The Truth About Cars » 24 Hours of LeMons Dallas The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » 24 Hours of LeMons Dallas And the Real Winner Is… Mon, 19 Dec 2011 02:59:53 +0000 The Index of Effluency, LeMons racing’s top prize, gets handed to the team that accomplishes a lap total far beyond what any sane person would have imagined possible for such a terrible, terrible car. Sometimes that means getting 10th overall in a Toyota Tercel EZ, and other times it means taking 36th out of 57 entries in a 1977 Ford Mustang II. Macaroni Racing, in their Cologne V6-powered “big Pinto,” managed the latter achievement at the Heaps In The Heart of Texas 24 Hours of LeMons today.
158 laps on the 2.5-mile-long Eagles Canyon Raceway track is 395 miles. Imagine taking your grandmother’s basket-case Mustang II and beating the crap out of it at full throttle for the entirety of a 395-mile road trip on twisty, hilly roads (say, San Francisco to Los Angeles on the Coast Highway), while getting passed every few seconds by buzzing, angry swarms of BMW E30s, Mazda Miatas, and Ford Taurus SHOs. Would you expect your Mustang II to be in one piece at the end?
No, you wouldn’t. This brings Ford’s Index of Effluency trophy count for the now-completed 2011 LeMons season to four; behind Chrysler (with 4¼ IOE wins) and GM (with seven wins). Congratulations, Macaroni Racing!

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And the Winner Is… Mon, 19 Dec 2011 02:37:10 +0000 This year, the Hong Norrth Mazda MX-3 won the Showroom-Schlock Shootout in Charlotte, the Cain’t Git Bayou in Lousiana, the ‘Shine Country Classic in South Carolina, and the Southern Discomfort, also in South Carolina. Today, Hong Norrth won their fifth race in the 2011 24 Hours of LeMons season, by taking the Heaps In The Heart Of Texas race by two laps..
It’s hard to believe that this was once the lovable-but-hapless team that won the Heroic Fix award for performing a record five engine swaps in their terrible CRX. Once Hong Norrth got over their Honda loyalty and switched to the strongest marque in LeMons racing (sorry, BMW fans, your Bavarian overlords may have won the ’11 season Constructors’ Championship based on strength-in-numbers top-ten finishes… but Mazda had eight P1 finishes next to BMW’s four), their screwup-free driving skills were finally allowed to shine. The Hong Norrth MX-3 wasn’t the quickest thing on the track this time, though it came close (a Taurus SHO and an E30— both previous winners— topped its best lap by a couple of seconds), but in the end that didn’t matter. A few seconds saved in a pit stop here, a black flag avoided there, and a car that never breaks— that’s what you need to set the all-time record for most 24 Hours of LeMons races won in a single season. Congratulations, Hong Norrth!

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Heaps In The Heart Of Texas LeMons Day One: MX-3 Leads, Index of Effluency Battle Heating Up Sun, 18 Dec 2011 01:19:45 +0000 It’s not much of a shock to find that the most dominant team of the 2011 24 Hours of LeMons season, the seemingly black-flag-proof Hong Norrth Mazda MX-3, ended today’s race session at Eagles Canyon in P1. A lot can happen tomorrow, though, so unhatched chickens aren’t being counted yet. The day’s events featured plenty of Texas-style ventilated engine blocks and panicky trips to the junkyard as well.
Hong Norrth already has four LeMons overall wins in 2011; they’re not the fastest team on the track, but they don’t make mistakes and their car doesn’t break. It appears that BMW has the 2011 LeMons Constructors’ Championship nailed down at this point, thanks to the hordes of quick E30s and E28s, but Mazda will have far more wins than the Bavarians.
Hong Norrth isn’t leading by much, however, and the drivers of the Blue Goose Rabbit have come so close to a LeMons win so many times that they’re probably chewing lug nuts out of frustration at this very moment. If Hong Norrth stumbles in the slightest, the second-place Blue Goose Rabbit will be right there to grab the lead and keep it.
Because this is Texas, the SHO contingent is out in force. In P3, we have the SHOTime A Taurus SHO (foreground). Taurus SHOs have won plenty of LeMons races… and they’ve also destroyed more engines and transmissions than the rest of the field combined. Today, only one of the five SHOs scattered an engine all over the track (necessitating a lengthy red-flag delay to clean up the mess) and each of the remaining four sits in the top ten of the standings at day’s end.
We often forget that Hong Norrth runs two MX-3s in each race. They seem mechanically identical, but the team’s best drivers run the black Hong Norrth A car while the more black-flag-prone drivers take the red Hong Norrth B car. For the first time ever, the red Hongmobile has managed to finish a day’s race session near the top of the standings. Looks like the Hong Norrth B Team has been taking lessons in spinout avoidance from the Hong Norrth A Team.
No team in the first four positions can afford to relax, because they’ve got another tough previous winner looming behind them. The BenzGay 300E won the Garrapatas Peligrosas race (against most of the same teams in this weekend’s race) by the vast chasm of a 17-lap margin, and they could do it again.
On paper, the Los Bastardos Duratec-powered Renault Dauphine has the power-to-weight numbers to annihilate the competition at a horsepower track like ECR, but sometimes things— we can’t really call them unexpected things— just go wrong. Nobody hurt in the blaze, all-night wrenchfest sure to come.
It’s early to speculate too much on who might win the top prize of the weekend, but we can look at a few of the front-runners as of now. This dead-stock, 302-powered 1978 Mustang II (a team member’s grandmother’s ex-daily-driver) is looking strong.
The Barracuda of IOE-winning veterans NSF Racing is right in the thick of the IOE hunt; with its healthy 340 engine, it will need to finish reasonably high in the standings to defeat the Malaisemobiles for the Index (and by “reasonably high” I mean “top half”).
The Speedy Monzales Chevy Monza should be capable of going toe-to-toe with its Mustang rival for IOE honors; this Monza has a reasonably reliable Buick V6 under the hood, so it should blow up less frequently than the small-block version would.
The Mercedes-Benz 560SEL stayed running most of the day and sounds great on the track. It’s probably too well-built (i.e., one of the best-built cars in the history of the automobile) to qualify for the IOE, but it’s still a great big luxury car on a tough road course.
Photo credit: Nick Pon

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A Barracuda, Speedy Monzales, and a Luxurious W126 Benz: BS Inspections of the Heaps In The Heart Of Texas 24 Hours of LeMons Sat, 17 Dec 2011 07:42:46 +0000 I’m still recovering from having my tonsils hacked out with pinking shears, so I couldn’t get to Texas to judge at the 2011 season-ending 24 Hours of LeMons race at Eagles Canyon Raceway. Fortunately, the LeMons Supreme Court has tentacles everywhere, and they’ve sent in some photos showing how Friday’s prerace BS Inspection went down.
Even after a Fiat 131′s transmission failure blasted a giant hole in the car’s floor in New Jersey earlier this year, Poage Ma Thoin Racing hasn’t let that scare them out of running their Texas Brava.
NSF Racing, fresh off back-to-back Judges’ Choice (for their ultra-classy Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9) and Index of Effluency (for their terrifyingly rusty 1963 Plymouth Fury) trophy wins, now brings a somewhat battered example of vintage Mopar muscle: this 1965 Barracuda with 340 and 4-speed. Knowing the aptly named NSF Racing, this thing is probably going to break in half 30 minutes after the green flag Saturday morning… and then they’ll fix it with zip ties.
Texans love their Taurus SHOs. Five of them showed up for the race. That means the one that keeps running will have four engine/transmission/suspension parts donors handy.
We’ve been agitating for someone to run a V8-powered W126 Mercedes-Benz, and so this 560SEL makes all the LeMons Perpetrators very happy. Who’s running it? Who else but slam-dunk 2011 Legend of LeMons honoree Brandon, who won the Index of Effluency with his W110 Benz in June and has spent the rest of the year dragging his terrible Jetta to LeMons races all over the country. Just look at this fine racing machine! No weak points!
This is some crucial racing gear right here.
The last time LeMons came to ECR, the strangely turbocharged (and barbecue/whiskey-still-equipped) Sensory Assault RX-7 won the Index of Effluency. Now the team is back, this time with a huge, rearward-facing turbo boost gauge. Why? To intimidate the competition. Now that’s racin’!

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And the Real Winner Is… Mon, 25 Apr 2011 07:50:48 +0000
The Index of Effluency, 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, goes to the team that achieves beyond all expectations in an unspeakably terrible car. That means, most of the time, something like an MGB-GT or Chevy S10. A 1987 Mazda RX-7, a pretty quick and reliable car in most cases, wouldn’t qualify for IOE status… under normal circumstances. In the case of the lunatic Texans of Team Sensory Assault, however, we’ve got a silk purse that’s been turned into a sow’s ear, then shot full of holes, fed through a shredder, and boiled in chlorine triflouride.

After about 10 LeMons races, Sensory Assault had managed to achieve Ununhexium Legend of LeMons status, mostly due to to antics such as their unsafe-n-insane LeMons Line-Lock and their exhaust-heat-operated rib-cooker. That didn’t mean that they did so well in the standings at any of their races, with black flags and busted RX-7 parts keeping them down in the celler of the standings, race after race. Adding a junkyard turbocharger to the car served to make the car even worse, a feat we didn’t believe possible. Their best performance, prior to the North Dallas Hooptie, was something like 39th place. This weekend, however, Sensory Assault managed to get their horrid pink hooptie into ninth place. Will they ever manage to do such a thing again? Probably not. For now, though, IOE glory is theirs. Congratulations, Sensory Assault!

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And the Winner Is… Mon, 25 Apr 2011 07:31:29 +0000
The North Dallas Hooptie 24 Hours of LeMons is over, tornadoes, lightning, and all, and a most improbable team has taken the win on laps.

We’d been seeing the Miagra Miata for many races and had written the team off as a bunch of hapless black-flag magnets with a car that somehow managed to get British Leyland-grade reliability from a Hiroshima product. They never gave up, however, and their skills improved in parallel with the bugs getting worked out of their car. Over the weekend, it all came together for Team Miagra, and they took the overall win by a two-lap margin. Congratulations, Team Miagra!

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In Spite of Texas Tornadoes, Miagra Miata Holds Lead In North Dallas Hooptie Sun, 24 Apr 2011 03:32:09 +0000
You get some crazy weather when your traveling race series holds events in April; last weekend, we had to throw the checkered flag early on Saturday’s race session because blowing Michigan snow knocked visibility down to zero. Today, we had to end the session an hour early because a wild lightning storm swooped in and threatened to zap the corner workers. Minutes later, the tornado alert sirens started blowing. The members of the Miagra Miata team, no doubt donning their helmets and cowering in the nearest bunker, could console themselves with the knowledge that their team will start tomorrow’s race session as the race leader. Well, that’s if a funnel cloud doesn’t deposit their Mazda in the next county.

Meanwhile, the members of the Blue Goose Golf team, who spent much of the day battling for (and occasionally grabbing) the lead with Los Miagras, are probably gritting their teeth and grumbling about weak-kneed race organizers who let a little weather put a halt to their chase of that damn Mazda. We’ve been seeing the Miagra guys at the Houston races for quite a while, and they’ve always been utterly terrible underdogs, breaking the car and racking up tremendous quantities of black flags. For this race, all of the team’s drivers prepared by taking every possible race-instruction class and (we assume) undergoing painful aversion-therapy treatments that applied electric shocks to sensitive body parts whenever a black flag appeared in the field of vision. This team has been very fast and utterly penalty-free so far, which I never would have predicted for these former repeat miscreants. Can the Blue Geese catch the blue-pill-adorned Miata tomorrow? Will one of the E30s nipping at their heels pass them both? We’ll find out tomorrow… if the track is still there.

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Huggy Bear, SHOs Galore, and a TR6: BS Inspections at the North Dallas Hooptie 24 Hours of LeMons Sat, 23 Apr 2011 03:33:24 +0000
I’m on my third LeMons race in as many weekends— New Jersey to Michigan to Texas— and the regional differences that make one region of the country stand out from another have become quite clear: East Coast racers like BMW E30s and VW Golfs and Midwestern racers are partial to Neons and Camaros. The Texans? They like Ford Taurus SHOs.

Because the North Dallas Hooptie, held at Eagles Canyon Raceway in Decatur, Texas, takes place on Easter weekend, many of the teams ducked out at the last moment due to holiday/family pressure. The serious teams— maybe 40 of them— aren’t worried about the stuff the squares will be doing this weekend. They’re racing!

Not to say that the holiday is being completely ignored.

SHOs are great (except for the whole thrown-rod and nuked-transmission thing), but this much-butchered Triumph made us the happiest.

Thanks to Ununexium Legend of LeMons Medal winner John of Hoonatic Racing, there will be live streaming video coverage of the North Dallas Hooptie, starting Monday morning. Check it out!

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