By on November 16, 2014

It’s a little-known fact that I was the first person to coach famous LeMons Judge Phil, also known as Murilee Martin to TTAC readers, around a racetrack. It’s a semi-known fact that I was his boss for about a year recently.

That didn’t stop him from hammering the Busted Racing 944 Turbo with twenty penalty laps for its maiden LeMons race at MSR Houston this weekend — nor did it stop the team from getting three black flags while I made my usual leisurely way to the racetrack for Saturday’s nine-hour session.

Since Jim, the team principal of Busted Racing, is such a nice guy, I know he won’t mind me using him as an example of how not to get through a LeMons BS inspection. In fact, it’s Jim’s honesty that was directly responsible for those penalty laps. Let’s count the ways that honesty caused him grief by using quotes from the actual interaction with Judge Phil:

“We got the car through some people who were also members of the local Porsche Club.” Has there ever been a 944 Turbo in history that was honestly sold for $500? Probably not. This one sold for $750, mostly because it had crash damage down the entire right side. But when Jim admitted that he was a member of the same PCA region as the seller, even though he didn’t know them and didn’t get a break on the price, Judge Phil administered Soviet justice with all the capriciousness of a tribunal of pigs deciding Snowball’s fate in his absence. Lesson: Always make a fake Craigslist ad.

“I fixed all the body damage myself!” But why fix the damage? Because Jim wanted a nice-looking car, he painstakingly knocked out all the dents then rattlecanned the whole car to the same approximate shade of red. The thing to do would have been to add more dents! Lesson: Never deliberately make a LeMons car look nicer than it was when you bought it.

“Twenty laps? With ten, we’d have a chance to win this thing!” When Jim said this, I wanted to yell “NOOOOOOOO!” like I was Luke Skywalker holding on to a piece of weather-control apparatus underneath Bespin. Never tell Phil you can win the thing with just a ten-lap penalty. Yes, the car is fast — the 1:56.9 you see above was just my fourth-ever lap in the car — but in order to run in the front at MSR you need a 1:54 in the bag every lap, no matter who on your team is driving. Lesson: Undersell your capabilities.

“Yes, it’s a 944 Turbo.” This was in response to Jay Lamm’s “What, this is some piece of shit 944 with an S2 front end?” The proper response to this would have been “YES.”, followed by a smile of satisfaction as you remembered the times you spent removing all “turbo” logos from under the hood and a quick bribe to Judge Phil. The 944 Turbo used to have Ferraris for lunch! Never admit to having a 944 Turbo! Lesson: Don’t admit to having a 944 Turbo.

As fate would have it, we’re currently sitting behind TTAC contributor Stef Schrader’s normally-aspirated Puffalumpy 944 in the standings, even if you account for Judge Phil’s judicious twenty. Three black flags will do that to you. But it’s going to rain tomorrow, and I think I might actually show up in time to drive. You never know what will happen.

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16 Comments on ““The Lightning McQueen Graphics Should Be Worth Fifty Penalty Laps”...”


  • avatar

    More cunning required.

    Badge it up as a “Sterling 925 Turbo” as some long-lost Anglo-Germanic prototype unloved and abandoned since its initial cobbling together in the ’80s.

    Immediate IOE win and probably 100 bonus laps into the bargain.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Snowball…Four legs good two legs better. I wonder how many people will get your reference….and yeah, sometimes the truth is not the right answer…sad to say.

  • avatar
    LALoser

    TTAC needs more Baruth-esque articles.

  • avatar
    LBJs Love Child

    A $500 Porsche with WORKING screen wipers!? I definitely call BS.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    What a moron. But my brother does the exact same thing.

    Is my brother racing?

    Way to rub yours and barks good relationship in our faces. I don’t even know if Troy is running and he’s so annoyingly competitive he won’t let me race with him because he doesn’t know if I can drive.

    Just kidding. Kinda

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I don’t know if he is racing but I know he spent a whole night helping Brian P. with a broken-down tow rig.

      You can come race with me and Bark and be our honorary brother!

  • avatar
    matador

    Just whack it a bunch. Paint 1 door a different color. Then, rub it against a guard rail.

    Now it’s believable.

  • avatar

    Rookie mistakes. No one is honest in racing. NO ONE!!!

    Except my team, the Park Bench Racing Team. Our Buick Regal is just that, a crappy Buick Regal, and we totally did not just swap in a supercharged engine with an HD trans. Nope. No way. We did not do that.

  • avatar
    Bayley

    Just race a Chrysler. Phil loves Chrysler’s. Problem(s) solved.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Generally a good strategy to get through BS inspection unless you have a Neon with a header on it. I’ve read that Phil is inclined to give free passes to certain Mopar models.

      Our Stratus barely yielded a first look from any of the judges until one of our teammates pointed out that somehow we had found a unicorn stick shift model.

      • 0 avatar
        Bayley

        Even then, I’m sure Phil still didn’t care.

        With our ’92 K-car-cousin (P-body / Sundance) the only argument we have with Phil is if we should be in C or B class.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          I showed Phil how to suss out 2.4L swap cars a few years ago.

          I regret that now.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “With our ’92 K-car-cousin (P-body / Sundance) the only argument we have with Phil is if we should be in C or B class.”

          You mean there was even a discussion about that? Damn.

          “I showed Phil how to suss out 2.4L swap cars a few years ago.”

          That they did after looking under our hood. The “big block” swap. Luckily we documented how our donor cars actually produced a profit for our team once scrapped.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Especially don’t admit it’s a turbo when, before the race, it wasn’t even generating any boost. Did you ever get that sorted?

  • avatar

    It is possible to get a 944 Turbo through the BS inspection with zero penalty laps, but the only path to this happy result involves bringing (at least quasi-)believable documentation of parts bought and sold. This car came with no documentation whatsoever.

    Maybe a year ago I’d have said, “Oh hell, all 944s blow up, who cares?” when I saw this car. But now two different 944s have managed to pull off LeMons overall wins, so I am forced to take the breed seriously.

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