their support behind the single Nissan driver Max Chen and finished second.  Finally Team Chrysler of Deyan Ninov, Adam Huber and Klaus Busse barely edged Team Ford (Sam Patel, James Cronin and M Ross Gray) for the final podium spot.


3rd Team Chrysler, 1st Team GM#1 and 2nd Team Nissan

Thanks again to our sponsors for a great event, Lacks and Autodesk.  Thanks to everyone who came out and donated to a worthy cancer cause.  Thanks to Tony and the staff at Kart2Kart for making our events (especially the enduro) epic.   And of course, thanks to my staff Erin, Tatjana, Alison, Aaron, Steve and the rest of the team because without them, events like this can’t happen.


At the end of the evening we had 2 teams tied for the lead with a third team just a point behind.  Bonus points are also awarded at the end of the week based on how many people attend from each studio.

DESIGNER NIGHT AT THE RACES – SPRING 2015          East Coast 5/18 Lacks Enterprises Heat Race 5/18 Plastic Plate Enduro SUB-TOTAL
1 – tie Chrysler 9 4 13
1 – tie General Motors 4 9 13
3 Nissan 6 6 12
4 Ford 3 3 6
5 Toyota 0 0 0

IMG_3280Come back tomorrow to read about the results from night #2.  And visit this link to see pictures from night #1.

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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1 Response to Designer Night at the Races™ #45 – Detroit starts with a Tie!

  1. Pingback: Designer Night at the Races™ #47 – General Motors Holds off Toyota and Nissan | thesupplierblog

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