The 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court has been stenciling the cars of teams that grease our palms with justice-ensuring gifts since the early days of the series, but it took until the 2012 season for the LCS to start creating a fresh stencil for each race. To see the stencils of the 2008-2011 seasons, go here, for the 2012 season’s stencils go here, for 2013’s stencils go here, and for 2014 just keep reading.
The most noticeable trend in LeMons judicial bribery was the very large quantities of Fireball whiskey that we received; apparently Fireball has become a mighty cultural force, perhaps because it tastes better coming back up than, say, MD 20/20. As you can see in the photograph above, New Jersey racers are big fans of the stuff. The justices of the LeMons Supreme Court do not drink Fireball (unless we’re at the Clermont Lounge in Atlanta, where paper cups of Fireball just appear in your hand), but we pass stuff like this along to the flaggers, who are very appreciative.
The thing about the bribes is that they don’t help you if you need a bribe to convince the judges that you got your E30’s adjustable camber plates for $7 on Craigslist. However, the LeMons Supreme Court never forgets a truly memorable bribe, such as this beautiful Kim Il Sung hood ornament, which I received from the 42 Hours of MeLons Volvo 245 team after I expressed my admiration during a penalty-box visit.
The 2014 season opener was our first visit to Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, and I decided that the album artwork for the Drive-By Trucker’s great Alabama-themed album, Southern Rock Opera would work well as a BRIBED stencil design. It was good to see this stencil on so many cars when we returned to Alabama earlier this month.
Just prior to the North Dallas Hooptie at Eagles Canyon Raceway, I learned about the Texas Communist Party, whose logo is Karl Marx in a cowboy hat. What better theme could there be for a Texas BRIBED stencil?
Our next stop was the Sears Pointless race in Northern California, and the skull-and-lightning-bolt logo from the Grateful Dead’s Steal Your Face album seemed like a good Bay Area stencil design. This turned out to be one of the most difficult stencils I’ve ever cut, taking about four hours of painstaking X-Acto work to finish.
While we were passing our Fireball gifts to the corner-workers, we were also spraying the logo for the very LeMony GM Iron Duke engine on racers’ hoopties.
Judge Rich made a TITHED stencil for the LeMonites race as well, and the most generous teams got both.
Since it’s hard to think of images that conjure up visions of Buttonwillow, California (it’s tough to portray a mountain of rotting tomato-processing residue or a truck-stop lot lizard dealing meth in a stencil), the Button Turrible racers got this Edsel image on their alleged race cars. Later, I decorated my suitcases with this stencil, so that it would be easier to spot them in airport baggage carousels… and noticed that the TSA now searches my checked baggage every single time.
The rarest BRIBED stencil of the 2014 season is the one that went on cars at the Humidi TT race at Sebring. It turns out that Sebring on July 4 weekend doesn’t offer ideal weather conditions, and only 30 teams showed up. That means that cars bearing this Chrysler Sebring-themed stencil will be worth millions of dollars more than those bearing, say, the much more common Sears Pointless Grateful Bribed ones, when LeMons provenance becomes the most important indicator of a collector-car’s value in a decade or two. Note the patriotic red-white-and-blue spray-paint combination used with this stencil.
Remember Microsoft’s Clippy the Office Assistant? We will never forgive Microsoft and, by association, the state of Washington, for Clippy. Therefore, competitors at the Pacific Northworst race got this stencil.
Chicago is a very Broughamic place, so I made this classy BROUGHBED stencil for the race-all-night Doin’ Time In Joliet race. It was based on the Brougham emblems used by Mercury in the early 1970s, and was almost as hard to create as was the Steal Your Face stencil.
The three greatest icons of the state of Colorado (where I live) are cannabis, beer, and Subarus. So, I made this stencil showing a marijuana leaf, hops, and the Pleiades-based Subaru logo for the B.F.E. GP race.
Most of the time, I make my BRIBED stencils at home, before I leave for a race. Sometimes, though, I run out of time and have to create a Field Expedient Stencil, using whatever tools and materials I can find at the track. Such was the case with the stencil for the Vodden the Hell Are We Doing race at Thunderhill. This stencil depicts a typical racer being subjected to the heavily amplified/distorted sound of Thunderhill manager David Vodden issuing one of his signature 45-minute monologues on such fascinating subjects as the menu at the Thunderhill Café, weather conditions in world cities, and the Nature of Reality.
The South Fall race took place the weekend after the Thunderhill race, which was itself on the weekend after the Colorado race, and three consecutive race weekends in three different time zones means that the second two are going to be Field Expedient Stencils. Fortunately, I had a few hours prior to the LeMons parade and car inspections in downtown Camden to break out the knife and a Natty Light suitcase box and slice out the BRIBED stencil on a picnic table at the track.
It’s hard to get more Southern than the Moon Pie logo!
I had nearly a month between the South Carolina race and the Where the Elite Meet to Cheat race in Michigan, and that meant that I could get really ambitious with the stencil design. Cutting out the United Auto Workers logo will use up a lot of X-Acto blades (I buy them in 100-packs), but the LeMonated UAW stencil looks good on a Michigan race car.
Sometimes a news story is so incredibly relevant at a certain race venue that the LeMons Supreme Court must use an image referring to that event in the BRIBED stencil. Such was the case at the Halloween Hooptiefest at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which took place a few days after the notorious Pumpkin Festival riots in nearby Keene. Pumpkinhead looters burning your race car!
We’d already used the J.B. Weld logo, the Texas flag, Lone Star Beer, and other Texan imagery, so the Gator-O-Rama racers at MSR Houston got a stencil with the likeness of the Lone Star State’s favorite placental mammal.
I decided to get intricate with the season-ender race at Sears Point and attempt to cut out a stencil showing the skeletal formula of the LSD molecule, with added psychedelic font below. Tip to stencil makers: don’t do this if you hate sore fingers and broken X-Acto blades. Another problem with this stencil design was the speed with which it clogs up with paint; races with 180 teams should get stencils with large, paint-clogging-resistant openings.
Prior to the 2014 LeMons season, I didn’t save the race-specific BRIBED stencils; they went in the trash can or home with racers who wanted them. However, Los Angeles-based racer and artist Alex Vendler offered to pay me to spray all of the season’s BRIBED stencils on a big canvas, which he would then use to ruin the decor of his hipster mansion on the bank of the Los Angeles River. I began bringing used stencils home with me, sandwiched between pieces of cardboard in my checked bags and befuddling legions of TSA inspectors.
I decided that what Alex really needed was a screaming, brightly-colored painting that would dominate his 600-square-foot house, so I got busy with the masking tape and painfully vivid yellow and acrid green paint.
I took inspiration from the famous AS SEEN ON TV explosion logo.
Inside the explosion, the Arabic for the battle cry of the corrupt LeMons judge: BAKSHEESH!
When we’re spraying BRIBED stencils on your race car, we don’t worry so much about overspray or blurry edges. However, I wanted the stencils on Vendler’s canvas to look nice and sharp (so that visitors to his once-tastefully-decorated pad would edge away in horror at the sight of these images), so I used big sockets, wrenches, and nuts to make the stencils lie flat for paint application.
This project turned out to be far more ambitious and generally a much bigger pain in the ass than I’d anticipated, so my price goes up if any of you want such a canvas at the end of 2015. Let’s just say that I’ll take a solid GAZ-21 Volga, delivered to my door, in trade for one of these paintings.
The end result looks very… judicial on Vendler’s wall. Judge Eric Rood and Judge Sajeev Mehta had saved a few of my stencils from previous seasons (including the most difficult-to-cut-out stencil I’ve ever made), so I was able to supplement the 2014 stencils with a few from the 2013 and 2012 seasons.