And we have a winner! Designer Night at the Races #61

Editor’s note – Thanks to Eve Pickman for writing up this week of activities.  It was nice to actually spend time with everyone instead of spending my evening writing notes.

Another Record Setting Night at Kart2Kart – With the support of our great partners,  ABC Group, Autodesk and Lacks Enterprises, this year’s Spring Designer Night at the Races™ helped to raise over $1,000 on our final night at Kart2Kart in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  We’re proud to say YOU set new charitable donation records every single night we raced, bringing the three-day total to almost $2,700!   That’s a real testament to the spirit of competition, camaraderie and charity. Thanks to all of you, we’ll be making a sizable donation to benefit Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, in support of Pediatric Oncology Research.

IMG_1044There was something for everyone out in the Kart2Kart parking lot in Wednesday evenings car show. A mid-engine MR2 was named the winner in a show that included a nicely accessorized Mini S, Corvette, Camaro, Challenger, Charger SRT, Lotus Elise and WRX. 


If you are a fan of karting and car shows, watch for our Cars, Karts and Coffee events throughout the summer

DSCN0875It’s easy to overlook qualifying while socializing with friends; however, Wednesday’s night action saw a red flag in the harpin, as a car spun out due to seat position issues and was hit by a car following closely behind it. Egos were bruised, but it was all good in the end, everyone shook it off and went on to a successful night of racing.

IMG_1336We can’t stress the importance of studying the track map, asking the staff about braking zones and how to best set up corners. Even if you are familiar with a track, every kart handles differently.


IMG_1390Andrew of Ford lead the pack in the 14 lap D Main race. Well ahead of the second-place finisher, John of FCA.  Andrew took command of the track and never looked back, successfully passing lap traffic to lock in his win. The third-place finisher, Anthony of FCA was 19.740 seconds off the race winner, with a best lap time of 28.886 seconds.


IMG_1393Brad, previously of AACS fame, and lately at Tata, claimed the top spot on the podium in a 14 lap C Main race. Jamie of Autodesk ran a very close second, coming in .973 seconds behind the race leader. Natalie of Lacks Trim snagged the third-place finish, with a best lap time of 28.357 seconds.   This means two of the three podium spots were covered by event partners – but we assure you the kart selection was completely random.


IMG_1396In a 15 lap B Main race, Chris of Ford crossed the finish line 2.382 seconds ahead of Tom for the win. Third place finisher Thiago of GM was 3.002 seconds behind the race winner.


IMG_1403Stefano of FCA dominated the A Main race, with a top lap time of 26.582 seconds. Micah of GM took second place honors, finishing only .516 seconds behind the leader. Artur of Ford came in third, with a best lap time of 26.976, finishing 6.403 seconds behind Stefano. All of the top 10 finishers completed 16 laps in a very skilled field.


IMG_1340A sense of humor prevailed as teams prepped for the evenings big event, the Plastic Plate Team Enduro race. Sam, a Ford team member laughed when asked about helmet hair. “Helmet hair is a way of life if you start out with helmet hair.” We do believe Sam was one of the participants who showed up on motorcycle. Let’s just say, two wheel skills may have paid off on track, though there’s a lot to be said for Andrew’s point of view — the best of the slowest still has as much fun as the overall winner.


IMG_1352Night two of the Plastic Plate team endurance racing was a highly-strategized event. One driver used spotters and mobile phone-powered in-the-ear telemetry to successfully pass lap traffic and gain track position. Another team short stinted their weakest driver, giving the fastest person on their team the most seat time. Brakes were used sparingly by one of the GM teams, while another GM team went with the “Our strategy is to win” game plan. Let’s just say their plan worked fairly well, earning them the second step on the podium.  IMG_1419The race was on…or was it? A false start, due to a technical glitch caused a restart, the first ever in Designer Night at the Races history. An early driver change by FCA 2 helped the team to a strong third place finish, Ford ran their slowest driver first and built momentum from there. 82 laps later and Ford 1 claimed the win, followed one lap back by GM 1 and the FCA 2 team two laps behind. IMG_1024As we look back over the pictures of the previous 11 years of Designer Night at the Races™ participants, we see some faces who have been with us from almost the very beginning and others who have joined in as the reputation of Designer Nights at the Races has grown.IMG_1421Each three-day races series is capped off with an award for the OEM with the most individual and team race points and bonus points for highest overall participation. This year’s trophy and celebratory luncheon went to Ford, for the first time since 2006. FCA and GM tied for second place, with FCA landing the second spot on the podium based on overall attendance.  This was the closest finish EVER!

Be sure to spread the word to help increase your company’s chances of taking home the trophy. It’s a great chance to see friends from school, make new friends and test your skills.


IMG_1423A special thank you to everyone who stayed to wish Frank an impromptu happy birthday at Designer Night at The Races #61.

It was the perfect ending to three great nights of fun and fundraising.


IMG_1018Curious about what we do here at here at AACS? Take a moment to learn more about the company and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog. It’s the best way to find out about upcoming events, like the Saturday morning Detroit area Cars, Karts & Coffee we manage for Kart2Kart.  The next Cars, Karts and Coffee event is June 10th!  And the next Designer Night at the Races events are in June in SoCal!

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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