Boston Tow Party Day One Over, Alfa Leads Big, Everyone Else Throwing Rods

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
boston tow party day one over alfa leads big everyone else throwing rods

True, not every entry scattered its engine all over the track at Stafford Motor Speedway today, but it sure seemed like it; by late evening, I counted only 21 of the 60 or so cars still moving under their own power. Meanwhile, the Scuderia Limoni Alfa Romeo Milano will begin tomorrow’s session with a vast 68-lap lead.

68 laps isn’t quite as overwhelming as it sounds, since a quick lap around this track takes just over 30 seconds, but the second-position Elmo’s Revenge Saturn will only catch Scuderia Limoni if the Alfa breaks and/or its drivers go on a black-flag rampage.

Milanos have been strangely reliable in LeMons racing, and this car has finished as high as second in the past. So far, the only Alfa to take an overall win at a LeMons race was a GTV6, but a Milano victory is bound to happen eventually. Tomorrow, perhaps? A lot can happen on a high-drama, high-temperature track like Stafford, so no prediction is safe.

Speedycop’s 1980 Bonneville donk has been rollin’ on its 22s all day with just a few minor malfunctions. It looks a bit more battered than when it started the race (the tight course means there’s plenty of contact between cars), but the style is still there.

With nearly two-thirds of the entries up on jackstands in the paddock for much of the day, we’ve seen a lot of engine innards. The Team Waahmbulance Dodge Daytona seems well on its way to taking home its second I Got Screwed trophy, with a 14-hour wrenchfest and rod-knock party culminating in the discovery that the engine got incorrect rod and main bearings installed between the New Hampshire race and this weekend’s event.

The Peugeot 405 Mi16 that had us so excited yesterday ran for about 12 minutes after the green flag… and then tossed a connecting rod through the back of the engine block and clanked to a halt in a cloud of smoke and steam. Such sadness!

Normally, when an oddball French orphan loses its engine in the first minutes of a LeMons race, the team members become spectators. Not so with Team French Toast! These guys managed to find another 405 engine in Vermont and are, as I write these words, doing the swap. Will the new-to-them engine work on Sunday? Why shouldn’t it?

The Goin’ Nuclear Civic, winner of the Loudon Annoying LeMons a couple of months back, suffered a reactor meltdown early in the day. Many teams in their position would have said “Screw this, we can’t win this time— let’s go home!” Not Goin’ Nuclear! They spent much of the day scrounging up another engine, installed it, and got back onto the track.

In addition to the usual crop of mechanical failures that you get when the mercury rises into the triple digits, racers have been bashing into walls and each other all day; by the end of Saturday’s session, a good half-dozen teams were cooling their heels after being removed from the track for the remainder of the day due to excessive penalties, and another bunch were out with crash damage. With all night to wield Sawzalls and sledge hammers, and the black-flag slate being wiped clean in the morning, we’ll see a lot more cars on the track when the green flag waves on Sunday morning. Check in tomorrow night to see how it all plays out.

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2 of 4 comments
  • Italian99 Italian99 on Jul 24, 2011

    I see a Fiat 131 in the first picture and in the second an alfa75 (italian name). my uncle had a 131 mirafiori (station) and a father of my friend an alfa75 1.6 boxer!

  • Zarba Zarba on Jul 24, 2011

    It's EVERYTHING ELSE in a Milano that fails. But the transaxle is nearly bulletproof.

  • Theflyersfan There are times in the comments section where I think either some meds really need to be increased, or meds need to be started...Guys, man, this sort of crap is the new normal. Yes, in 2019, a VW project car would have been in very low four digits, but "in these difficult and trying times," I think the only used cars that exist in that price range are stripped and on concrete blocks in a burned out part of town, or are being used as taxis in less wealthy parts of the world. And all that being said, to the wannabe tuners out there who envision themselves croaking about "family," sucking down product-placed Corona beers, and launching Fieros into space or outrunning submarines on ice in Siberia, I don't think there are enough suckers out there who want to pick up the pieces of your bombed-out Fast and Furious fantasies. Watching YouTube videos and having some help from your cousin fresh out of rehab doesn't turn anyone into an expert under the hood, especially on a quality nightmare called the 2003 VW GTI.
  • Azfelix From certain angles the bonnet appears oversized with respect to the rest of the car - like a skinny teenager wearing a bulky sweater nicked from her older sister's wardrobe.
  • Tassos This is way too god damned OLD, 21 years old to have all the necessary options you need TODAY. You need a 10 year old or less car. AND if you give us THIS POS, a 21 year old model, that is not even a LUXURY car, whoever pays $10k for a Golf, And I Do NOT care what anniversary it is (they are all UTTERLY INSIGNIFICANT) deserves to get this MOST UNRELIABLE AND COSTLY TO REPAIR OF ALL LOUSY ECONOBOXES< EVEN THE DOMESTICS AND THE KOREANS.
  • Tassos As you say, Toyota confirmed this on TUESDAY. Today is WEDNESDAY. Why is everything on TTAC held back one or more days before you tell us the NEWS when it is NO MORE THE NEWS?
  • MRF 95 T-Bird You can find a decent and far more stylish Audi TT or an S4 of a similar vintage for under $10k.