I’m back in Denver, which means I now have time to go through some of my photos from last weekend’s Where The Elite Meet To Cheat 24 Hours of LeMons. Much coverage of the race may be found in my TTAC posts from the weekend, but my traditional post-race “winner posts” only cover the overall winner and the Index of Effluency winner. What about the rest of the teams that took trophies home?
This Integra was nearly invisible all weekend, which is one of the signs of a top contender (provided, of course, that the car isn’t invisible due to connecting rods flying out of the block on the third lap of the race). I recall seeing it just once in the Penalty Box, and it stayed within reach of Hong Norrth’s MX-3 both days. In the end, Simon Says finished second overall and 11 laps back of four-time-winners Hong Norrth. I suspect that Simon Says will be a threat to win its next race.
P71 Crown Victorias have been among the most reliable LeMons cars over the years, but their vast bulk and relative lack of horsepower puts them at a disadvantage against the smaller machines. For a Crown Vic to take 7th overall— as Team Tortoise did over the weekend— on a road course as cramped as Charlotte Motor Speedway’s is pretty impressive. They also managed to beat the tough, Über-veteran Howard J. Turkstra Motorsports Celica by six laps for the class win.
After winning the Southern Discomfort Index of Effluency award with their horrible, horrible ‘62 Plymouth Fury and the LeMons South Spring Judges’ Choice trophy with their gorgeous, gorgeous coke-dealer-grade Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9, the members of NSF Racing must have gone car-shopping at the tail-end of a ferocious Sterno-and-Prestone binge. When they woke up, here was this T-top third-gen Firebird. They decided it would be a good idea to hack the roof off, because the F-body is just too solid, and they left the drivetrain and suspension untouched. Normally, this is a one-way ticket to a weekend of busted car parts and endless wrenching, but the NSF Firebird somehow kept running, and running, and running. Not quickly, mind you (their lap times were quite similar to those of the Tunachuckers’ ‘75 Ford LTD Landau), but their performance was good enough to win Class C by an overpowering 61 laps… over the LTD.
If you have even the slightest interest in LeMons racing, you know all about Unununium Legend of LeMons Speedycop, so I don’t need to spend the next several hours listing his endless accomplishments here. Now that he’s got his Gang of Outlaws in full effect, the Speedycop organization seems unable to leave a race without another piece of hardware for the Speedycop Hall of Fame back in Maryland. They grabbed their first Organizer’s Choice trophy back in ‘09 at The Lamest Day, with their ‘61 Cadillac Fleetwood. They picked up their
Even the most devoted Z-car worshiper would have a tough time looking at a non-turbo 280ZX 2+2 with an automatic transmission and electronic dash and seeing a race car, but the Pink Floyd-themed Claw Hammer Mechanics did just that. This car ran a clean, breakdown-free race and clawed— heh, get it?— its way into 18th place, which was almost enough to steal the IOE from the Tunachuckers.
To get the Heroic Fix, a team must persevere, and Speed Is Bliss did just that. All weekend long. Their Iron Duke-powered Fiero blew its clutch immediately after starting the race on Saturday morning, and the team thrashed and thrashed and thrashed some more, all day and all night Saturday and most of Sunday. Finally, they got the car running and turned an impressive (for a Fiero, one of the worst possible cars to bring to a LeMons race) 44 laps.
The I Got Screwed trophy is very closely related to the Heroic Fix, with the one important difference being the end results of the requisite all-weekend wrenchathon. If the car runs, the team gets the Heroic Fix. If all the work was for naught, we give them the I Got Screwed. The Crazy Car Medics brought an IOE-worthy four-cylinder ‘84 Chevy Cavalier to the inspection on Friday morning, and we failed it on just about every count, from roll cage to fuel system. Most teams would have thrown in the towel when told they had to build a new cage, install a fuel cell, rewire the kill switch, and probably mine the iron ore to cast a new engine block from scratch, but the Crazy Car Medics never gave up. Finally, several hours into Sunday’s race session, they showed up and passed the inspection. Hooray! Unfortunately, the engine blew up after 26 glorious laps, and the car then got T-boned after it clanked to a stop in a cloud of smoke.
Though Charlotte Motor Speedway has a storied history going back to the early 1960s, we found that certain equipment normally seen as crucial to racetrack operation— like, say, track drainage, PA system, availability of keys to open critical gates and doors, etc.— just wasn’t working quite right. The “Nothing Works” trophy honors this state of affairs, and the Jynweythek 2002Tii (yes, a real, numbers-matching Tii) had infrastructure very similar to that of the CMS road course. This team won the I Got Screwed award at the Capitol Offense race back in June, and then they stepped into a time machine and jumped forward to last weekend. Their car, which still boasts its original 340,000-mile Bosch mechanical fuel-injection system, still didn’t run right, nor was it ready to pass the tech inspection until fairly late on Saturday. Many problems ensued, and the team spent most of the weekend bending over the engine compartment, in the rain, or lying in a puddle beneath the car. Still, they managed 183 laps.
A team that brings a non-themed BMW E30 to a race, fails the tech inspection repeatedly from Friday through Sunday morning, then gets its first driver booted from the race for suicidal/homicidal boneheadery on the track within minutes of getting the OK to race… well, the members of such a team are usually bursting with a sense of aggrieved persecution and screaming at us after all those headaches. Not so with Team Thunderstache! These guys cheerfully accepted the fact that they’d spent the entire weekend stepping on their own wieners and vowed to come to another race and start over, after dealing with ten times the stress that send many teams into paroxysms of rage, and for that sort of redemption story we have the Judges’ Choice trophy.