Detroit Grand Prix poster contest winner crowned

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

Detroit — For the the 30th time this May, the Detroit Grand Prix roars into the Motor City. And for the 30th time it will have a gorgeous, color poster for fans to take home in memory of the event.

This year the official commemorative poster for the 2019 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear comes courtesy of Allie Fedak, a junior designer at the College for Creative Studies.

Fedak's festive design of Belle Isle's Scott Fountain flanked by a race car and winning podium of drivers captured the attention of a panel of seven judges (including this author) — as well as more than 100 IndyCar fans online. Last year's Grand Prix located the winner's circle in front of the fountain for the first time, making it one of the most dramatic backdrops in the sport.

“I don’t know how to put into words what winning this competition means,” said Fedak, who let out a shriek when her name was announced. “I wanted to create the most ideal celebration of the Grand Prix possible with the car crossing the finish line and also in the winner’s circle."

Fedak's design took the gold out of a field of five strong CCS contenders that included juniors Jonathan Kimble, Gabby Lipski, K. Rose Valerius, and Haley Smith.

Valerius's design was chosen runner-up, and Smith grabbed bronze.

“The beauty of what these students at CCS create every year in this competition is amazing,” Grand Prix chairman Bud Denker said. “We had five great designs we saw today and it was hard to choose one of them, but Allie is our winner, and she is going to be a great ambassador with her excitement and enthusiasm."

The posters have become collectors items across the Grand Prix's four decades, and a switch from Formula One racing on the streets of Detroit to the current IndyCar race course on Belle Isle. 

For the last seven years, the Grand Prix has worked with CCS for the poster contest. This year, 18 students from the school's Intermediate digital illustration class — under the watchful eye of professor Brian Kotulis — submitted entries. The field was then narrowed to five for presentation Wednesday before the poster jury. 

In addition to providing a memento for the walls of IndyCar fans, Kotulis says the poster process is a career-building experience for students.

"In addition to developing a contextual narrative with their art," said the CCS professor, "the designers have to speak to the audience that they are trying to engage. The strongest entries brought a natural interest to the forefront as well doing justice to their client."

Fedak's work has just begun. She now will work with veteran Detroit Grand Prix designer Jim Tocco to finalize her design over the next month. The final, official poster will be unveiled April 30 when 2017 IndyCar champ Josef Newgarten comes to town for the annual Grand Prix media lunch with the Detroit Sports Media organization.

The 2019 poster will available for purchase then at

Poster contest judges

► Bud Denker, Grand Prix chairman 

► Stuart Cooper, GM industrial design manager

► Jeanette Puig-Pey, Lear Corporation global design manager

► Jamie Edmonds, WDIV-TV Channel 4 (NBC) sports reporter/anchor

► Henry Payne, Detroit News editorial cartoonist and auto columnist

► Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press assistant sports editor

► Vince Carducci, dean of undergraduate studies at College for Creative Studies

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.