|The K-It-Fwd Plymouth Reliant had a spare 2.2L motor, which NMF Racing surprisingly did not have to utilize. (The Rusty Hub photo)|
[Editor's Note: Eric Rood receives literally dozens of dollars for working as a LeMons Guest Judge. He is not employed by the 24 Hours of LeMons and works and writes independently of the organization.]
[Another Editor's Note: We apologize that most of the photos were taken in the paddock with the cars stationary. Our camera crapped out early on Saturday.]
We survived a blustery and occasionally flurry-filled 24 Hours of LeMons weekend at Southwest Michigan's Gingerman Raceway, where we worked the Penalty Box as a guest judge.
By and large, the racers were a pleasant bunch and the racing itself was mostly clean. Well, clean in the sense of no contact; pieces of broken car, freedom-seeking fluids and at least one transponder (or pieces of it anyway) littered the racing surface, but that's par for this hooptie course.
At the end of the weekend, Bucksnort Racing stood atop the heap of heaps with their second race win by just three laps over the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers. Judge Phil has already written about the winners here, so we'll just highlight some of the additional things we noticed throughout the weekend.
Top 10 Overall
1. #25 Bucksnort Racing (BMW E30 325i) - 441 Laps
2. #86 Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (Volvo 245) - 438 Laps
3. #77 Don't Mess With Lexas (Lexus LS400) - 432 Laps
4. #6 ShitBox Racing (BMW E30) - 418 Laps
5. #35 LemonAid Racing (BMW E30 325e) - 417 Laps
6. #76 Team Gutty (Honda CRX) - 415 Laps (Class B)
7. #48 Blueberry Fields Forever (Subaru Impreza, six-cylinder swap) - 413 Laps
8. #36 Save the Ta-Tas (Chevy Camaro) - 413 Laps
9. #14 Team Evel Knievel (Honda Civic) - 412 Laps
10. #40 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944) - 410 Laps
|(The Rusty Hub photo)|
|(The Rusty Hub photo)|
Blueberry Fields Forever's Impreza--a theoretically fast car with an SVX engine bolted up to a later-model Subaru 5-speed--surprised the hell out of just about everyone. This car was in fourth place with 20 minutes left in the race, but the car made a very late stop and came in on the tow strap with just a couple minutes left. Their late-race bad luck dropped them down to seventh, which is still a fantastic finish for a historically bad crapcan make.
1. #76 Team Gutty (Honda CRX) - 415 Laps
2. #79 Frankenstein Motorworks (Honda Accord) - 401 Laps
3. #12 Charnal House (Geo MetSHO) - 394 Laps
4. #108 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort GT) - 392 Laps
5. #85 Apocalyptic Racing (Toyota Celica) - 391 Laps
6. #333 We Are Not Really From Iran (Ford Festiva, Mazda BP swap) - 389 Laps
7. #32 Avery Brothers Racing (Honda Civic) - 363 Laps
8. #141 Bad Mojo Racing (Opel GT) - 355 Laps
9. #173 9th Air Cavalry Regiment (Honda Civic) - 338 Laps
10. #797 White Trash Racing (Dodge Neon) - 319 Laps
As we'd hoped, Class B rang the bell for insanity and couldawouldashouldas. Team Gutty ran what amounted to a near-perfect race: Only one black flag all weekend, no mechanical issues, consistent-but-not-super-fast driving and maximum-length stints.
Frankenstein Motorworks performed similarly well, quietly racking up lap after lap with the Accord's fuel-sipping motor keeping them on track for long stretches at a time. Ultimately, they were a little slower than Team Gutty and finished just outside the Top 10 overall.
An off-track excursion for the Point-O-Eight cost at least 10 minutes while it wallowed in the beach at Turn 11, but they ran trouble-free otherwise. Apocalyptic Racing suffered through brake wear issues and ran out of fuel once, but their truck-engined Celica held together far better than its last run at Gingerman. The Festiva snuck up the standings Sunday and proved reliable but somewhat limited by the size of the sub-compact's fuel capacity.
1. #519 Red Shirt Racing (Nissan Pulsar) - 365 Laps
2. #8 Loose Lugs Racing (Chevy S10) - 332 Laps
3. #2 Zero Budget Racing (Chevy Chevette diesel) - 307 Laps
4. #10 Flux Decapacitators Part II (Ford Tempo) - 296 Laps
5. #20 NSF/NMF Racing (Plymouth Reliant) - 293 Laps
6. #22 Zero Budget Racing (Isuzu I-Mark diesel) - 280 Laps
Four of the six Class C entries walked away with awards, but probably the most incredible thing is that all of these cars ran all weekend, aside from the time Loose Lugs was forced to sit on Saturday for black flag and some typical minor repairs.
The Zero Budget diesels were glorious to watch putt around the truck, even if they couldn't crack the 2:00 mark. They finished in formation, just like those diesel Audis at that one race in France.
As we've said before, our favorite part of crapcan racing is knowing that each team has its own story. Here are some short versions of some teams' stories from the weekend. Of course, all crapcan teams have a certain talent for long-form storytelling, so ask them to share next time you run into them.
When the track went cold, they found the transponder's remnants near Turn 3, where a rough tangle with the rumble strips had sent it careening into the weeds. They turned in its remains but were still on the hook to replace it while also losing about 30 spots in the standings. This would ordinarily be an I Got Screwed candidate, but they mostly screwed themselves through poor transponder mounting. The lesson here? Mount your transponder somewhere safe and not near the car's extremities, like the outside of a spare tire well.
However, the Blue Shells' second car--a Dodge Neon with the fragile 16-valve engine--found itself in third place at the end of Saturday. It wouldn't last, as the Neon faced terminal suspension issues and was forced to retire early Sunday. With the Accord's A20 motor getting ever-harder to find, the team may upgrade to a Class A-type motor, though they may miss the next LeMons race a Autobahn Country Club in June.
|(Murilee Martin photo)|
When you bring something as crappy as a 4.3L V6 Chevy Monza to LeMons, you're typically asking for trouble. The Usual Suspects ran into all kinds of (typical GM) problems during Saturday's long 9-1/2 hour race session, from bumper-removing contact to a grenaded transmission. The team found a questionable replacement transmission some distance away and spent much of the time between race sessions making one working driveline from two iffy ones.They also donated a magnetic pizza delivery sign to the judges, who then passed it onto the K-It-Fwd program, where it may find good use.
When the stiffly sprung Honda CRX of Red Wagon Racing came through BS Inspection, the team complained about getting assigned to Class A. Under the provisions of LeMons' "No Whiners" rule, we docked them a single penalty lap for complaining. On Saturday, the car had nearly completed its first lap when the timing belt snapped and bent a valve or five. The tow through the pit lane crossed the start/finish line to negate their penalty lap. The team tried swapping a new head onto the block but stripped out the block threads, rendering the block useless.
Had their weekend ended there, they'd have been I Got Screwed candidates, but they instead swapped in a new engine and almost had it ready for Sunday's green flag. It didn't last the whole day, but they'd gone through extraordinary efforts to log any laps at all. We don't have an exact count, but we're pretty sure this car has been through as many engines as it has races.
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