On paper, a super-lightweight Lotus with a genuine ’68 Corvette 350 and Muncie 4-speed ought to eat up a road course; just go onto any online forum full of self-proclaimed car experts and they’ll tell you exactly that. Reality, on the other hand… well, reality doesn’t always live up to the expectations of internet car experts.
The checkered flag waved, the sun went down, the traditional delivery of lost bumpers and mufflers got dumped off the safety truck in front of LeMons HQ, and the Buttonwillow paddock went into the usual LeMons Saturday Night party mode. With the top five teams all grouped into a three-lap spread, there’ll be a long night of beer-fueled bench racing ahead.
Here we are in Buttonwillow, California, for the fifth annual Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons. The judges of the LeMons Supreme Court (that is, me and one of the guys you should blame for the Passat getting Car of the Year) eyeballed 130 or so race machines in various states of cheatosity today, and it’s quite a crop this time around.
You have no idea of the agony I went through, narrowing down the Legends of LeMons Unununium Medal winners down to just four recipients. The Ununquadium medal goes to those outstanding 24 Hours of LeMons teams that have attained near-Unununium Legend of LeMons status… and they’ll get their Uuq-287 medals just as soon as we find a way to deal with the 2.6-second half-life.
Readers of On The Road gush about the incredible asphalt journeys taken by the book’s protagonists, but they did most of their driving in a brand-new Hudson and a brand-new Cadillac limousine. Here is a truly heroic road trip: a solo San Diego-to-Miami drive in a basket-case Citroën ID19 that ran for the first time in 25 years when it clanked a single lap around the Sears Point paddock and then headed onto the track.
We didn’t have quite the 180 cars that signed up for the Arse Freeze-a-Palooza 24 Hours of LeMons at Buttonwillow Raceway Park— only 162 were ready when the green flag waved this morning— but it was still the biggest field in LeMons history. With the first session done and the racers in a frenzied all-night wrenchathon to get their heaps together by Sunday morning, we can tell you that the always-contending POSRacing F’ed-Up Express E30 sits in the lead… barely.
With nearly 180 entries, the 2010 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza will be the biggest 24 Hours of LeMons race in history, and it also promises to have the highest concentration of never-belonged-on-a-road-course awesome machinery ever gathered in one location. At this moment, I’m wearing the LeMons Supreme Court judicial robes and busting cheaters, which means that I’m finally allowed to share some of these fine machines with you and not ruin their grand entrances at the track.