Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Rusty Hub's Recommended Summer Reading

Sometimes a "Never Give Up" attitude comes into play before the race even begins. Team Skid Steer performed an engine swap on their Mercury Bobcat in the paddock at the 2011 Showroom Schlock Shootout a full day before the race's Green Flag. (The Rusty Hub photo)

Without blame or excuse, we here at The Rusty Hub took a certainly unmerited vacation from interviewing this week to enjoy instead the glory of Memorial Day racing. And by this we mean ChumpCar World Series' 14 Hours of Daytuna and the 24 Hours of LeMons' North Dallas Hooptie 24-hour race, of course.

Apparently, some other guys drove some funny-looking cars around a big oval in the middle of the country and then some other other guys drove some even more funny-looking cars around some city or country or something on the Mediterranean Sea. But we don't know much about that.
What we do know, however, is that there is some great crapcan reading to be found elsewhere on the Web. Here's a smattering of the good stuff to keep you busy until we have a new interview next week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crapcan Weekend at a Glance: June 1-3

The B.F.E. GP
High Plains Raceway (Deer Trail, CO) - 24 Hours of LeMons

Colorado will host this weekend's round of the 24 Hours of LeMons at High Plains. The B.F.E. GP will be a two-race session with the following race times:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Craigslist Literary Finds: 1962 Fairlane 2-Door ROLLER Lots of Parts!! - $650 (Arlington)

Ninety percent of the non-running cars on CraigsList seem to be GM F-bodies or Mustangs. So today's find from Dallas is a breath of fresh air: [Editor's Note: Listing has since been deleted, but the post is quoted in its entirety, minus pictures.]

Monday, May 28, 2012

Movie Monday: The glorious crapcan roar

It's Movie Memorial Day!


This week, we head (vicariously) to Summit Point Raceway in West Virgina for the 2011 Capitol Offense race of the 24 Hours of LeMons. The video, from the Mod Squad Racing team, is taken from the track's bridge looking down the course's longest straight, where cars hurtle at wide-open throttle toward the intimidating Karussel. It happens to be one of The Rusty Hub's favorite videos.

Friday, May 25, 2012


The Go Green Honda CRX team made a classic rookie mistake at Stafford Springs in 2008 by not bringing a tent to camp in. (Murilee Martin photo)
Last week, we asked how many crapcan races our readers have driven in. Those who have driven in seven or more had a slight edge, but it suffices to say that our readership have varied experience on the crapcan circuit. Here's how the numbers break down:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Q&A with Michael Chiappetta from Leftover Parts Racing

The Pink Pig stands out in a pack of cars at the soggy 2011 24 Hours of LeMons race at Infineon Raceway. (Murilee Martin photo)
Crapcan racing doesn't typically adhere to car classing the way most racing sanctioning bodies do. As a result, teams take many different approaches to picking a car. Some opt for 'merican muscle because Mustangs and Camaros are abundant and ubiquitous with cheap speed. Some follow the aftermarket's lead and pick cheap and easily modified imports like Hondas. For San Diego's Leftover Parts Racing, the equipment decision was easy: Stick to what you know.

Leftover Parts campaigns a tired-but-still-sprite first-generation Mazda RX-7 that logged well over 200,000 miles in its days as a street car. Rather than swapping on countless go-fast parts, the team kept the car very close to its original status, opting to to use their broad base of RX-7 knowledge to make the car reliable rather than a rocket. The result has been a car that, while not breaking any series' lap records, has been immensely successful through 11 races over seven race weekends.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Craigslist Literary Finds: '67 nova good parts car very solid car have two truck loads of parts'

Welcome to a new feature in which we explore the baffling and sometimes accidentally insightful world of Craigslist auto ad language. Today's installment comes from Indianapolis:

Crapcan weekend at a glance: May 25 - 28

14 Hours of Daytuna
ChumpCar World Series - Daytona International Speedway

This weekend will see the first crapcan race at legendary Daytona in a one-day, 14-hour session Sunday, May 27. The race will use the "roval" course. Race organizers have more than 120 cars registered for the race.

The Speedway requires all participants to have run wheel-to-wheel road racing previously. As several hours of the race will take place at night, operational headlights are required. See the supplemental rules below for full information.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Movie Monday: Wizardry at the wheel

Today's Movie Monday is a two-for-one special, in which you get two views of the same incident.

We'll start with the view on board the Porch Racing Porsche 944 at the 24 Hours of LeMons Race at Infineon Raceway. The Porsche is chasing the Crash Test Zombies' Mazda RX-7, which is itself running down a Fiero in the esses.

In the transition from one left-hander to a right turn, the Fiero spins--as Fieros have been known to do-- and taps the RX-7 on the right-rear. The Porsche is also nearly collected as the Fiero overcorrects, but a second bit of contact is narrowly avoided. Meanwhile, the Crash Test Zombie has rowed at the wheel furiously to keep his RX-7 going the right direction. The Porsche driver motions to the RX-7, but it's unclear what he's saying.

Now watch from inside the RX-7:

Enjoy the driver's well-earned whoops of victory. And, as he pulls into the pits, the viewer finds out what the Porsche driver had been gesturing about.
"Magic Hands," indeed.

Of course, the Crash Test Zombies would later be penalized for running 100-treadwear tires at the same race, but The Rusty Hub doesn't hold it against them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Killer ZomBee, Part 2: Q&A with the drivers

The rise of British sea power at Sears Point 2012: The ZomBee leads Spank's Austin America through a soggy turn. (Murilee Martin photo)

[Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of The Rusty Hub's Killer ZomBee interviews. Click here to read Part 1 with ZomBee builder and caretaker Pete Peterson.]

It's all well and good to discuss the ZomBee with its creator Pete Peterson, but The Rusty Hub wanted some more perspective, so--with some help from Pete--we wrangled up interviews with four drivers who have recently piloted the Bee: Monte Miller, John Betts, Cregg Cowan, and Andy Packard. As The Rusty Hub was experiencing technical difficulties, we interviewed them separately and made a composite interview (with a few digressions), hence the sometimes strange flow of the interview.

However, you can read in the interviews a reverence for Pete Peterson that borders on awe and--if you'll allow The Rusty Hub to editorialize a bit--three things became apparent in the course of these conversations and the one with Pete himself:

Weekly Question: Simple Version

Caution: Smug hybrid drivers may become rabid and foam at the mouth upon hearing a V8.
Last week, we asked our readers what drivetrain they'd put in a crapcan hybrid. Thirty-six percent of our readers would get all 'merican and shoehorn a Mustang or Camaro V8 into the car and convert it to rear-wheel drive. How hard could it be to give the Prius some grunt and some go-fast? It would certainly prompt looks of horror from the actual hybrid crowd, but perhaps not as much as our second-place finisher with 31 percent of the votes, which was simply a "smoky diesel." It could be a little Isuzu four-cylinder, an Olds LF7, or any "non-clean" diesel. The black smoke pouring from the exhaust would quickly prompt some hybrid owners to shift from Smug Mode to Apoplexic Rant Mode.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Killer Zombee MGB, Part 1: Q&A with Pete Peterson

The Boy and his Bee: Pete Peterson prepares to dive headfirst down the rabbit hole at the Killer ZomBee's first crapcan race in Reno, 2009. Thirteen races later, the two are still plugging away, having embraced the loftiest peaks with glee and endured the grimmest valleys with aplomb. (Murilee Martin photo)

It's impossible to tell the whole legend of Pete Peterson's Killer ZomBee MGB, but a basic Google search will give the key points:

- The once-smooth Killer Bee's bone-crunching flip and unlikely resurrection as the ZomBee
- The 1,400-mile round trip to a race with just the car and a handful of spares
- A second apparently crippling accident caught in a series of photos, again resurrected with Peterson's will and a BFH
- The painfully slow British car's Class C victory in its 12th crapcan race
- Hooniversal Car of the Year award in 2011 for some, maybe all, of the above-mentioned reasons (and more)

And that's only some of it. For the unfamiliar (or the familiar), check out the ZomBee's résumé:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crapcan weekend at a glance: May 18 - 20

Texas Twister 24
ChumpCar World Series - Texas World Speedway

ChumpCar will hold a true 24-hour race this weekend at Texas World Speedway in College Station, TX. The grueling grind of an event will take place on the combined oval and road course. The green flag drops Saturday at noon with the checkered flag at noon Sunday. See supplemental rules below for more information.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Theme and Livery ideas: The Simpsons

Considering it's probably the biggest pop-culture colander, The Rusty Hub is somewhat surprised that there haven't been more Simpsons-themed crapcans. As far as we can tell, there have been four Simpsons-related cars (though we're possibly missing some; call us out in the Comments section):

(1) The extremely well-executed version of Homer's pink sedan done by the Homersexuals
(2) The Duff Beer Honda Civic of team Drinking and Driving (A group of homebrewers, not drunk drivers)
(3) Team Bear Patrol's Lexus, which references a great absurdist plot
(4) The Mr. Sparkle Toyota Supra.

So let's take a look at some potential Simpsons themes and what you might need to do to make them happen.

Friday, May 11, 2012

WEEKLY QUESTION: Smugness not included

Severe body roll and three-wheeling may contribute to bladder pressure. (The Rusty Hub photo)
Last week, The Rusty Hub asked how your teammates would react if you peed in the seat during a long stint. The results were close, but 31 percent of our readers resolved that a little urine can't stop a race team; their instinctual resourcefulness means that they'd just throw the next driver in and maybe drill some drain holes as a courtesy to minimize sloshing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pardon Me: Q&A with Sean Foege of Gray Poopon

Sean Foege pilots the Gray Poopon Civic en route to a Top 10 finish at Gingerman Raceway in April 2012. Note the front lip and sideskirts crafted from garden edging. The headlight filler and spoiler were made from Good Stuff spray foam insulation. (Gray Poopon photo)

For most crapcan teams, the first race is an adventure, a roller coaster of unpredictable ups and downs. The loosely controlled frenzy of wheel-to-wheel racing becomes an addictive rush and most teams are wired for several days straight, even while they try to overcome beginner mistakes and unexpected mechanical failures.

For 24 Hours of Lemons competitors Gray Poopon, their first weekend at Gingerman Raceway's now-infamous April 2011 snow-mageddon was an utter disaster. In a 64-car field, the Poopon's Honda Civic finished a dismal 59th. But they stormed back three months later with a new strategy to capture a 20th place finish at the same track that had so recently burned them. Within another three months, they'd finished 19th in a much larger field at Autobahn Country Club.

Just a few short weeks ago, the suburban-Chicago-based squad--which has included different driver rosters made up of a combination of Sean Foege, Luke Satterfield, Vic Jasko, Daniel Cotton, Rodney Elder, and Bradley Bishop--improved yet again to a seventh-place finish at Gingerman.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Crapcan weekend at a glance: May 11-13

This upcoming weekend is rare in that there are no crapcan races. So spend the weekend wrenching on your money-to-noise machine, but remember to take a break Sunday to celebrate Mother's Day.

Pro Tip: Wash your hands before you take your mother/wife/baby mama/furbaby mama/sugar mama/Mama Cass out for breakfast/brunch/lunch/lunner/dinner.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Movie Monday: Monterrey MetroGnome

Welcome back to Movie Monday, in which we plumb the depths of the Internet for compelling and interesting videos from crapcan racing.

This week's video is an expertly edited1, highly entertaining short feature starring the Geo MetroGnome and its pilot Colin Drobnis. I use the word "pilot" because it's no small feat to drive around such an amazingly engineered and mind-numbingly fast contraption.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Loudon Annoying Class Leaders, Day 1

Here's a quick listing of the 24 Hours of LeMons standings after eight hours of racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as collected from Race Monitor at the checkered flag:

1.  #106 Bill Danger and the Road Hazzards (Class B)
2. #508 Masshole (Class B)
3. #240 Keystone Kops
4. #69 Team Apres Ski Racing
5. #15 Booby Prize Racing
6. #300 Rust in the Wind (Class B)
7. #61 Cranky Amish Mommas
8. #35 Roger's Failbird
9. #84 Walk of Shame Racing
10.  #262 Vermont Maple Runners (Class B)

Crapcan brew review: Sapporo in a big ol' can

[Editor's Note: The Rusty Hub does not in any way endorse drinking and driving and especially does not in any way endorse drinking and racing. During a race weekend, alcohol should only be enjoyed while the track is cold (after the day's racing is over), when there is no driving to be done (to the hotel, home, etc.), and when aligned with track regulations regarding consumption. To sum up: Don't be stupid.]

The Rusty Hub recently trekked to a local liquor store to find a crapcan-caliber brew to review. After gleefully poking through the six-packs of craft beer and then dejectedly looking at our budget sheet [Yes, we carry our budget sheet with us everywhere], we trundled over to a dimly lit cooler filled with glistening and frighteningly large single servings.

Our intention had been to find a beer that embodied the spirit of crapcan racing. In other words: Something cheap. Filthy cheap. And made from things that don't seem like they should go together. So we reluctantly reached for the big clear bottle with the black label, preparing to be snakebit.

But as we turned for the checkout counter, a reflection from the top row of the cooler caught our eye1. The silver-and-gold rays of hope made our oversight obvious. If ever a beer embodied crapcan racing, it was this: Sapporo.

Friday, May 4, 2012

WEEKLY QUESTION: The Gross Edition

The Monaco crowd frowns on this sort of thing, but we're glad a quarter of our readers take pleasure from the megarich's utter horror. (Eric Rood photo)

In last weeks' question, The Rusty Hub asked at which overseas track our readers would most want to race their crapcan. Unsurprisingly, 35 percent of our readers would throw their jalopies around Germany's motorsports mecca Nurburgring. Coming in second was the famed Monaco Street Circuit with 24 percent of you no doubt wanting to see the horror on the faces of the megarich residents when a Pontiac Fiero's Iron Duke calls it quits and oils the Piscine.

The Rusty Hub's editorial board was initially shocked to see endurance racing mecca Le Mans finishing third with 17 percent, but we then figured many readers were probably smart enough to know that the Mulsanne Straight would be the car's (and likely the driver's) final resting place. Thirteen percent of our readers have cheaty enough cars to think they can to scale to the top of the Mount Panorama Circuit; most $500 cars would grind to a halt and then roll back down before reaching the Cutting. Rounding out the choices were a handful of Eau Rougers for Spa-Francorchamps (6 percent), one vote for Silverstone, and no love at all for Monza. Additionally, reader Michael (Let's call him Michael the Masochist) made a suggestion in the comments section: "Paris-Dakar in a crapcan anyone? Anyone?"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Team Pony Express: The bumpy road to crapcan racing

Team Pony Express' Ford Escort poses for some glamour shots before the team's second race weekend in 2011.  (Team Pony Express photo)

Portland International Raceway always seemed damp, but on October 30, 2011, track conditions were no worse than what Team Pony Express had seen in two previous ChumpCar World Series weekends at the circuit. What set the weekend apart was not even the crumpled bumper and junked radiator, the result of driver Zach Jackson collecting a spun Camaro with the team's Ford Escort during the previous day's 12-hour session. It was instead the stubborn brake system that kept the mostly Seattle-based team off the track Sunday. They could have thrown in the towel completely, but the team chose instead to make a day of it, enjoying the race and making friends in the paddock.

When they noticed the neighboring Japanese Auto Tech team were running "crummy all-season" tires on its '88 Toyota Corolla, driver and chief Pony wrangler Aaron Samuelson generously offered the team Pony Express' grippier Dunlop Direzza Star Spec Z1s. The Auto Tech team initially refused, but Samuelson would have none of it. When the Corolla next pitted, Samuelson promptly jacked the car up and started removing its wheels. The Auto Tech drivers noticed immediate results on the different rubber.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Crapcan weekend at a glance: May 4-6

Spo-Crap-Can International Challenge Cup
ChumpCar World Series - Spokane County Raceway

This weekend's ChumpCar race will be a one-day, 16-hour slugfest at Spokane County Raceway. The green flag flies Saturday, May 5, at 8 a.m. PST with the checkered flag at midnight.

ChumpCar Western Region Director Cathy McCause has indicated that the 2.5-mile long course will be used for the entire race, which is unlike previous events at Spokane when both configurations were used.