B.F.E. GP LeMons Day One Roundup: Dodge Stealth Leads, 626 and Supra Close Behind

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
b f e gp lemons day one roundup dodge stealth leads 626 and supra close behind

Today’s race session ended about an hour earlier than planned, thanks to a wild Great Plains lightning storm that threatened to vaporize and/or float away the corner workers. Some LeMons races have a team that grabs and early lead and never relinquishes it, while others feature a three- or four-way battle with endless lead changes. Today was the latter type, with the Ghetto Motorsports RX-7 dueling with the Marvin Martian Saab 9000 for the first position for most of the early going and a trio of Japanese machines swooping in when the Saab popped an oil line and the RX-7 caught a few black flags.

Here’s something I never thought I’d see: after a full day of racing, a 2WD Dodge Stealth leads by a lap. On paper, the Mitsubishi 3000GT looks like a good low-buck race car… but then so do the Starion and Eclipse. In practice, Mitsubishi is the least reliable marque in LeMons racing, and the Stealth/3000GT has been soul-crushingly awful in race after race after race. The Team U-Boat Stealth is quick and— so far— black flag-free, so all the team has to do is keep doing what they’ve been doing… and not break the car.

If the U-Boat stumbles in any way, the Plan B Racing “M626” BMW 2002-ified Mazda 626 is poised to swipe the lead away. Plan B’s quickest lap is nearly two seconds slower than the Stealth’s best lap, but consistency wins endurance races. Mazdas have done very well in LeMons racing… with the exception of the 626. Will this one prove that Mazdas other than Proteges, Miatas, and RX-7s can take a LeMons win on laps? We’ll see tomorrow.

On the same lap as the 626, the 1988 Toyota Supra Turbo of Team Japanese Zeros looms nearly as large in the U-Boat’s rearview as the Mazda. Turbo Supras have a spectacularly poor reliability record in LeMons, but you just never know what might happen on the race track.

But the race for the overall win is actually pretty boring compared to the other stuff going on at High Plains Raceway this weekend. The twin-supercharged AMC Marlin of Speed Holes Racing spent all morning and much of the afternoon in a billion pieces, suffering from various fuel- and ignition-related maladies. Things seemed to be looking up for the Speed Holians, but then we heard a tremendous explosion and saw an ominous column of smoke from their paddock space. Blower explosion! Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but the twin-supercharger assembly had to be removed.

Yes, backfires with a draw-through blower setup can be disastrous. Here’s the broken weld on the blower plenum.

The Index of Effluency chase has been very exciting. The NASA ’78 LTD wagon hasn’t missed a beat yet, cruising through a day of leisurely, trouble-free laps. This car is incredibly, staggeringly slow (the slowest thing on the track by a good 20 seconds a lap), but was still right about mid-pack at the end of the day’s session. How much higher must it climb in the standings to grab the top prize of LeMons racing? Good question!

The Time Travelers of Doom Fiero has shocked everyone by being both fast and reliable. Sure, it does have a 3.4 liter Chevy Lumina engine in the back, but we’ve seen all manner of engine-swapped Fieros fail miserably in LeMons. This team has earned itself a place in the Index of Effluency conversation, for sure.

The Petty Cash Racing Jeep Cherokee won the IOE at the Goin’ For Broken race in May by coming in 14th overall. That was an amazing accomplishment, but at this moment the Jeep stands in fifth place in the B.F.E. standings. Yes, an AMC-powered, solid-front-axle truck is beating all the E30s, Civics, and Porsches in the race. Is it possible to win the IOE twice with the same vehicle? Anything can happen in a LeMons race!

The Jeep had its grille fall off halfway through the race session, but it didn’t get run over by other cars and the guys in the wrecker fetched it from the weeds after an hour or so. Zip-tie time!

We’ve been making miscreant drivers decorate the Volvo 244 Turbo Judgemobile. JudgemoVolvo! Check in tomorrow for the winner posts and— if time and spotty internet service permit— mid-race updates.

Join the conversation
  • Parkwood60 Parkwood60 on Jul 10, 2011

    Meanwhile I had a productive day of wrenching on the Malaise Era Masterpiece in my driveway this afternoon. Removing the AC system and all the smog pump and adding low buck hood and trunk pins. We have got a theme, and bribes you are going to love too. I can't wait for arse freeze a palooza.

  • Obbop Obbop on Jul 10, 2011

    I added another recent event in my blog that is generally ignored by an incredibly HUGE number of humans. The History Reenacted" blog, not the Disgruntled Old Coot offering whose main offering is a Coot Closet.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).