We didn’t have quite the 180 cars that signed up for the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons at Buttonwillow Raceway Park— only 162 were ready when the green flag waved this morning— but it was still the biggest field in LeMons history. With the first session done and the racers in a frenzied all-night wrenchathon to get their heaps together by Sunday morning, we can tell you that the always-contending POSRacing F’ed-Up Express E30 sits in the lead… barely.
POSRacing has been the only team to even come close to challenging mighty Eyesore Racing for the LeMons Western Regional championship, and they’ve been within a few laps of an overall win several times. However, they’ve got seven other veteran teams sitting within a mere five laps of their 325iS and a long, long day of M20-killin’ racing tomorrow. This ain’t gonna be easy!
In second place, just yards behind the F’ed-Up Express, sits the ’08 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza winner, the Honda CBR1000-engined Geo Metro of Team Sweet Little Ladybug. The Sweet Little Ladybug was a totally different machine for its first win, back when it was the Metro Gnome; it had a CBR900 engine and front-wheel drive (with toilet-plunger grease seal) in those days. Nowadays, it boasts a monstrous mid-mounted CBR1000 and rear-wheel drive; check out Dave Coleman’s excellent article for more information on this sick and twisted little machine.
Speaking of Mr. Coleman, we find that the team of the famous automotive journalist and Mazdaspeed engineer now has the third position in the standings, a mere one lap behind the Sweet Little Ladybug and F’ed-Up Express. Do some feel that a turbocharged Miata-based team has an unfair advantage with engineers from Mazda and Garrett on board? We think Eyesore does so well because they don’t make mistakes, but LeMons conspiracy theorists believe otherwise.
In fourth, we’ve got another perennial contender, a car that’s placed in the the top five at several tough West Coast LeMons races but has never grabbed its team a Winner On Laps trophy: the Team Help Dubai Porsche 944. No Porsche has ever taken an overall LeMons win; in fact, the 944 sits at the top of the list of Most Heartbreaking LeMons Cars. 944s tend to be pretty quick on a road course, but maddeningly unreliable and difficult to repair when the inevitable engine and/or transaxle and/or brake and/or electrical failure occurs. The Help Dubai 944 has been the best of the bunch, so if any Porsche can break the curse it’s probably this one!
A BMW E28 has claimed a LeMons overall win before, with a dramatic victory at the Fall ’07 Altamont race, but many LeMons fans felt that win was a fluke. The Most Interesting Car In The World, a Dos Equis-themed 533i, has a shot at being the second-ever 5 Series to win a LeMons race; if the team— which had a strong fifth-place showing at the super-competitive ’10 Arse Sweat-a-Palooza — can gain three laps on the leader and then hold off the pack of challengers gunning for it.
But all that stuff about race leaders and overall winners is actually pretty boring, compared to the real LeMons action that’s taking place. This bunch of cars is just staggering! Ever wanted to see an Apollo Lunar Rover duking it out with My Little Pony? Sure you have!
Judge Jonny got back from some baksheesh-laden Austrian trip for some magazine or other just in time to rejoin the LeMons Supreme Court for some Penalty Box action. Naturally, he had to suit up and take the Rolling Chicane Racing stretch Town Car limo out for some laps. We’ll let Herr Lieberman tell the full story of his limo-racing adventures himself, no doubt in the next MT issue.
Meanwhile, something like half the vehicles that managed to clank onto the track done blowed up today, and the teams had varying degrees of success duct-taping them back into quasi-running condition. We saw the Mitsubishi Starion’s unbroken run of miserable LeMons failure continue, with the Team Hot Dogs Starion (actually a Conquest) nuking its transmission in the morning; the Hot Dogs, however, have managed to get a very impressive (by Starion standards) 39 laps under their belt today; this may well be a record! Please, Starion LeMons racers, trade in your cars for the far more reliable Jaguar XJ6!
Since we’re on the subject of Chrysler/Mitsubishi misery, the former Index-of-Effluency-winning Dust & Debris Dodge Shadow managed to consume one of its V6’s pistons this afternoon; all that’s left is a wrist pin, some ugly cylinder-wall gouges, and a fine sprinkling of aluminum powder all over the engine’s innards. Everyone who saw this engine (which may have developed a hunger for its own guts due to the super-redneck rear-bumper-mounted turbocharger installation causing a catostrophic lean-out condition) was quite impressed. Not to worry, Shadow fans— Dust & Debris has a stockpile of replacement Mitsu engines ready to go!
We love ghettocharged LeMons racers, of course, but such a setup can have a deleterious effect on reliability. Say, for example, the -ing With Bad Ideas VW Beetle, which features a draw-through turbo setup on a Type 3 engine. This Volks was doing pretty well for a while, but then something (perhaps excessive cylinder pressure?) made some of the cylinder head nuts back off, which caused a base gasket (or whatever VW geeks call the gasket between the cylinder and block) to blow. We’re hoping this fine race car will rejoin the fray tomorrow morning.
Yes, the -ing With Bad Ideas team is made of stern stuff!
The LeMons Supreme Court debuted a new penalty today: the Totally Sketchy Administration (TSA) punishment! Miscreants must assume the role of “screeners” who ensure that passengers are exposed to maximum danger!
Make sure those “boarding passes” are obvious fakes, folks! And you don’t get on the Totally Sketchy airplane unless you’re packing at least ten banned items— gas cans, axes, straight razors, even nail clippers!
Another fiendishly entertaining penalty for bad driving: AMC Flash Cards. Miscreants must identify year and model of various line drawings of Malaise Era AMC vehicles. You may think it’s a ’74 Ambassador, but it it’s a ’73… keep trying! All right, it’s time for me to crash out and rest up for another grueling day in the Penalty Box; I’m including a few gallery photos from yesterday’s BS inspection to keep you entertained for now. Check in tomorrow afternoon for the traditional winner post!
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