OnGrid mixes track events and music to benefit charity
When OnGrid started its mission was simple, says co-founder Sina Zendehnam. “We wanted to put on events that we thought our friends would enjoy. We love cars, we love to take them on the track and track them.” It all began when they rented a track to have an event at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California, and invited their friends. “That event sold out quickly, so we held another event,” recalls Zendehnam. “Then that event sold out, so we did it again, and that sold out, too. We’ve grown and expanded every year since then by expanding our ideas of what we think would be cool to do.”
After successfully organizing events, OnGrid added racing, and then added drifting events after that. “We want to be able to hang out with our friends who track cars, our friends who drag race, and our friends who want to have car shows,” he says. “It’s pretty simple: we’re just a bunch of guys who love cars.”
After holding a number of events in Northern California, OnGrid expanded into Southern California.
In 2018, they decided to do some additional good in the community. “We wanted to be able to help those less fortunate, so we set up OnGrid for Charity,” he says. “We realized track days limited the number of participants and our ability to raise money, so for 2019, we decided to add music and hold a music and motorsports festival.”
Working with Willow Springs, they were able to hold the first music and motorsports event in 2019. “We had events all day—racing, Time Attack, a car show, and vendors,” explains Zendehnam. “Then around 5:30 p.m. when it started getting cold, the music started and went on until midnight.”
Then came 2020. “We started out strong in January through early March at Thunderhill and Buttonwillow, but our event in late March was canceled due to shelter-in-place orders,” he says. “All of our April events and the majority of May events were canceled.”
By Memorial Day weekend, OnGrid was able to work with all of the parties involved to conduct an event with a limited number of participants and no spectators. From then on, they were able to hold events. In July, they had their first out-of-state event at the Oregon Raceway Park in Grass Valley, Oregon. Then they went to New Orleans, where they held an HPDE. “That event was the farthest away from California that we’ve held so far, and we wanted to keep it simple.”
OnGrid ended 2020 strong. “We were able to book Sonoma Raceway, which allowed us to say we’d held events at every track in California,” says Zendehnam. “We sold out Sonoma in three minutes. It sold out so fast that we overwhelmed MotorsportReg, the site we use to register drivers. Brent Whitten, senior manager of MotorsportReg, called to ask what we had done!”
Zendehnam predicts 2021 will be the biggest year yet for OnGrid. “We have events planned in three states, California, Oregon, and Washington at nine tracks,” he says. “We will have more cars, more motorsports, more memories, and more fun!”
To see when the next OnGrid events are happening, visit their website here at www.ongridtrack.com.