Jeff “Speedycop” Bloch is arguably the most famous competitor in the history of the 24 Hours of LeMons. Not because he wins the race (although he does have one overall win to my knowledge) and not because he’s been my teammate on a few occasions, but rather because of the unique “Class C” cars that he builds. From an “upside-down” Camaro to the infamous Spirit Of LeMons, Speedycop is always looking for a way to race something that’s never been raced before.
His latest announcement won’t disappoint his fans in the slightest.
In my life, I’ve officiated exactly two LeMons races thanks to the good graces of Murilee Martin. At those races, I’ve watched tech inspectors go over seats, belts and harnesses with more scrutiny than border guards in Israel. To be sure, it’s astounding to me how much safety needs to be welded, worked and crammed into a “junker” from the outside — most people never see that. But even I wondered sometimes why tech was so hard to pass.
There are myriad things that can go wrong on a racetrack. However, there are only a few things that can save lives when those things go wrong. For those lifesaving devices, there’s no substitute or corner-cutting, and there are reasons why good teams spend more on a cage and brakes than they ever spend on an engine.
Case in point: Coming up on a blind crest and running face-first into the rear of a stalled car and everyone is OK after.
Just weeks following the conclusion of a rain-soaked United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, certain details are coming to light that threaten the continuation of the event — and quite possibly operation of the facility as a whole.
One of the many pieces that keeps the event in Austin is the state’s Major Events Trust Fund, which has provided $25 million a year to race promoters since COTA began hosting Formula 1 in 2012.
It was believed the annual $25 million payment was assured for at least 10 years, for a total commitment of $250 million, to be paid by the State of Texas. However, a change in government and an audit of how the fund calculates major events payments has meant race organizers received just $19.5 million for 2015, or $5.5 million less than what was expected.
They go and make a video like this and totally redeem themselves! (Not really.)
But the video above sure is entertaining. After rumors that Jenson Button would leave the team this year, the less-than dynamic duo of Button and Fernando Alonso appears to be back in 2016 to compete in GP2 Formula 1. The video has a story, apparently: (Read More…)
The fine folks over at The Atlantic (yeah, the fancy magazine) have posted a 5-minute short film on the experience that is LeMons. We love it.
(Spot fellow TTAC scribe Murilee Martin in the robe at 1:45.)
For the uninitiated, it’s a expertly captured glimpse at the personalities that make home-grown racing the best kind of racing. For the car nut, the film serves as motivation to get out and work on your race mongrel — now.(Read More…)
Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah (about 45 minutes outside of Salt Lake City) has a new lease on life, Hot Rod is reporting. The racetrack will be purchased by Chinese carmaker Geely and renamed Utah Motorsports Campus. The facility could receive $50 million in upgrades to host more racing events in the future.
The track had been on the ropes after the Miller family, who took over after patriarch Larry H. Miller died in 2009, said they weren’t renewing the lease and walking away from the world-class racetrack. (Read More…)
Update 2: Connecticut police have sent over a statement.
Update: We’ve received a reply from Lime Rock Park’s Press, PR & Editorial Director, Rick Roso, detailing what happened last night. It is included below.
Police say several teens broke into Lime Rock Park on Wednesday night and crashed go-karts, injuring two teenagers. According to police, a 15-year-old girl was transported to a Hartford children’s hospital via helicopter and a 15-year-old boy was transported to a local hospital, both with non-life threatening injuries. Both teens are in stable condition.
Here’s a little bit of racing trivia you may not have known. In addition to getting a check with a couple of commas in the amount, the winning driver of the Indianapolis 500 is also awarded the pace car for that year’s race. I’m not talking about one of the thousands of replicas they sell at the dealers or even one of the dozens of courtesy cars with pace car graphics that they use at the race. I’m talking about the actual vehicle used to pace the drivers as they come into formation for the flying start and then functions as a safety car when yellow flags are unfurled. That means that racers driving for Roger Penske’s team have won sixteen of those pace cars.
Apparently those drivers’ contracts give the team the right to buy the pace car if they win because Roger owns all sixteen paces cars from the years that his team has won the 500. To celebrate this year’s edition of the massive Woodward Dream Cruise, the Penske organization paraded their collection of authentic Indy 500 pace cars from the Penske Corp’s hospitality tent in Royal Oak all the way up to Pontiac and back, with the spiff that many of the cars were being driven by current and former Penske racers. (Read More…)
One of the great secrets of TTAC is how little we, the writers, know each other.
I have met our fearless leader, Mark Stevenson, exactly once. I have met Sajeev exactly once — and he was wearing a judge’s robe and a headdress. I have met Murilee exactly once, and he was berating me for driving over the blend line at Carolina Motorsports Park. I’ve met Steve Lang once, and I was mostly drunk. I’ve never met Cameron, or Aaron, or Ronnie, or Tim, or several of the other contributors.
So when the opportunity arose to go karting with noted wheelman and TTAC author W. Christian “Mental” Ward this week in Atlanta, I eagerly accepted.