Sunday, January 18, 2015

24 Hours of LeMons: "Good Effort Grand Prix" mid-race analysis

(Murilee Martin photo)

It's been a while since I've offered mid-race analysis from a 24 Hours of LeMons race, but here we are. I've got a bit of free time so let's take a look at how the first day of LeMons' "Good Effort Grand Prix" at Sonoma Raceway. I previewed the race for Hooniverse here so you can compare what I said (or didn't say) and how it compares thus far. Follow the jump for some LeMons geekery.

Day one, Sunday, featured seven hours of racing with a variety of strategies at the front of the field and in the classes. Here's how the Overall Top 10 played their race over the seven hours, keeping in mind an average lap time is in the neighborhood of 2:15 for a Class A car:

POSTeamLapsNo. StopsLongest stint (Laps)
1Eyesore Racing (Mazda Miata)186351
2Hella Shitty (BMW E30)185291
3Depend (Porsche 944)1831?94
4D.A.R.E. (BMW E36)182349
5Arrive and Drive (Datsun 510)181263
6Pistola Alto (Nissan 300ZX)181353
7The Faustest Team (BMW E30)179363
8Clergy MC (Mazda Miata)179367
9OLD Fast Auto Race Team & Sons (Audi 200)176264
10Too Stupid to Know Better (Volvo 740)175363

Tomorrow's race is eight hours, which means that a two-stop strategy will require three stints of about 2:40. At least two teams seem to be capable of that and, at the front of the field, it should be a race between Eyesore's slightly faster pace and Hella Shitty's better fuel economy and, ostensibly, the ability to make one fewer fuel stop.

The "Depend" team is, judging by the car type and its number, a retheming of the three-time winning Porch Racing 944, which won last spring with a crazy four-hour stint on the race's second day. With a smaller field, however, there are likely going to be fewer full-course cautions to stretch the fuel mileage, so they'll be hard-pressed to make it work on a single stop. Nevertheless, don't count them out with a three-lap gap.

The rest of the Top 10 are entirely capable and should be in three-stop territory. The D.A.R.E. BMW is as consistently fast as any in the Top 10 but they will probably need a fourth stop if they're pushing the pace.


Class B's lead has gone back and forth between the top two cars listed below with. The Galt BMW is faster, generally, than the ONSET Cavalier, but they will again probably need an extra fuel stop and thereby have to make up 4-5 minutes with their pace to maintain the lead.

PICTeamLapsNo. StopsLongest stint
1John Galt Racing (BMW 2002)172445
2ONSET/Tetanus West (Chevy Cavalier)172352
3Team 5150 (Datsun 240Z)168269
4Neon Pope (Dodge Neon)165343

The 5150 Datsun is not at all out of the equation. They'll be stretching pretty far to make it a two-stop day, but with a little luck and a break or two, they could shoehorn their way into the class lead.

Class C

Here's how Class C stacks up. There's no real point in describing number of stops or longest stints. For the most part, they're all going to run 40-50 laps at a slower pace. The real trick will be for each team to keep the car in one piece, or at least in a few pieces that are still held together enough to keep the wheels turning.

1Aqua Volvo (Volvo 240)157
2Team-Ing With Bad Ideas (Austin Mini)150
3Spank (Austin Mini Moke)145
4POS Angry Bird (Nissan 200SX)145

When the race goes green, I'd expect the POS Angry Bird 200SX to slip ahead of Spank's Moke and possibly to have enough pace to run down the Team-Ing Mini.

What do you think? Who's going to win? Going to win the classes?

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