Wednesday, June 5, 2013

LeMons Doing Time in Joliet: The Rusty Hub's Preview featuring Special Guest Alan Cesar and T-Pain

(The Rusty Hub photo)
Alan Cesar
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Since The Rusty Hub’s main man Eric Rood--who, it should be noted, has absolutely no issue with taking bribes and enjoys quite a variety of fancy microbrew beer--is actually judging the upcoming Doing Time in Joliet race at Autobahn Country Club, he has recused himself from giving a preemptive judgment of the competitors in order to impart some sense of impartiality. This race’s guest previewer is the hopelessly unqualified Alan Cesar, who is by day a writer, photographer, editor, web weasel and social media hack at Grassroots Motorsports.

Alright, let’s take a stab at this. LeMons races at Autobahn have historically been in mid-fall, which usually meant unpredictable weather. Torrential rain, heavy winds, that bone-biting fall chill, or 70 degrees and sunny. This year’s is in June (obviously), so it’ll be... well, about the same, apparently.

You can find the full unofficial entry list with 80 entries right here.


As with the LeMons race at Gingerman, part of the story is who's not on the entry list. Defending Autobahn winners Skid Marks Racing haven’t returned with their veteran Dodge Neon. For that matter, no previous winning Midwest LeMons race is registered, meaning Doing Time will produce a first-time winner.

(The Rusty Hub photo)

The Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (above) are back in their normally aspirated Volvo 240, which seems to never stop running. They finished in second place last year at Autobahn and this spring at Gingerman and should once again be competing for the top spot.

One of the other possible challengers should be the Don’t Mess with Lexus’ LS400. This overbuilt Japanese luxobarge keeps coming back for more abuse; in 2012’s American Irony, they finished sixth. In general, the car has been as reliable as... well, a Lexus, bucking the “Toyotas suck at LeMons” trend.

The race will have 10 of the usual-suspect BMWs, including three E36s--most notably the Pool Shark E36, now under the Futility Motorsports umbrella--and a host of experienced E30s from ShitBox Racing, LemonAid Racing and Swiss Racing, among others.

There are a handful of Neons to give them hell, though, including what looks like a relatively fresh entry from the Blue Shells. They’ve been beating on an Accord for some time, but a blown Honda motor means they'll be leaning on their twin-cam Neon, which ran in the Top 5 at Gingerman for much of the race before blowing a motor.

Three Saturns have entered, including the nearly-had-it-last-year Moonrunners. Contact on track sent their hood into their windshield, which led to an unscheduled stop and a lot of down time as they sourced and replaced that glass. They might score the first LeMons overall win for Saturn.

(The Rusty Hub photo)
Three experienced Acura Integras will tackle Autobahn, as well: Team Nonsequitur, Landshark (above) and Team Sheen. All have traditionally had the pace and reliability but have struggled through minor maladies and/or black flag troubles.

Longshots:  Anonymous (Honda Civic), Save the Ta-Tas (Chevy Camaro), Stinky Rat Trap Racing (Audi 200) and Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang)

Class B

Byte Marks Racing has been fast enough to be looked at as a possible Class A car in previous races. Their Ford Escort GT is a borderline B class car. The judges may give them the option of Class A with no penalty laps or Class B with penalty laps, but as long as they can avoid surprises, they should finish in the top 10 overall and near the top of B.

(The Rusty Hub photo)

Apocalyptic Racing (above) flirted with a class win at Gingerman, but a fuel-related stumble knocked them out of contention. Their Celica should hang with the leaders in the class.

Likewise, the Bad Mojo Opel GT--powered by a 2.3L Ford Ranger engine--ran as high as second place at Gingerman midway through Saturday, but some issues knocked them back down the running order.

There are plenty of Civics with a shot at it Class B, too, unless their flaky engines say otherwise.

Class C

Candy Asses proved last year that a Cavalier could actually do alright. These things are penalty boxes on the street no matter which year you get, but their thrashy, harsh engines are reasonably powerful. Three Cavaliers are in the lineup, doubtless hoping the Mercury Bobcat has engine failures again.

(The Rusty Hub photo)
That Bobcat (above)--now part of Futility Motorsports, a merger of Team Skid Steer (Bobcat) and Pool Shark (E36)--is returning to vie for first after pulling in second in 2012. They’ve run races before where they’ve had to perform multiple engine swaps with bad engines, so their success is a crapshoot.

Speaking of crap, somehow two different Lima-engined Fox-body Mustangs are entered: Por Sport Racing and It Ain't Easy Bein' Cheesy.

James Bondo will return with their Duratec-swapped Triumph TR7. Hey, at least the engine won’t leak oil.

Look for many of the Midwest's slow-class regulars to have a chance: Schnitzelwagen (Volkswagen Squareback), Zero Budget Racing (Chevy Chevette Diesel) and Racing 4 Nickels (Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera).

Also Of Note - Metros Everywhere

Four teams have entered Geo Metros on the list, only one of which will have the stock powertrain.

The Mity Metro squad is listed as a 1990 Geo Metro Convertible, which may or may not be the same Metro with a Class C win at Summit Point in 2010 (albeit with new owners). Regardless, we expect this to carry on the tradition of LemonAid Racing's slow-and-steady three-cylinder tradition.

Speaking of which, LemonAid has apparently stuffed a BMW M50 inline-6 engine into their C Class-winning Geo Metro. It's allegedly showing up half-finished and may or may not run alongside their Class A Bimmer.

(The Rusty Hub photo)

Charnal House’s famously terrifying-to-drive MetSHO (above) also returns. It has a Taurus SHO engine mounted mid-ship, and has always had fantastic themes. We hear the theme’s been updated, so it should be thoroughly entertaining--and probably still terrifying to drive.

The final Metro, belonging to Knoxvegas Lowballers, features a 2.5L Ford Contour SVT drivetrain in the middle of the car. This team took home a Heroic Fix trophy in their debut at Carolina Motorsports Park this spring for swapping in the motor from a team members' daily-driven Ford Contour.


  1. 2 Cutlass Cieras on the track? Has it finally come time to show that us being slow is because we suck and not the car.

  2. Right on, nice reporting, guess Judge Phil is having surgery to have more of his "I don't care" gland removed!
    Well best of luck, from the CHEATERS/WINERS SBR #6

  3. Lima-engined Mustangs should be in class B unless they are particularly horrible examples of the breed. They're dog-slow, but they handle OK (particularly with a visit to a local junkyard to raid V8 parts) and the 2.3L is very robust in normally-aspirated form.

    We ran our Lima-engined Mustang in two Texas LeMons races. The first time, Phil put us in B (and we proceeded to finish 4th in class, though the overall winner came from the class too so we were 3rd in line for a trophy). The second time, Jay offered us C plus 20 laps or B with no laps, and we finished 3rd in class. (I think we would have won C easily even with the laps, but it really wouldn't have been fair as our car was far too reliable to be a proper C class steed.)