HOLLISTON, Mass., Oct. 14 - Didier Theys drove the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 ...
HOLLISTON, Mass., Oct. 14 - Didier Theys drove the Doran-Lista DORAN JE4 #27 through the doors of a brand-new 41,000-square-foot addition to Lista International Corp.'s American factory here Tuesday afternoon, and then did a quick pit stop and a victory donut on the warehouse floor as the roar of the car's Toyota V8 engine reverberated across the addition's vast walls and ceiling.
All that excitement drew a standing ovation from the American employees of the company that is the world leader in the production of modular storage systems.
They were assembled to recognize three things: the Swiss company's 35th anniversary in the United States; the dedication of the latest addition to its American factory; and the announcement that its racing team will contest the entire 2004 Grand American Road Racing Association Rolex Series with Theys and Lista International chairman Fredy Lienhard as its primary drivers.
On hand to show their support were Jim France, chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation; Robin Braig, president of Daytona International Speedway; Craig Rust, president of Watkins Glen International; Roger Edmondson, president of Grand American Road Racing; and Greg Otte, Grand American's director of marketing.
Don Brown, president of Lista International, and Lienhard were the primary speakers during a short program during the special luncheon, where they gave a quick overview of their business and expressed their appreciation for the employees' hard work. They also made a presentation to Roger Carbone, the Eastern area sales manager, for his 35 years of service to the company. Lista International opened its American division 35 years ago in August.
"The new addition brings our manufacturing space here in Holliston to 225,000 square feet," Brown noted. "With it, we will be able to rotate a lot of our fabrication equipment into the new area to make way for the new powder-coating system which we'll be installing."
Lienhard stressed his appreciation to his employees for their hard work. "I want to thank all of you for your contribution to the success of Lista," he said. "Without all of you, we cannot succeed. We want you to know that you are all an important part of the team, and I want you to be happy to go to work each day. I sincerely hope that all of you think that Lista is a good place to work.
"With our company, it is important not only to do our work well, but to enjoy our work," he continued. "We have all developed great friendships on our racing team, and hopefully you have developed great friendships here at work also. We are living in a very difficult economic environment. I want you all to be proud of your company, and to know that with this new addition we are proving that we have confidence in the future. We want to do everything we can to make Lista productive and competitive, and the same is true with the racing team. There are so many similarities between racing and business. We always want to do the best possible job we can, and I thank you very much for your contributions."
Kevin Doran, the owner of the racing team, noted that 2004 will mark Lista's tenth year of involvement with Doran Racing. "It's a great honor to have this association," Doran said. "Racing is a tough business, and our relationship with Lista is a fantastic partnership. We will run for the full Grand-Am championship next year, and hopefully we can achieve the results that we're hoping for. We have the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona coming up, which is a very hard race to win. We always strive for the championship as well. Everyone at Doran Racing appreciates the job you all are doing for Lista, and with that we want you to know that you're an important part of the racing effort too."
Later in the day Doran and Lienhard both signed the final paperwork outlining their arrangement for the 2004 season, with options for additional years in the future.
Doran was joined on the dais by Theys and four members of the team's pit crew: Jeff Graves, Don Caesar, Jeff Golubeski and Dub Baird. Lienhard's wife, Regula Lienhard, and his daughter, Francesca Lienhard, were also in attendance and were recognized.
The racing executives on hand received a personal tour of the factory from Lienhard and Brown before the luncheon. During their visit the sanctioning body and track executives stressed how pleased they are for Lista's involvement in the sport through Doran-Lista Racing.
"The Doran-Lista team has been a part of Grand American racing since the series started in 2000," Edmondson noted from the podium. "We are very happy that after running a limited schedule this year we will have Fredy Lienhard and Didier Theys back competing for the championship again in 2004."
"Through its first-rate professionalism and thorough attention to detail, the Doran-Lista team has been an excellent ambassador for the people and products of Lista International. Grand American Road Racing is proud to be one of Lista's customers, as our operations trailer is outfitted with Lista cabinets," he continued.
"This is a proud moment for the Rolex Series," France stated. "To have an internationally-respected veteran team like Doran-Lista Racing competing in the Rolex Sports Car Series for the North American Road Racing Championship is major news."
"Daytona International Speedway is fortunate to host three rounds in the Rolex Series and I am extremely happy that we will have the Doran-Lista team to present to our fans next season," Braig added. "We've seen interest in the Rolex Series grow each year since it started and the field we will have next year, including this Doran-Lista team, is going to be the best ever."
"I have to agree with everything Robin said," Rust concurred. "I know there was a lot of fan excitement this year when it was announced that Didier was coming back to drive here. He is such a legend in the sport."
After the presentation, the employees examined the race car closely; asked questions of the drivers, Doran and the pit crew on a one-on-one basis; toured the team's transporter, which like most in major-league racing is equipped with Lista cabinets; and got autographs from Theys and Lienhard.
Later in the day the company and the racing team did a similar presentation to Lista's employees who work during the night shift.
Doran-Lista Racing is second in the all-time victory records with eight Rolex Series victories and was winner of the 2002 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the most prestigious endurance sports car race in North America. Theys won the 2002 Grand American Rolex Series driver's championship in the top class at that time, Sports Racing Prototype. The team now competes in a new top class called Daytona Prototype, campaigning the new DORAN JE4 chassis that was designed and built at Doran Enterprises' headquarters in Lebanon, Ohio.
The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series consists of a dozen events that include races at Watkins Glen International in New York and Daytona International Speedway in Florida. The 2003 season finale is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Daytona, while the 2004 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will be held Jan. 31-Feb. 1.