Aaron Draplin

Aaron Draplin is a designer from Portland, Oregon. Aaron formed DDC in 2003, and has been very successful the last few years in the design world. He is someone I personally look up to, and his design work and persona is an inspiration for many. Ted Talk caught up with Aaron this year, and he talked about “Making It In The Little Leagues.”

Racing: Why Do We Do It?

If you race any form of motorsports, or know someone that does, you’ve probably asked this question. My girlfriend wonders this all the time. There I’ll be, sitting on the table, wrenching on my cars. I’m all excited about the coming weekend of racing in some far-off state, with a long drive ahead of me. Once at the track, I’m stressed. What tires am I going to run? Why is my engine tune off? I have to change shock oil and make that roll center change. For some, leaving time to eat isn’t even an option. They’re so focused on doing the best they can. Ultimately, some of us (like myself) are never fully satisfied with how we perform. Sure, we’ll have certain runs we feel okay about, but rarely something you are really happy about. You can always do better, right? Often times with myself, some sort of Nitro problem puts me out of the long 30-45 main event, and I’m sitting on the sidelines, thinking about what I could have done different. On the electric side, some of us sit on the A to B Main split, and we are constantly stressed out about simply making the Main Event. RC Racing is stressful. It’s no wonder why; some of us spend thousands of dollars to just go that little bit faster. We spend equal hours wrenching and researching the latest setup to gain that extra tenth. Racing is a full-time job, in itself.

After certain “downer” races where I don’t perform well, or where there was an issue with the car, I often come home upset. I’m not the only one that notices, as my girlfriend will also say, “How was your weekend? Did you have fun?” Many times I don’t know how to answer her. Sure, I had fun. I was able to hang out with my friends that I rarely get to see. We’ll sometimes eat at unique restaurants, other times the same old dollar menu. But my on-track performance determines much of how I’ll feel about the weekend. That’s why I’m there, right? I’ve realized that over the years, even if I do well, even if I win, I’m still not happy. Often times I’m simply satisfied, even if I win. Thousands of dollars in tires and equipment, gas, hotels, entry fees…. only to be satisfied. Why is this? Are we succumb to some form of addiction? I would probably say so. Am I okay with that? Sure!

I don’t know why we continue to race time and time again, even when everything seems to be going wrong. Maybe it’s the hope instilled in us to keep pushing. That there’s always next time. The racing industry, in general, is also ever changing. There is always a new product to be bought to keep our interests fresh. I think for some of us, racing is all we have ever known. My dad raced BMX when he was young, then competed in drag racing, auto cross, and eventually dirt track racing. Racing is in our blood, it’s what we breathe. There’s a small part of myself that knows that even if everything else goes wrong in life, racing is always there to keep me going. It gives me a continued hope and excitement.

Below is a clip from the 2014 JConcepts Spring Nationals at the HobbyPLEX in Omaha, NE. I qualified third, and stayed there for quite some time, battling with the green buggy of Matt Gosch (I’m the yellow and red car in 3rd.) Unfortunately, I faced a servo issue in the A Main after working so hard the whole week to be on my game. We’ve all been there at one time or another, we just need to keep our head up and move on. There is always the next race to look forward to!

Shaun Neary Memorial Race

Within the RC (radio control) community, we lost a great friend a few years ago. Shaun Neary used to race in the upper-Midwest, and I recall seeing him a lot in the Minnesota Nitro Series over the years.

Lucky 13 Speedway in Osseo, WI decided to host a memorial race for Shaun, and many drivers from MN and WI attended this great event last weekend. I want to thank everyone for attending, and those at L13 for putting on a great race!

Hunter Holmberg of the Twin Cities won 2wd Mod Buggy, Neil Feneis of St. Cloud, MN won 2wd Mod Truck, and Kendall Welch (me) of Mankato, MN won 4wd Mod Buggy. Below is footage of part of the 2wd Mod Truck main with Neil Feneis and Steve Nelson, both representing Team Associated.

factory logo


Welcome to my first post. There is quite an array of content on this page, so I’ll explain a little bit about what’s all on here. At the top of the page, Portfolio is where you will find many of my Design projects I’ve done throughout the years. Factory, also at the top, is a project very close to me that I’m working on. Factory is an identity that is going to focus on the interaction between art and motorsports. Contact, of course, is where you will find where we are elsewhere via the Interwebz. About shares a little bit of information and background about myself.

Enjoy the blog! I will try to keep it pretty up to date. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂