Wednesday, May 1, 2013

North Dallas Hooptie: The Rusty Hub's Preview

We're trying something new where--based on past results and some dead reckoning--we give a rundown of who on the upcoming 24 Hours of LeMons race's unofficial entry list we think could compete in the classes.

This weekend, LeMons tackles Eagles Canyon Raceway near Decatur, Texas.  LeMons has typically hosted ECR races toward the end of May, when temperatures begin soaring. However, mid-week forecasts call for pleasant temps in the mid-70s and no rain this weekend.

Eagles Canyon maintains a reputation for consuming not only brake pads, but occasionally entire brake setups with overheating. For heavier cars that are hard on brakes at any track, this can make ECR a daunting challenge. Naturally, Texas racers love their heavy Ford Fox bodies, which comprise 10 of this race's 67 entries.

[Editor's Note: Classing is of course not certain ahead of time and may be subject to change. The entry list is also not the final version, since several teams' best-laid plans almost always go awry at the last minute.]


Four previous winners are registered for the race, though none has taken multiple victories. In addition, two more teams have podium finishes but no wins.

(Murilee Martin photo)

The entry list's biggest surprise is the Model T GT, a Mustang-powered T bucket that is little more than drivetrain, suspension, driver and fuel cell. If its fragile T5 transmission holds up, the T GT should be the team to beat. Did we mention that this car is driving under its own power to Eagles Canyon?

Expect to see the Back to the Past Nissan 300ZX working hard to defend their win in the last Texas LeMons race. Back to the Past have run just four races with their Z and have improved in each race until nabbing their win in the 2012 season ender at Eagles Canyon.

Pulp Friction won the 24-hour race at Eagles Canyon last May in their BMW E30. Pulp Friction has maintained a reputation as a solid and very fast LeMons squad for a long time. They've done well historically at ECR, so barring major mechanical issues, we see them fighting for the win all weekend.

(Murilee Martin photo)
The unassuming Pablo Escubar Honda CRX finished third at last year's 24-hour race and possesses a good chance with one of the lightest cars in the field. They won't have the pace of the other top contenders, but a little luck and clean racing could bring another solid result.

A pair of bantamweight Miatas also pose a threat to the above-mentioned, which are all mostly heavier hunks of metal. 2012 Gulf Region Champions Lost in the Dark competed for a couple wins in 2012 but came up just short of a top podium spot. They'll compete for best Miata with the veteran Miagra squad, who won at ECR in May 2011. Both are capable, well-prepared cars with solid drivers.

(Murilee Martin photo)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Team Viagra's Lexus SC400 has run strong in the past and could be a contender if they can keep the heat out of their heavy car's brakes.

As we mentioned, 10 Ford Fox bodies are registered for the race. We're not sure any of them can keep their brakes together long enough to compete, but if any teams can prove us wrong, it'll be the Texas Gas Holes Mustang, the Robber Baron Racing Thunderbird or the Sheila and the Sheikhs Mustang, who have been flogging their Fox since the first Texas race.

Property Devaluation Racing recently scrapped their most excellent Ford Fairmont wagon and will be bringing a somewhat-undeveloped Thunderbird. Property Devaluation have proven fast in whatever Fox Body they've run, so they also have a good chance at the Top 10.

(Murilee Martin photo)

The 2012 season ender's runner-up, the Blue Goose Audi 4000, also won Class B and should be a team to keep tabs on. No Audi has won a crapcan race yet, but the Blue Goose squad has the best chance to be first. We're not sure if they'll be in Class B, but if they are, they're likely the favorites in that class at the expense of chasing an overall win.

Want some longshots? Here are a few: Basil Weenie (Mazda Miata), Minata (Mazda Miata), Rolling Chicane Racing (Honda Civic), Wingnuts (BMW E30) and Team Sensory Assault (Mazda RX-7).

We kid, of course. Sensory Assault is the most hopeless crapcan team in history, but they're entertaining as hell. They'll be debuting a melted, turbocharged third-generation RX-7, the first FD RX-7 to run in LeMons.


As we said with our Gingerman preview, it's hard to predict which entries will end up in Class B ahead of time, but based on which entries have normally run Class B in the past, this could be a very competitive category.

Blue Goose's Audi typically ends up in B because Audis usually end up on jackstands while other Teutonic types turn laps. If the Goose ends up in B, they remain the favorites, even if handed a couple handicap laps.

(Murilee Martin photo)

Former class winners and well-traveled crapcanistas Tetanus Racing bring their Dodge Neon back for more to Eagles Canyon. The Neon has raced literally 231 races on the same engine block (not literally...but it's a lot) and is always a shoe-in for Class B.

TGTW Offroad Racing's two-Jeep attack could dominate Class B. The team's No. 1 entry, a Cherokee, has two Top 10 finishes but has somehow been denied a class win. TGTW is also debuting a Comanche pickup truck. In their pits will be at least one team member from Jeep roadracing pioneers Team Petty Cash Racing, which is a useful addition to any team, let alone a Jeep squad.

(Murilee Martin photo)

Brandon Spears and his ne'er-do-well Volkswagen Jetta-rossa (now tiki-fied) will take another crack at a class win. This is a car that has straddled the Class A/Class B line, but it could fight for Class B if the judges put it in LeMons' middle class.

A couple years ago, the froods at Mostly Harmless Racing "upgraded" from a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia to a Mercury Capri XR2. They've been remarkably capable with both cars and their little front-drive heap could surprise in Class B.

(Murilee Martin photo)
Two big Class B entries could be outside-outside contenders: Lost in the Dark's Ford Fairmont and Entrepreneurial Spirits' Mercedes W126 S-Class. They'll have to overcome the brake-melting capabilities of Eagles Canyon, but if either manage a class win, that could encroach on Index of Effluency territory.

Class B Longshots: Poorsha (Volkswagen Cabriolet), Tighty Whities (Honda Civic), Geezer Escort Service (Ford Escort), Smokin' Brakes Racing (Ford Mustang) and any of the three Eagle Talon/Mitsubishi Eclipse entries (Diamond Star Mistake Racing, Piston Broke and Idiocracy Rehab Racing).

Class C

At last we arrive at the "real" class, the hallowed ground of LeMons. Class C is typically the grounds for Index of Effluency, so look for these teams to be the frontrunners for IOE, as well. Some of the entries seem like borderline B/C cars, but there is some real Class C material as well.

In the borderline B/C category, we see Speedy Monzales' Index of Effluency-winning Chevy Monza, TARP's Simca 1000-clad Toyota MR2 and TGTW's Jeep Comanche.

New entry Teamgravy Racing will debut a Porsche 914, which is a type that can be worse-than-Class-C bad or blowing-away-Class-B good. Time will tell where the 914 falls, but if it's in Class C and a new team is running it, they'll start as a longshot.

This leaves us with three super-slow Class C contenders:

(The Rusty Hub photo)

(1) NSF Racing/Tetanus Racing's Plymouth Reliant: The K-It-Fwd train stops in Texas, where Tetanus Racing has slapped their name on it alongside Justin Howe of OK-Speed. The Reliant ran reliably at Gingerman if a bit glacially, but the Class C winner doesn't typically win on lap times. We'll call it the favorite for Class C by a slim margin, simply because the two cars below have one race each under their collective belts while the fine Detroit wagon has run four times, albeit with different crews each time.

(Murilee Martin photo)
(2) Ratsun Racing's Datsun B210: This is another painfully slow car that nabbed the coveted race-specific trophy--the Most 1980s Flock of Seagulls-Grade Car in the World Award--at its only outing at MSR Houston in 2012. The flared fender body kit may not add much horsepower, but it makes the ratty Ratsun Datsun look pretty snazzy. Almost, anyway.

(Murilee Martin photo)

(3) Escape Velocity Racing's 1964 Dodge Dart: The Dart will likely be the heaviest car in Class C and will possibly struggle with brake cooling. Even so, Escape Velocity could plod their Dart to victory lane in their second outing of the year after taking the "Class of '64" trophy at the Season Opener at Carolina Motorsports Park.

Other Stuff

One of the most interesting storylines will be the potential for two teams to win two classes in the same race: Lost in the Dark with A and B along with Tetanus Racing with B and C.

Just as always, we've covered only half of the field, the rest of which are unproven or new. We'd love to see any of them surprise us.

Who do you like in each class? Index of Effluency?

1 comment:

  1. Basil Weenie is, I think, still working on shaking down their car. They ran the December Chump race at TWS and were slow-ish.

    Minata is usually reliable, but they are just not in the same class as the fast Miatas. I don't know if the car is tired or if the drivers don't have the same skills at wringing every last second out of the car. (This has always been a good thing for me because, depending on the driver, they give me someone to race with!)