By on October 2, 2011

After a grueling all-day battle of thrown rods, car fires, and busted suspensions at MSR Houston, we never expected to see a Ford Taurus SHO with a Rat Patrol roof gunner on the same lap as a bar-sponsored ’84 Volkswagen Rabbit. That’s how things sorted out after the first race session of the fourth annual Yeehaw It’s Texas 24 Hours of LeMons.
There’s something of a SHO Mafia in Texas, for reasons that go beyond my understanding of geo-cultural factors, and so we’ve got three SHOs on Team SHOTime. One of them won two races in the ’10 season, but that car now sits in seventh. The leading “Rat Patrol” 1992 SHO hasn’t had a single black flag today, and (as far as I know) not a single mechanical problem as well.
It’s good to be the leader, but the SHOTime Rat Patrol guys can’t be feeling very comfortable with the perennially contending Blue Goose Rabbit a few seconds behind them.
The Blue Goose VW is one of those LeMons cars that everybody knows is going to take an overall win one of these races; it came within a couple of laps of the win at the North Dallas Hooptie and has been near the front of the pack at race after race. Right now, all the Geese need is the smallest stumble by the Taurus— say, a transmission scattered all over MSR’s Turn Six (a depressingly common SHO occurrence) or something as mundane as a slow refueling stop— and the VW will leap into the lead.
Thing is, the Blue Geese are themselves being sweated by the only 280ZX ever to have won a LeMons race, Team Z-Wrecks. This 29-year-old Datsun is a mere lap behind the Rat Patrol and the Blue Goose, and its best lap is quicker than both its competitors. No black flags, no mechanical problems.
As if the SHO guys weren’t already stressed enough about their escape-risk connecting rods and glass transmission, the BenzGay Mercedes-Benz 300E (winner of the Garrapatas Peligrosas 24 Hours of LeMons in June) cruises a mere three laps behind the Z-Wrecks car.
And, because you can’t have a LeMons race without a BMW 3 Series in the heart of the drama, the Hello Dead Kitty Racing E36 lurks a single lap back of the Benz (they’d be tied with the Z, were it not for the four BS laps handed out by the LeMons Supreme Court yesterday). That’s five cars within a five-lap spread, and a whole day of racing Sunday to sort things out.
Meanwhile, the toll on the competition’s running gear has been even harsher than usual. Toyota MR2s like to eat 4A engines, as was the case with this rod-throw victim. The team has a new (to them) engine on the way, and an all-night thrash should get them back on the track by the time the green flag waves tomorrow morning.
This Nissan Sentra SE-R engine suffered one of the most spectacular failures we’ve ever seen in a LeMons race, with a wayward connecting rod punching holes in both sides of the block and the oil pan, spraying oil all over the exhaust header and turning the engine compartment into a sea of fire. The driver got out of the car safely, the rescue crew put out the fire (including the infield grass fire that spread from the burning car), and the team is even now installing a replacement engine.
The MetroSexuals Suzuki Swift GT-engined Geo Metro (1,300 screaming CCs of twin-cam power!) suffered a catastrophic rear wheel hub failure, which resulted in a three-wheeled off-road adventure. End of the race? Not at all!
That’s because the MetroSexuals’ pit neighbor offered the hub assembly off his daily-driver Metro. That’s how they race, deep in the heart of Texas.

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11 Comments on “Yeehaw It’s Texas LeMons Day One: Rabbit Breathing Down SHO’s Neck...”

  • avatar

    “That’s because the MetroSexuals’ pit neighbor offered the hub assembly off his daily-driver Metro. That’s how they race, deep in the heart of Texas.”

    When it is far too late, leftists will figure out that it isn’t a coincidence that conservative are ALWAYS better people than they are.

    • 0 avatar

      Uhh, wow. Way to go off topic. And how do you know the political persuasion of the Metro driver anyway.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree.

        To be fair, the gentleman who won the Heroic Fix award that drove the Geo to the race is also the owner of one of the most recognized rotary performance shops in the US.

        Maybe driving around a 40mpg gas saver is his way for atoning for the sins of building rotary monsters that get less gas mileage than your average semi-truck.


    • 0 avatar

      Right, because nothing says “conservative” like a jewel green Geo Metro.

      Maybe you’re confusing it with a lifted Dodge Ram with “Nobama” stickers on the tail gate and nekkid lady mud flaps?

      When I was racing in a Detroit Lemons event a few years ago a “leftist” UAW guy let us borrow the shift cable from his daily driver after ours self-destructed mid race. Lemons events in particular seem to draw a lot of helpful-minded enthusiasts who want to see every possible car out there on the track.

      Looks like a good time all around, wish I was there. Shame about the breakdowns, but that’s half the fun of junker racing.

      It takes some guts to show up with a SHO.

    • 0 avatar

      CJinSD: As a fellow conservative, I think your comment is kinda lame. I too was impressed by the generous hub assembly donation story. But liberal vs. conservative definitely wasn’t a part of it. Sorry buddy. I call it as I see it.

    • 0 avatar

      CJinSD = troll

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    A friend in need is a friend indeed!

  • avatar

    I would like the .50 caliber machine gun option for my commuter beater, please.

  • avatar

    BIG smile…thanks for posting this, had no idea about the LeMons!

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