Designer Night at the Races #52 – GM Strikes Back

Night #2 of Krstin Shaw’s reports.  So much better than mine. Ed

The 52nd Designer Night at the Races event kicked off on the other side of town at Kart 2 Kart in Sterling Heights. In addition to the traditional evening of go-kart racing, for the first time slot racing was also added to the program. Although it was a rainy evening, participants showed up and showed off.


The parking lot was stacked with good looking cars, all competing for the title of The Best Finish presented by Spectrum Industries. Some of the cars competing included a silver Camaro, a white Alpha-Romeo 4C, a Scat-pack gray Charger, black Corvette and a Mini-Cooper with yellow headlights and a two bike-roof rack. Talk about a range of good looking vehicles.


IMG_5819Keyen of Spectrum, did a blind touch-test and announced the winner based on best finish. Although Keyen was impressed by the Challenger, it was Kyryll’s Camaro that took the prize. Keyen is a member of the Spectrum’s design team, and had samples on-site to present a cost-efficient, surface texture option for custom interior parts.


It’s essential to recognize the sponsors of Designer Night at the Races, as these events wouldn’t be possible without them. Lacks Enterprises has sponsored every event since the beginning.  Lacks is a global manufacturer that is comprised of four distinct business operations. Lacks produces exterior automotive trim, wheel components, decorative solutions and a line of home exterior products.


Kurt Spitzner of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School preaches winter driving skills.

As part of the theme of Competition, Camaraderie and Charity, the Designer Night at the Races events are setup to raise money for cancer charities.  For this event, the designers contributed donations and a raffle was held.  The grand-prize each night was a one-day, second gear driving class at the  Bridgestone Winter Driving School/ The Center for Driving Services. Bridgestone Winter Driving School is located in Steamboat Springs, CO and has been in operation for 32 consecutive winter seasons. They operate with a 2017 23-vehicle Lexus fleet.


Mark MacInnes of the AutoModo Film Festival welcomes the group to Kart2Kart

The second place prize was presented by the AutoMoto Film Festival. Each night, 2nd place raffle winners took home a set of tickets to the 2nd Annual AutoMoto Film Festival which was held in Detroit May 12-14. AutoMoto is an event set to embrace all aspects of motoring, and aims messaging to the “romantic soul of the motoring enthusiast.” Frank is a big supporter of this event, and happy that a few guys in California were able to come together and make his dream festival, a reality here in Detroit.


This night brought the largest array of attendees, as many young designers raced on the tracks with seasoned veterans and industry titans.  In the first race of the evening, the D-Main, Brad P. started on the pole and ran away and hid from the field for the win.  The battle for 2nd place was closer as Boris S. beat Colin D. across the line for the 2nd place finish.  Brois and Colin started 5th and 6th so managed to pick up 4 spots each.


Brad P. celebrates his D-Main win

In the C-Main, Christian S. showed he was a chip off the old block as he started 3rd but moved up to win by more than 6 seconds.  Dave K. started on the pole and finished 2nd followed by Keisuke S. less than a second behind.


The C-Main Podium


The B-Main race was an exciting affair as co-workers Casey S. and Micah J. battled for the win.  In the end Casey came out on top with a scant 0.4 second win.  Brian L. finished 3rd just a few short seconds behind the pair at the front.


The B-Main Podium


The A-Main race of the fastest drivers was a FCA versus GM battle as 7 of the 11 racers worked for one of those two companies (the other 4 were sponsors).  It may also signal the end of a designer’s career as Deyan N. passed his boss Ralph G. for the win.  Bregt E. came across the line in 3rd just a close second behind Ralph.


The A-Main Podium featuring Ralph and his Viper pose.


After the Individual Heat races were run it was time for the Plastic Plate Enduro which was dominated by the GM teams, and in this case, competition passed camaraderie. GM Team #2, consisting of Bregt, Micah, Malcom and Natalie took first, with a fastest lap of 26.339. GM Team #5 of Ben, Casey and James finished 2nd followed by FCA Team#3 of Adam, Brian, Brad, and Alec.  To say the racing was close is an understatement as the top 4 teams finished 45 minutes of racing on the same lap.


The Plastic Plate Team Enduro Podium


Thanks to all who came out and raised over $1,000 for the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

If you forgot to donate, here is the link. 

Thanks too to Autodesk for their continued support and to ABC Group for bringing the food from Chef Raymone.


After 2 nights of racing, the points have changed as the team from GM moves into the lead by 2 points over FCA.  Ford drops to 3rd as Nissan and Toyota tie for 4th.  Rivian drops to 6th and Hyundai makes an appearance from the west coast to round out the table.



Click here to see pictures from Night #2 and here to see pictures from the Car Show.


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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