Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Ten Best Cars Never Featured in a Video Game: Our Take

On Tuesday, Jalopnik asked what the best cars never featured in a video game were. And guess what? The answers turned out to be a bunch of supercars, the six-wheeled Tyrell, some other crap we don't care about and an admittedly awesome boxy-era Subaru.

How has the Alfa Romeo GTV6 never been in Forza? The sound modeling alone would be worth it. (The Rusty Hub photo)

Craigslist Literary Find: 1994 Wu Tang Special

(Thanks to 24 Hours of LeMons forum user 'Cheseroo' for this).

A CraigsList ad, presented without editing or comment:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Movie Monday: More like Team Puke-y Cash, amirite?

It's Monday and you're probably still trying to shake the inevitable crash from the full-day's rush that is the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Endurance racing isn't for the timid or the meek, but luckily you overcame bleary eyes and utter exhaustion to see it through.

And with only mild damage done to your couch.

Speaking of mild seat damage, we received some information on good authority that a certain famous factory prototype and IndyCar driver wet the seat of his Daytona Prototype during a three-hour stint in the car. Fortunately for the next driver, the car required a repair at the end of his stint. We don't know for certain, but we're pretty sure some poor crewman spent at least a few seconds sopping up stale urine from the seat.

Peeing in one's SFI suit is nothing new to racing and it's not as debilitating to your chances of winning as, say, vomiting profusely inside your helmet and having it project out into your race car's cockpit while you're comfortably leading your class.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

ChumpCar announces sponsorship deal with Optima Batteries, ice racing series

Optima Batteries has signed a multiyear agreement to act as ChumpCar World Series' executive sponsor, ChumpCar announced today in a press release.

The Milwaukee-based batter manufacturer's sponsorship allows it to act as the title sponsor for the series, which is now officially called the "Optima Batteries/ChumpCar World Series."

The release also says the "agreement involves financial support, joint event and tradeshow engagements, co-marketing and public relations participation, advertising and media promotion, event naming rights, charitable program development, and Optima Batteries' product distribution to all ChumpCar participants..."

Ice racing

In a separate release, ChumpCar announced the creation of the Optima Batteries ChumpCar World Series International Ice Racing Series.

No additional details were released, but more information will be posted on the ChumpCar website with event schedules posted on the series' forum.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CrapTunes: "Sludgefeast" by Dinosaur Jr.

Sometimes, you just have to tell people what music you're using to deafen yourself.

We enjoy many things about Dinosaur Jr., including but not limited to

(1) J. Mascis' flowing white locks.
(2) J. Mascis' ability to make interviews super-awkward.
(3) a wall of Marshall amplifiers that is definitely not for show.
(4) Murph wailing on the drums.
(5) Lou Barlow being kind of neat sometimes, I guess.
(6) Jaguars and Jazzmasters, two of the most awesomest guitars.
(7) this song in its entirety, which will be the inevitable theme song for the 12 Hour Sludgefeast of Sebrings, a race that will ideally consist of 200 or so very sad men cursing at, crying about or laughing at the Chrysler LH's alleged oil sludge issues and the winner clocking about 40 laps.

Until the 12 Hours of Sebrings idea comes to fruition, enjoy an aural "Sludgefeast" instead.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Those Other Racers: That Smarts

In some places, people will race just about anything. In Britain, this includes the Smart 4Two Cup, in which a bunch of insanely slow Smart cars putt around those venerable old aerodrome-style English motor racing circuits in support of the Britcar series.

It's truly momentum racing where the short wheelbase means that drivers are pretty much skating around the circuit, even moreso after the country's oh-so-frequent rains. Normally we'd frown on this idea, but this is essentially the realization of those awesome kei car races we love from Gran Turismo.

We don't suppose this will ever be supplanted by a Piaggio Ape Cup, but a man can dream, can't he?

Monday, January 14, 2013

A reading from the book of Speedycop

The Chief Perp said, "To please me, I would like a Man of the Law to make a machine of the sky roll as a cart. And it shall outpace the Snipe and place a fire in men's bellies*.

Lo, a man--a policeman--saw the light and heeded the call. When the time was right, he took up his tools in earnest to make it so.

The unclean masses shall scorn it and declare it profane. But the believers will see and know that it is Good.
- Speedycop 24:1-4

Friday, January 11, 2013

Crapcanalysis, Part 4: The Rustbucket List

Two of the craziest builds--the Geo Metro Gnome and the Model T GT--dice at Thunderhill in December 2011 at the 24 Hours of LeMons race. Both cars have run in the 24 Hours of LeMons and ChumpCar World Series. The Metro Gnome has won races in both series. (Murilee Martin photo)

So here it is, the combined data from the ChumpCar World Series and the 24 Hours of LeMons. This is, in all likelihood, the least useful of the data because of the ways in which the series' rules have drifted apart. Each series exhibits its own spin on crapcan racing with different objectives and means of achieving them.

To illustrate this difference, we've separated each model's overall successes by series. As such, one can see that some types--like the BMW E36--do well in ChumpCar but haven't yet been successful in LeMons while the opposite is true of other types, namely the BMW E28.

However, it's worth noting that many teams run entries successfully in both series. The Geo Metro Gnome has racked up five wins in total; two were LeMons' victories and three came in ChumpCar. Many other teams have found similar success competing in both series so we think this table contains at least a few shreds of useful data.

What you'll see in most instances is a pretty strong correlation between success in one series and success in the other.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Craiglist Literary Finds: A tale of two Scorpios

If you don't know the history of Merkur (pronounced "Fail-yer")--Ford's attempt to rebadge European Fords for domestic consumption--I'll spare you the details. Just know that it didn't work and most examples have long since been dragged to the crusher.

Merkur built the Scorpio in the 1988 and 1989 model years and it could be considered rare, albeit non-collectible. Let's take a look at two that examples we found in a recent Craigslist search.

Crapcanalysis, Part 3: The Chumptastic Truth

British American Racing's BMW E30 sports a transatlantic livery that we rather enjoy. B.A.R. enjoys tremendous success in ChumpCar with 10 podiums and five wins. This photo also shows three very sexy Alfa Romeos at Road America's famous Canada Corner: the Berlina Taxi (Black/Yellow), the contact-papered GTV6 (partially hidden behind B.A.R.) and the Martini Milano. (Dave Ingraham photo)

ChumpCar World Series began in October 2009 with its first race at Portland International Raceway. Founded by John Condren, ChumpCar has run 92 event weekends since its inaugural race, many of which were Double-7 weekends with two seven-hour races.

Condren's series does away with multiclass racing and essentially pits all cars against each other for the overall win, rendering it a "run-what-you-brung" series that pits all manner of make and model against each other for the most wildly badass trophies in motorsports.

[Editor's Note: We won't delve into the differences between ChumpCar and the 24 Hours of Lemons because that's a deep, argumentative subject and isn't really the point of this exercise. As always, feel free to discuss and argue about it amongst yourselves in the Comments section or on our Facebook page if you so desire.]

That being said, here are the ChumpCar numbers:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crapcanalysis, Part 2: Peeling LeMons, getting citric acid in the eye

Modifying your crapcan's engine is a surefire way to blow up. Clearly, Our Lady of Perpetual Downforce has decided that adding downforce to their Honda Civic produces better results than adding power. (Murilee Martin photo)
[Read Part 1 HERE.]

This is the first post with numbers from our analysis of crapcan podium finishers. This post will feature the Overall, Class B, Class C and Index of Effluency winner totals from the 24 Hours of LeMons races. We will have another post for ChumpCar's winners and a final post that shows the two series' combined numbers.

LeMons has run races since its inaugural event at Altamont Speedway in late 2006, which only superficially resembles the more refined version of crapcan racing that we experience today. In total, the series has run 84 events, which have been won on laps by 58 different teams.

For ease of use, we've split the tables into categories and then described the data a bit. Of course, what we're describing is only part of the picture. Any set of numbers is only as good as the stories behind them and it's important to remember that each piece of data comprises hundreds of hours of blood, sweat, tetanus and tears.

Without further adieu:

Crapcanalysis, Part 1: An Introduction

Hong Norrth's Mazda MX-3 is one of a handful of teams to have won six crapcan races, nabbing six 24 Hours of LeMons races on laps. (Murilee Martin photo)

The Rusty Hub loves numbers.

Not just those numbers cleverly painted on the door of your heaps, either. We love statistics, though we would be misleading you if we suggested that we'd ever studied statistics deeper than a college class or two.

But nevermind that. This is the Internet, after all.

A few months ago (Yes...months...), we set out to find which makes and models do the best in crapcan racing, both in the 24 Hours of LeMons and in the ChumpCar World Series. After dozens of hours exercising our mental and search-engine skills, we came up with tables to describe the most common top finishers in a number of categories, but prime among them are the Wins and Podiums column. [And if you're one of the many who care little for overall wins, fret not; we also compiled numbers for LeMons' Class B, Class C and Index of Effluency.]

But before we get to the crapcanalysis (crapcan + analysis...get it?), let me give some introduction to the statistics by way of a few big questions:

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Combined Crapcan Schedules

24 Hours of LeMons will return to picturesque (and desolate) Chuckwalla Valley Raceway in December 2013. (Murilee Martin photo)

ChumpCar World Series events are highlighted in Orange.
24 Hours of LeMons events are highlighted in Yellow.

February 9: Road Atlanta (Braselton, GA),14 Hours
February 16-17: Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, CA), Double 7

March 16-17: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit (Hallett, OK), Double 7
March 16-17: Carolina Motorsports Park (Kershaw, SC)
March 23-24: Sonoma Raceway (Sonoma, CA)
March 30: Virginia International Raceway South Course (Alton, VA), 10 Hours
March 31: Laguna Seca (Monterrey, CA), 8 Hours

April 12-14: Watkins Glen International (Watkins Glen, NY), 5-Hour/7.5-Hour/7.5-Hour)
April 13-14: Portland International Raceway (Portland, OR), Double 7
April 13-14 6-7: Monticello Motor Club (Monticello, NY)
April 20-21: Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI), Double 7
April 20-21: Buttonwillow Raceway Park (Buttonwillow, CA), Double 7
April 20-21: Gingerman Raceway (South Haven, MI)
April 27-28: Pueblo Raceway (Pueblo, CO), Double 7

May 4-5: Eagles Canyon Raceway (Decatur, TX)
May 11-12: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Loudon, NH)
May 25: St. Eustache Motor Circuit (St. Eustache, Quebec, Canada), 12 Hours
May 26: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, FL), 14 Hours

June 1-2: High Plains Raceway (Deer Trail, CO)
June 8-9: Gingerman Raceway (South Haven, MI), Double 7
June 8-9*: Autobahn Country Club (Joliet, IL)
June 15-16: Heartland Park (Topeka, KS), 24 Hours
June 15-16: Summit Point Raceway (Summit Point, WV)
June 22: Charlotte Motor Speedway (Concord, NC), 14 Hours
June 22-23: Texas World Speedway (College Station, TX), Double 7
June 29-30: Buttonwillow Raceway Park (Buttonwillow, CA)

July 5-7: Spokane County Raceway (Airway Heights, WA),  36 Hours
July 13: Nelson Ledges Road Course (Garrettsville, OH),  12 Hours
July 20-21: Brainerd International Raceway (Brainerd, MN),  Double 7
July 20-21: The Ridge Motorsports Park (Shelton, WA)
July 27-28: Shannonville Motorsport Park (Belleville, ON, Canada), Double 7

August 9-11: Virginia International Raceway Grand Course (Alton, VA), 24 Hours
August 10-11: New Jersey Motorsports Park (Millville, NJ)
August 24-25: Michigan International Speedway (Brooklyn, MI), Double 7
August 24-25: The Ridge Motorsports Park (Shelton, WA), 10-Hour/6-Hour
August TBA: Ensenada Street Circuit (Ensenada, Mexico), Sprint races

September 7-8: High Plains Raceway (Deer Plains, CO), 12-Hour/6-Hour
September 14-15: Texas Motor Speedway (Fort Worth, TX), Double 7
September 14-15: Thunderhill Raceway Park (Willows, CA)
September 21-22: Gateway Motorsports Park (Madison, IL), 12-Hour/6-Hour
September 21-22: Carolina Motorsports Park (Kershaw, SC)
September 28: Sebring International Raceway (Sebring, FL), 14 Hours
September 28-29: Calabogie Motorsports Park (Calabogie, ON, Canada), Double 7
September 28-29: MSR Houston (Angleton, TX)

October 5-6: Pittsburgh International Raceway (Wampum, PA), 12-Hour/6-Hour
October 19-20: Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI), Double 7
October 26-27: Portland International Raceway (Portland, OR), 12-Hour/6-Hour
October 26-27: New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Loudon, NH)
October TBA: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Bowmanville, ON, Canada), 8-Hour

November 2-3: Atlanta Motorsports Park (Dawson, GA), Double 7
November 2-3: Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, CA), Double 8
November 2-3: Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI)

December 7-8: Sears Point (Sonoma, CA), Double 8
December 7-8: Virginia International Raceway North Course (Alton, VA) Double 7
December 7-8: Chuckwalla Valley Raceway (Desert Center, CA)
December 14: TBA Track in Texas, Double 7

*May be moved to July or August

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 is Over! Long Live 2012('s winners)!

Hey, look at that. The Rusty Hub's not dead yet.

We wanted to do a proper 2012 recap, but you'll get this instead and like it. So here's a look at crapcan's big winners from 2012!

24 Hours of LeMons

National Points Winners: Speedycop and His Gang of Outlaws

This is a no brainer. Speedycop scored points with entries in all five regions, including the team's first Top 10 finish at the season ender at Eagles Canyon Raceway with the Lancia-clad MR2, despite surviving a major impact. Along the way, Speedycop also built a Suzuki X-90 to look like a pop-up camper, took the same car to a Class C victory at Gingerman as its only driver, raced a Titanic E36, saved and ran the venerable V8olvo in California, ran a two-car Monitor vs. Merrimac theme and probably a half dozen other outlandish entries that we can't recall because he had something like 25 race entries for the year, all of them ridiculous.

Eastern Region Winners: Speedycop and His Gang of Outlaws

Did we mention that Speedycop and company are building a road racer out of an old Cessna 310 for 2013?

Southern Region Winners: Hong Norrth

What can you say about Hong Norrth? The South Region only had two races--both at CMP--and these Georgians took four podiums with two Mazda MX-3s in each race, including a race win at the second race. In their last seven LeMons races, the Hongs have racked up six wins and 10 podiums. There are certainly faster cars, but no LeMons team east of California (possibly anywhere) puts together a better, more complete race.

Central Region Winners: Subliminal Racing

Subliminal Racing came out of nowhere in 2012 to stomp the Central Region regulars like Skid Marks Racing, Clueless Racing and Bucksnort Racing. In 2011, the Indianapolis-based team traded their wadded-up Honda CRX for a BMW E30 and they put it all together in 2012. They snagged Top 10 finishes in all four races they entered, including an overall win at Autobahn in June. Oh, and if you ever wondered what their name and livery means, read this.

Gulf Region Winners: Lost in the Dark

The two-car Lost in the Dark team headed into the season's final race in a dead heat with the Z-Wrecks Datsun, which won two Gulf Region races in 2012. But when Z-Wrecks failed to make an entry into the final race, Lost in the Dark broke the tie simply by making the race's start. Lost in the Dark fields a Mazda Miata--which, like Subliminal's E30, finished in the Top 10 of all four races it entered--and a battered, glorious Malaise-Era Ford Fairmont. It's an odd pairing, but we like it.

Western Region Winners: Cerveza Racing

In LeMons' toughest region, Cerveza made an impressive showing. It's not easy to dominate the West Coast, but Cerveza showed how it's done with their BMW E28. In four starts, the straight-six-powered luxury machine grunted its way to three wins and a second-place finish. It was a showing that called to mind the exhibition of awesome from Eyesore Racing--2012's Western Region runners-up--during their 2010 season in which they ran away with the national title.

ChumpCar World Series

Since ChumpCar doesn't have a national championship per se, here are the winners of the Regional Chumpionship races:

Northern Region Chumpionship (Grand Bend):  Van Winden Racing

Van Winden Racing made an impact as one of the the handful of top teams in Canada, alongside Mealtime Racing, Johnda Deere, Mopar 4 Life and Red Green Racing. The Van Winden's E30 had put up three podiums, including an overall win at Calabogie Raceway, prior to heading to Grand Bend for the Northern Region Chumpionship. In the 12-hour race, Van Winden finished three laps ahead of the Mopar 4 Life Dodge Neon to take the checkered flag.

Central Region Chumpionship (Heartland Park): Tubby Butterman Racing

To those who follow ChumpCar, Tubby Butterman being at the top of the scoring sheet is almost not newsworthy. TBR won three races before the Chumpionship, including the race at Iowa Speedway less than a month before heading to Heartland Park. In a squeaker, the Butterman E36 edged out Chump Faces' E30 by just 36 seconds to earn their fourth win of the year.

Eastern Region Chumpionship (Atlanta): inACURAte Racing

This finish came as a bit of a show. Not only had inACURAte not won a race before this, they also had the handicap of driving an Acura Legend. Just kidding. We love luxury cars and love that this race's podium went Acura Legend, Infiniti J30 (Team Infiniti) and Mercedes 190E (Blitzen Benz). inACURAte finished the race with 1:26 in hand over Team Infiniti to take home their first win and it was a big one.

Western Region Chumpionship (Sonoma): Geo Metro Gnome

The Metro Gnome is a Honda CBR-powered rocket of a Geo Metro so it's no surprise to see it leading a race. What's remarkable is how reliable Alex Vendler has made the car to hold itself together for the duration of a long-format race. This five-lap win marked the Metro Gnome's third ChumpCar win and second of the year, though it's worth noting that the car's other 2012 victory came in the short-format race in Ensenada. Just for kicks, the 'Gnome set the Chumpionship's fastest lap, too, with a 1:38.864.