The temperature dropped to freezing, the wind hit 50 MPH, and the rain turned to snow at the Campaign To Prevent Gingervitis 24 Hours of LeMons. Cars spun out in record numbers, and broken cars had to be repaired in frostbitten conditions that would have appalled the harshest Gulag commandant. The battle for the overall lead stayed close all day, with the lead changing hands at least a dozen times.
Just in the first few hours of the day, the race leaders were: Volvo 245, Fiat X1/9, Lexus LS400, Buick LeSabre, Volkswagen Quantum, Dodge Neon, Honda Prelude, Volkswagen Golf. Later on, the wind-whipped snow got bad enough to become a visibility hazard, so LeMons HQ put the kibosh on the session an hour early.
The 1942 Kinner aircraft radial-powered Toyota MR2 made it onto the track soon after the green flag waved, and everyone hoped it would run all weekend. Sadly, its chain drive system failed after one lap.
Either the chain broke and wrapped around the transmission input shaft, breaking off the sprocket, or the shaft failed and took the chain with it. Either way, the whole mess flew apart as the car limped past the Penalty Box, with a noise Judge Sam described as akin to “a clothes washer full of hammers.” Marc, the car’s
madman genius builder, says he’ll sort out the problems and bring it back to a future race, and we expect the new, improved Radial MR2 drivetrain to be much more durable.
The leader, by a single lap, at the end of Saturday’s session was the Skid Marks Racing Neon. This car took the overall win at the Rod Blagojevich Never-Say-Die 500 last year, and their black-flag-free performance continues here in South Haven. A lot can happen Sunday, and with the top ten cars are all bunched within a 12-lap spread we expect a lot of pressure on the Skid Marks’ drivers.
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