Monday, March 25, 2013

March Crapness: First Round, 2 vs. 15 (March 25)

Crapness takes a round full of fast cars...and one with a unique engine swap in the 2 vs. 15 seeds.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: We'll be using Google for the polls from now on. You may notice that you can vote multiple times. DON'T DO THIS. We get a log of all vote and WILL NOT COUNT ANY VOTES WHERE YOU'VE STUFFED THE BALLOT BOXES (even though we live near Chicago).]

Go to the March Crapness tab for the full rundown, up-to-date bracket and schedule.

Read the introduction to March Crapness here.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates. Tweet about March Crapness using the hashtag #crapness.

[Extra-special thanks to Murilee Martin for assisting with many of the photos. All photos as credited.]

Simon Says (2) vs. Bucksnort Racing (15)

Simon Says - Acura Integra

In our Crapcanalysis in January, we endorsed the Integra as a solid choice for would-be overall winners. The Simon Says crew already knew that, having campaigned theirs successfully over the last two seasons. (Murilee Martin photo)

Simon Says, campaigner of Acura Integras, did something that few teams can say they've done: They finished on the podium in their first race. Then they finished on the podium in their second race. And their third and fourth races. After that, they secured their first win at Virginia International Raceway. A rough day at Road Atlanta in December 2012 spoiled their perfect record, but this Integra team presses the buttons in the right order, apparently.

Resume: ChumpCar - 1 Overall Win, 3 Top Tens; LeMons - 2 Top Tens

Bucksnort Racing - BMW E30

Bucksnort Racing maintains a taxidermy theme to portray themselves--men of jurisprudence and medicine, if we recall correctly--as some sort of backwoods types who fell into motorsports. It's mostly a ruse, although they reportdely live within Stranglehold-distance of Ted Nugent. (The Rusty Hub photo)

Michigan's Bucksnort Racing was best known as a black-flag magnet at its early LeMons races, but after a few races of sorting the car and the team out, their E30 is a force to be reckoned with in the Midwest, particularly if the track stays dry (adverse weather does strange things to this car). They consistently set the fastest lap at Midwest races and came up just a hair short of an overall win several times before finally snagged their first win at Gingerman in April 2012 by dominating the rest of the region's top contenders.

Resume: ChumpCar - 4 Top Tens; LeMons - 1 Overall Win, 5 Top Tens

Race Hard Race Ugly (2) vs. Cerveza Racing (15)

Race Hard Race Ugly -BMW E30

Race Hard Race Ugly was the team that started the trend of cheaty E30s. Well, maybe not quite. But they still snagged the first and third overall victories for the 3-Series in LeMons. (Murilee Martin photo)

Race Hard Race Ugly were maybe the paragon of E30-dom in LeMons in 2009 and 2010, campaigning a pair of Bimmers that regularly finished near the top of the heaps in a region filled with varied, tough-as-nail competition. Perhaps most significant is that Race Hard Race Ugly was the first E30 to take home an overall win in the 19th LeMons race, nearly three years after the series' first race.

Resume: LeMons - 3 Overall Wins, 8 Top Tens

Cerveza Racing - BMW E28, Porsche 944, Volkswagen Beetle

Many people overlook the BMW 5-Series as a road racer, but the Cerveza crew have maximized the platform's potential with a slew of consecutive victories and a resounding Western Regional Championship in 2012. (Murilee Martin photo)

In 2012, Cerveza Racing accomplished something that only Hong Norrth had done previously in LeMons: Won three consecutive races they entered. Unlike Hong Norrth, Cerveza campaigns their BMW E28 in the much-more-top-heavy West Region. In the only California race they didn't win in 2012, they finished runner-up to Eyesore Racing. In just seven races, Cerveza has cemented themselves among the elite crapcan teams while running the "most interesting car in the world."

Resume: LeMons - 3 Overall Wins, 7 Top Tens

Eggboy Racing (2) vs. British American Racing (15)

Eggboy Racing - Ford Taurus SHO

Eggboy Racing's livery somehow manages to make the Ford Taurus bodywork at least 60 percent less ugly. The most important part of racing, of course, is that a car looks fast. Also, this car actually is fast. (Alex Bellus photo)

Eggboy and their Ford Taurus SHO remain a staple of the ChumpCar community, particularly in the Midwest, where they've enjoyed success among the cavalcade of rear-drive Bavarians. The SHO has a much-deserved reputation for fickleness in the face of endurance racing's torture, but the St. Louis Eggboy crew have piloted theirs to two victories, including one over a very fast field at Iowa Speedway in April 2011.

Resume: ChumpCar - 2 Overall Wins, 4 Top Tens

British American Racing - BMW E30

British American Racing's ChumpCar trophy collection must be an impressive sight, as they land on the podium as consistently as any other team in the crapcan world. (Dave Ingraham photo)

British American Racing is one of two BMWs to expect on any Midwest podium, alongside the Tubby Butterman E36. BAR, however, does it with an older E30, decked out in a terrific half-Union Jack, half-Stars and Bars livery...on a German car. It makes as much sense as any other aspect of crapcan racing. Personally, we'd love to see the BAR E30 pitted against the old Formula 1 BAR car in a normal-distance F1 race. We're no bookies, but we're pretty sure the smart money would be on the Bavarian-built machine.

Resume: ChumpCar - 5 Overall Wins, 12 Top Tens

Crushed Red Pepper (2) vs. Rust in the Wind (15)

Crushed Red Pepper -Toyota MR2s, Honda Accord

This is one of our favorite photos from LeMons, but we've seen it so much that we hardly think twice of the fact that this MR2 is powered by an antique airplane engine. (The Rusty Hub photo)

Marc Labranche stuffed a World War II-era airplane engine into a second-generation Toyota MR2. The build thread for this project literally takes about four hours to read and makes us scratch our collective heads several times throughout. There is no way any other crapcan has anywhere approaching this amount of custom fabrication. Next up for Marc: A turbine-powered Chevy Nova, naturally.

Resume: Exploitation of the budget-exempt radial engine clause

Rust in the Wind -Nissan 300ZX

Honestly, we're not at all sure what to write about Rust in the Wind. Their Saab-swap is like the plot of a great novel after it's unraveled: The chain of events is unexpected but obvious in retrospect. (Murilee Martin photo)

Two teams have run under the 'Rust in the Wind' moniker, but we're concerned with the East Coast version, who perplexed tuner fanbois by replacing their Nissan 300ZX drivetrain for a turbo Saab motor, essentially swapping one problematic drivetrain for another. After some teething troubles, the NisSaab took home a win on laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in October 2012.

Resume: LeMons - 1 Overall Win, 3 Top Tens

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