Racing a passion and a startup venture for Kettering student

Jul 13, 2012

Eric Rogner has always had a passion for Kart Racing. Rogner combined that passion with an entrepreneurial spirit to form the Eric Rogner Racing Team.

“This ‘name’ (Eric Rogner Racing) started about nine years ago,” said Rogner, a Frankenmuth native and Mechanical Engineering major at Kettering. “At first it was just a fun thing. As time went on, we started running it like a business, mainly to help me understand business by tracking expenses, shopping and negotiating for the best deal on items we need and especially tracking the many different things we do with chassis setup, tires, etc. This data collection is what makes a consistent and successful approach to winning races.”

Eric Rogner Racing Team

Currently, his racing team consists of one kart. His family and friends help with the many aspects of running a team, including getting sponsorships. He has brought on board several sponsors, including Stine Seed, Frankenmuth Credit Union, Bayer Crop Science, Weiss Equipment, Star of the West Milling, Employee Benefit Resources, Maple Road Tree Farm and Personal Touch Painting. Family members have also helped with expenses through sponsorships.

His family’s interest in racing is also what spurred Rogner into getting involved in the sport.

Eric Rogner Racing Team in action“My family and I have always liked racing,” he said. “About 12 years ago a group of us went to watch Kart Races at a track in Houghton Lake and we got hooked. We bought a kart and played around with other local kart racers, we built a track with some friends and the rest is history. For the last four or five years we have been traveling more and farther to race in other competitions.”

This year, his team will race in the Burris Thunder Tour Series, which consists of six races in Southern Indiana and Southern Illinois. Rogner also races at tracks in Owosso, Mich., Vestaburg, Mich., and Arthur, Mich. The season runs from May to September and Rogner also participates in some indoor racing events in Grand Rapids and Fort Wayne in the winter.

With this passion a part of Rogner’s life growing up, it’s no surprise he pursued Mechanical Engineering at Kettering.

Eric Rogner Racing Team in action“Racing has helped me unlock my mechanical abilities and has made me want to pursue a career as a Mechanical Engineer in the automotive industry,” Rogner said. “Kart Racing has also taught me what it takes to succeed -- drive, hard work and dedication. It only took a couple of times of getting beat pretty bad to learn that if I want to win I need to spend a few more nights and weekends working on the karts and tires.”

For information about Eric Rogner Racing and to learn about sponsorship opportunities, call (989) 239-7675 or e-mail

Contact: Patrick Hayes
(810) 762-9538