By on September 28, 2013


Yesterday, The Syndicate – SLC formed like Voltron for an assault on MSR Houston’s pre-race practice day. Fresh from an evening at a the Denny’s next to the “G Cabaret”, Jack and Derek were tanned, rested, and ready to come up to speed on the crocodile-head-shaped track’s fastest, or perhaps least car-damaging, racing line. Philip drove his 1.8-liter Impreza parts car three hours from his bunk in the loft of Brianne Corn’s secret race shop. (He lives at the shop like Shawn lived at Han’s shop in Tokyo Drift. Or maybe not.) Marc P. was in an uncharacteristically good mood, primarily because he wasn’t aware that we’d been creeping through his ex-model wife’s Facebook profile just before he arrived. Mark B. was still in transit, complaining about how the first-class seat in his connecting flight “smelled like middle-class people” or something like that.

There was just one little problem: we had no car.

Last-minute car preps are the stuff of which LeMons is made, but as of Friday morning the SLC didn’t even have a rollcage installed, thanks to a late shipment from the tube benders. Our friends at FEIND would have a long night ahead of them. So would we, because Jack had dinner booked at his favorite Houston spot — the Pappas Brothers Steakhouse on fun-loving Westheimer Road. In the meantime, we needed something to drive.

Luckily for us, the night before Derek had just happened to step out of the rental shuttle in front of a Hertz Penske Mustang GT. A hang-tag in the windshield proclaimed “JUST AN EXTRA $99 A DAY!” This wasn’t strictly true — you also have to take AlwaysLame NeverLost and the satellite upcharge — but it seemed like a good time to self-consciously re-create the old stories of “rent on Friday, race on Sunday”. Come Monday or Tuesday we’ll have a full review of the hopped-up Hertz, but here’s a sneak peek — it’s a bargain, even at the inflated rental rate.

After a bit of cajoling, we were able to sneak our Mustang into the LeMons practice session, where we proceeded to absolutely lay waste to a bunch of old Cavaliers and MR2s. “These LeMons guys aren’t very fast,” Derek noted.

“They don’t have four hundred horsepower,” Jack replied. “Tomorrow, when we don’t have four hundred horsepower, these guys will look like Sebastian Vettel.”

After a few hours, it was time to decamp to a dinner-and-drinks session that cost more than a LeMons car is supposed to. Let the record show that the Betabrand Golden Hoodie(tm) is a brilliant way to have attractive women with six-foot-five ex-Texas A&M linebacker boyfriends stare at you all night. Was it lust or barely suppressed laughter? Either way, we didn’t stick around to find out.

This morning we’re packing to leave for MSR. We’ll update you on our fortunes from the track. And remember, if you’re at the track, the Phrase That Pays Is

“TTAC 107 plays the hits with no Shibari Rope Bondage!”

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22 Comments on “TTAC 24 Hours Update: A Stand-In For The SLC...”

  • avatar

    I thought it was “TTAC 107 plays the hits 24/7…”

    Have fun out there, you are carrying all the hopes and dreams of those of us who could never get away to enjoy this kind of thing upon your shoulders.

  • avatar

    Good luck!
    BTW….I had to google “Shibari Rope”. Now I see the connection.

  • avatar

    Harrumph! It is nice when the car is at the track, ready to run on practice day. Or at least has a cage in it.

  • avatar

    Is ther a good link for coverage of the race? I realy miss M. M.
    The Coverage of these races that he used to provide here are greatly missed

  • avatar

    “This wasn’t strictly true — you also have to take NeverLost and the satellite upcharge — but it seemed like a good time to self-consciously re-create the old stories of “rent on Friday, race on Sunday”.”

    Question: Does the “NeverLost” device keep trip log data? Might this be a way for Hertz to crack down on “race on Sunday” attempts with said Mustang?

    • 0 avatar

      Nah. Those Hertz people are easy going. Why would they even rent out a Mustang GT without knowing there would be a little hooning involved? Dealers won’t let you really test the car’s strengths on the test drive, so supplying Hertz with GT’s for “real world” testing is probably part of the deal.

      • 0 avatar


        They know how fast you drove it and if you took it out state, and if they scrutinize the info, if you took it to a track. Derek might be getting a letter from Hertz.

    • 0 avatar

      The rental companies in Germany do that so that their cars aren’t subjected to time attacks at the Burgerkingring, as JB calls it.

  • avatar

    I am so sick of missing LeMons.

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who finds the daily Mustang fanboi posts a bit much? I also like Mustangs ( I have two) but this is becoming boring and lazy.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not just the Mustang.

      Ford, with the exception of a now irrelevant Lincoln, is a giant leg that TTAC humps vigorously & regularly.

      There’s rarely a Ford, from the Focus to the Fusion, the F150, Explorer or Escape, and even the – gasp! – Taurus that Dykes, D.K., Jack, and especially recently departed Michael Karesh, that TTAC doesn’t drop its panties for, and with reckless abandon.

      In fact, I don’t believe it objectively unfair to state that Ford is the antithesis, post-Farago TTAC, to what General Motors was Farago era TTAC.

    • 0 avatar

      Better than talking about Steve McQueen’s penis.

    • 0 avatar

      As much Mustang as any man can handle then just a little bit more!

    • 0 avatar

      Reg; “Mustang fanboi posts a bit much” … Yes! Borders on brain dead. But, the Mustang is a large part of the equation encompassing the North American car culture. It was the first ‘Pony’ and still has an enduring cachet among a certain demographic of the automotive scene.

      Personally, they sort of piss me off, or, actually Ford bean counters do. And so do fanboy commentors who herald their so called ‘Handling’ because they post pretty good numbers, on smooth surfaces. Obviously they have never driven one in anger on a road course or surface roads.

      In rough corners, their reasonably good slip angles are suddenly introduced to vertical components. At that point you better have some room to recover or your ass end will pass you by on the way to the ditch. Bottom line, they just are not that much fun to drive in a corner.

      The great Tom McCahill, once compared a 48′ Ford two door sedan to a new, late sixties Ford sedan on the track and found that the old solid axle Ford perform nearly as good(or was it better?) as the twenty year newer Ford. Ford hadn’t made much progress in twenty years in the handling of Fords, and that pretty much is the handling story of Mustangs. I would put up my old SVO or 2000 Cobra’R’, up against any of the newer Mustangs. Lets just hope the new 2015 Mustang changes that picture.

      In the meant time, they are a decently fun rental car in convertible or GT form.

      Speaking of Uncle Tom, he has to be one of the all time great automotive journalists. In the top three for sure. He pretty much single handedly developed the format for testing cars.

  • avatar

    The Ford love is deserved; they’re making the best fleet of vehicles (IMHO) of the Used To Be Big Three and maybe as good as the JK’s (certainly better than VW).

    As long of none of the Fords have MyTouch Sync in them… then they’re barely driveable.

    • 0 avatar

      The Coyote Five-Oh and Fusion’s chassis are the only things praiseworthy @ FoMoCo relative to the competition.

      All else is bland, milquetoast/or unreliable (and massively overpriced).

      But TTAC loves it some Ford EVERYTHING nonetheless.

      • 0 avatar

        Hey! They put on a hell of a display at the big auto shows.

        Will never forget the Boss 302 at the LA show you could drag through the quarter mile. It was up on a stand and you could go through the gears with the rear tires spinning big rollers like a chassis dyno.

        Another display had an SUV sliced through the middle from front to back, and other stands had active engine and transmission cut away’s.

        Maybe Ford should have cheated their suppliers, robbed money from their bond holders, and performed other nefarious acts, so they would have more money for new products or build in more quality… but they didn’t.

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