A week or two (or three) after every 24 Hours Of LeMons race, we put up a big, browser-crashing collection of all the photos we were able to scrape up of all the cars. Yes, it's Über Gallery time once again! Because the Jalopnik guys on the scene were pretty busy beating their Celica into shape, we don't have quite as many photographs as we've had from past races (such as New England '08, South '08, SF '08, Thunderhill '07, and SF '07). However, many teams responded to our call for photos and accounts, so there's some good insider stuff to be seen here.
Photo credits and thanks to The Mustache Race Team, Micah Jones, Nick Pon, Joey Church, Drew Colwell, Ben Ellinger, Eric Driscoll, Typhoon5000, Chris Campbell, Alec Peeples, Art Hare, David Spinnett, Chris Droste, David Houser, and Billy Elliot.
We had to shorten some of the accounts below, in order to keep our server hamsters from flying off their little wheels due to excessive speed; turns out the hamsters count all the words and can't handle too many of them!
#00: Ded Aardvarks, Chevrolet Cavalier
#01: Caintmakit Racing, Acura Integra
#2: Sofa King, Toyota Supra
#03: Mustache Race, Audi 4000
#3: eLEMONators, Chevrolet Monte Carlo
#4: Team First Blood, GMC Sonoma
#05: Team Chaucer, BMW 5 Series
#5: Junk Player Special, VW Jetta
#08: Crown Royal Victoria, Ford Crown Victoria
#8: Squeeze My Lemon Part Deux, Honda Civic
#9: B-Team, Ford Thunderbird
#11: Mustang Is Looking Fast, Ford Mustang
#12: The 98ers, Oldsmobile 98I am Eric, team captain of the 2008 LeMons Detroit(ish) team "The 98ers". Our car is a bone-stock 1992 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. The car plowed worse than we ever imagined, which led to us taking the high road in the corners during the Toledo race. Amazingly, nothing on the car broke (we did get a flat tire during the race, but that doesn't count!). In a straight line, the Olds seemed to keep up with the Crown Vics, Plymouth Fury's, etc. However, our undoing was the darn corners. Any more than 48 mph around the main track's south corner resulted in copious amounts of tire howl, accompanied by large chunks of over-heated rubber from the front right tire banging against the floor pans. Even though the car proved to be much slower that we had anticipated, we were there to race, so we kept the car out on the track for as much of the race as possible. We are very proud of our 18th place finish, and we were happy to hear all of the other teams tell us that we were very smooth, consistent drivers. We all had a blast running the car around the track, and were stunned when we received the "Index of Effluency" award.
#13: Charleston Kennel Club Team Akim, Dodge Daytona
#14: Pink Ribbon Riders, Chevrolet Lumina
#15: Volvolution, Ford Escort
#17: The Latch-Key Kids, Dodge NeonThings started off great, but a bit wet. Ray ran the first stint. Made it through the first hour with no issue. Car was strong and handling really well. Just trying to keep it clean and pass when I could. Then out of nowhere the track pusher car pushes a dead car right into traffic ahead of the car in front of me. So, he slammed on his brakes, and so did I, but I still ended up rear ending him. Luckily, because of our reinforcements to the crossmember, only the hood really got hurt. The rest of the stint went really, really well. As the line got dry, I was able to pass any car I wanted with relative ease. I handed actually handed the car off at around 3 hours in first place. Unfortunately, I handed it off when we got black flagged for leaking gas. Turns out the exhaust was heating the tank and overpressurizing it. We put on an elbow and sent our second driver out. First hour of his stint went well, but then the car randomly died. Came to the pits, we cycled the kill switch and it came back on. Sent him back out and the same thing happened again. Did that one more time, and then we kept him in for awhile trying to figure things out. We swapped some relays around and sent him out again to at least get in laps while we thought about it. Never happened again. Go figure. He came in after about three hours. He said the car had been way down on power for the last 20 minutes or so and had shut off (lost radio communication as well). The cooling system was empty and the car wouldn't restart. We've been through this before so I immediately swapped crank sensors. Sure enough, things had gotten so hot that it had been machined by the trigger (causing the car to die). Finished the swap, filled the car up, changed drivers and sent it back out. Things were once again going well and our third driving was driving excellently. He passed at will for the first 2 hours but was obviously down on power for the last part of his stint. He came in at about 3 hours. We topped the car off with water and sent out our 4th driver. He was running really well, and was able to pass at will. However, ominously, the shifter started popping out of 3rd at the exit of the hairpin turn. About halfway through his stint, the car no longer shifts out of third. We suspect the bushings or clips on the shifter cables but find nothing. So, we sent him back out with just third, which didn't really slow him down. He also fought a drop in power at the end of his stint, but brought the car home in "good" shape after 3 hours. We swapped a rad cap and filled the cooling system and sent out our 4th driver. Only having 3rd gear, he was clearly the fastest car on the track. We brought him in once or twice during yellows to top off the water. The car was going for less and less time before getting hot enough to pull power. He brought it in after 3 hours, and we swapped a tire and changed radiators. We also zip tied the shifter in the third gear position to try to stop it from popping out at the hairpin. 5th driver goes out, and things are pretty good for awhile. Then, he comes in with no 3rd gear. It's gone. Trans levers go into position, but it's not there. By some magic though, 2nd and fifth are back. We top off the car with water (now needing it about every 40 minutes) and send him out. He is a bit slower, but not nearly as much as you'd guess. He comes in after about 2.5 hours, and I go back in. 2nd and fifth is not really that bad. Car is still a rocket in second and has enough power (and excellent handling) to pass people with ease in both long left handers. Team tells me I'm the fastest car on the track. I LOL. So, I drive for about 2.5 hours, stopping in to fill the car with water every 40 or so. The car goes from revving like mad to 6300+ to redlining at 4000. When topped off, it would run well again for 20 laps or so before dropping power again. With 4.5 hours to go, we are near fifth position, and we send our next driver out (who was our 5th driver originally). He heroically drives the car around on no sleep in hot conditions with two gears and stopping every 30 minutes for water. With about 2 hours to we put in our last driver. We are in 5th in front of the fury by a handful of laps. He does a great job of driving the car as fast as it could go and working his way through traffic. We did two water stops during his first hour. We find out we are 5 laps ahead of the Fury going into the last hour. He manages to move the lead up to 7 during the first 30 of the last hour before the car started dropping power. During the last 30 minutes he did an excellent job of babying the car enough so that the Fury only made up two laps because we didn't have to stop for water. So, I guess that wasn't short. I'm sure I'm leaving out a ton of stuff, but that's it in a nutshell. All in all a great event as usual. The facility and course were awesome. A bit scary in the rain, but luckily I'm the only one who had to deal with that. Now, we have to get the car repaired for Houston. Anybody got a cheap transmission for sale? Maybe a motor too?
#18: Rubber Biscuit Racing, Chevrolet CapriceThe car seemed to have plenty of torgue in that 30mph - 50mph range. Out team, The 98ers, figured that, if we keep the car out on the track, its reliability will offset some of its slowness. The Olds was reliable, but we were not prepared for just how fast others could get their cars around the track ... I guess handling is kinda' important in racing, huh? Hey, we had a blast, and that's what counts. We are not racers (I've stated this before), not independently (or collectively) wealthy, and don't have a lot of extra vacation time from our day jobs. So, we can only really do one LeMons race a year (we'd love to do more). So we won't see you @ Houston or T-Hill. But, we will most likely see you at next year's Toledo / Flat Rock event. One of our team members works for PNC Bank. The Bank sponsored our team this year... which means that the bank knows even less about racing than we do! Eric Driscoll - Team Captain
#19: Gimme A Box, Volvo 740
#20: Steve McQueen Lives
#22: Everybody Poops, Mazda RX-7
#27: RTT Tube Jockeys, Volkswagen Jetta
#28: Team Non Sequitur, Acura Integra
#30: Track Addict, Toyota Supra
#31: Team Polska Kielbasa, Nissan 300ZX
#36: Theta Tau Racing, Ford Probe
#37: Mary Kay Racing, Toyota Celica
#38: Team Sucker Punch, Ford Escort
#41: Under Development, Oldsmobile Achieva
#42: Peg-Leg Rum Runners From Outer Space, Ford Crown VictoriaHi, I'm Chris, the captain of #42 Peg-Leg Rum Runners from Outer Space! Our car was purchased from a scrap lot for $413 after a tree fell on it. My father and brother who also drove along with us in South Carolina, set to work making preparations for Toledo. Arriving in Toledo, the weather was dreary, and rainfall turned our pit area into a lake. We had planned for rain, had fresh wipers and the tires for it. Tech passed without even a murmer of suspicion, as it should be, and we made our way to the track. The car circulating, with myself at the helm, confidence was high. Unfortunately, this was the start of problems for us. After the green flag was flown, I was promptly black flagged because of transponder issues. We pried a larger hole in the trunk to verify the unit could have line of sight to the ground. Back out, driving harder to make up lost time, and AGAIN I was pulled in! Not having anymore of this, the transponder was removed and re-mounted on the outside of the trunk basin. We were stuck back into 32nd, I put the car to the test, hammering it through the 2" of standing water in the narrow track segments, making up positions. I was getting spray up through the A/C ducts but pressed on. I turned over the helm to my brother. Within 30minutes, he had returned, exclaiming that he was worn out. This was suprising considering he had no problem doing almost 2hours in the South Carolina Heat. On to driver 3, friend of my dad's with no racing experience whatsoever...however the fact that he was an ex-cop seemed to be paying off. He was setting a fast pace, and taking my earlier comments to heart by staying out of trouble. By this point we had made up much lost ground, slotting into 21st position. Rotation 4 went to another friend, this time with Autocrossing experience. Everything was going fantastic through the rest of our first rotation, and by the time I made it back into the car, the track was even dry. Much to the dismay of competitors with much smaller cars, I went even faster, barnstorming past some teams in the top 5. By the time I had come in, I was beat, the car needed nothing but gas. I handed the car off and took it easy in the pits, getting a visit from one of the drivers from the #5 Junk Players Special. Kudos was to be had, and I felt bad I was too tired to be more receptive, but thank you! Sometime into hour 12, we had made it to 11th position, and still eating up laps flawlessly...or so I thought. My father out on the track, I heard a crackle over the radio. The car was disabled! a hit? the fuel switch reset? The car was pushed in. My brother hopped into the trunk and reset the switch. the car fired right up, but that wasnt the end. Loud scraping was heard beneath the car. Worried, we pulled it into the pit and yanked the rear tires. The inside rims were scraped, and the car had struck the inside wall of the narrow segment. Apparently the wall contact had sheared off the main mounting point for the Watts Linkage. My father had a headache from having his helmet knocked against the roll cage, but nothing serious. We set to work about trying to remove or reposition the linkage, ultimately removing it. Slapped on stock-sized tires and debated chancing it and putting it back out there. a quick spin around the pits made a nightmare realized. the entire body of the car would sway up to 5" with the lightest touch, and contact the tires to the fender wells each time. Unwilling to put the team's safety in question, we shut it down, still in the top 20. All was not lost though. the team had fun, and we sold our rear brakes to an ailing #08 Crown Royal Victoria team, which otherwise would have had to wait over 2 hours for a parts store to open, losing valuable time in the pits. Special Thanks to everyone over at FinalGear.com for pitching in where they could.
#44: Boondock Saints: Mazda ProtegeWe were in car #44 the flat black Mazda Protege. Had a blast, and we knew we had a quick car but had a bunch of preventable instances that cost us a top 5 spot. For one, we had an early transponder issue. We were still passing everyone but a few on the track but when the lap counter came in we had only 20 something laps compared to just over a hundred for the top teams which was nowhere near right. We then did a bit of fixing which was ripping off a suspect piece of plastic under the car which might have interfered. Then we got black flagged for noise. Then there were some other black flags for penalties. And all during this, about half way through the race our clutch started to go from overheating. We came in and discussed it for a bit but said, "Go out! If it breaks, it breaks!" And we did. But after finding a good feathering technique allowed us to ramp up our speed and not slip/overheat the clutch, allowed us to stay out. In the end, we got 15th and the car lasted for the whole 24 hours. Doing some calculations on lost time to fixing the car (about an hour) and black flags (90 minutes), plus our transponder issue (probably lost about 80 laps but were only able to argue back 30), we could have easily been in top 5. But as this was our first event, we learned a lot. We'll be back (probably with the same car) for next year, but this time well prepared.
#50: Bringin' Home The Bacon, Mazda RX-7
#55: Rusty Bucket List Racing Team, Pontiac Grand Prix
#60: Pleasant Valley Racers/Team PVR, Ford Crown Victoria
#63: Team Cavette, Chevrolet CavalierAfter surviving the pre-race downpour and the stringent tech inspection, we got out on the track. About 20 laps in, the car stalled. Assume PCM is fried. The PCM arrives around 8:00pm, but replacing it doesn't fix anything - no spark/fuel. We buy the $100 crank sensor. The old one is rusted in, the guts come out and leave housing in place. Go to Meijer's to get an easy-out kit. We finally get sensor housing out, replace sensor, car starts right up. Get back on track at 12:04am. Ten laps later car is low on power, overheated, and making strange top-end noises. Coolant low. Engine doesn't crank. We remove valve cover, find the rockers are loose. The engine won't bar over (seized). We drain oil and see water and metal flakes. Call it a day around 1am with only ~25 laps completed. We think we have a good chassis, but obviously need some engine work before next year!
#66: Charlie Foxtrot Racing: BMW 325i
#67: Size Matters Chrysler, Plymouth Fury
#69: Team Von Gayrod, Pontiac Fiero
#72: Emergency Motor Sports, Dodge Neon
#77: Caped Crusaders, BMW
#82: Cougar Bait, Saab 9000Howdy. This is team Cougar Bait. About 45 laps into the race, we were tapped in the rear, spun and hit a wall at around 50+mph (video here). They red flagged the course and towed us off, to a standing ovation. We then welded chains to the bumper, hooked it up to an Astro van and started yanking the frame straight, with the aid of big f’ing hammers and grinders. We lost the intercooler, put in a back up radiator and oil cooler and over the course of 4.5 hours managed to get the car back on track. We managed to pull up to 21st position and then fell back to 23rd due to blowing a head gasket and losing a piston. But we still crossed the finish line. We ended up netting Most Heroic Fix, even though Jalopnik thought they had scored it—but it’s all well and good because our hood was recycled and welded onto your roof so you could pass tech. ;-)
#85: Seven Lap Fiero, Pontiac Fiero
#86: Brawn's Backups, Honda Accord
#87: Dai Mondai II, Toyota Corolla FX16
#89: Dai Mondai I, Toyota CelicaOur team was #24: Dai Mondai, Toyota Celica and #9: Dai Mondai, Toyota Corolla FX16. I'm the guy who wandered past your car and offered the hub. Our story started in a small town... no wait, that wasn't us! We all work for Toyota in Erlanger Kentucky, and our team of rust buckets was formed in partnership with the University of Cincinnati's "E3" program (Emerging Ethnic Engineers). Our cars are true beaters, and thanks to "First Blood", the Celica got beat hard. An old spare Corolla radiator, some pipe, hose, wire, miles of duct tape, a really big hammer, and lots of sweat got us back on track. We also got yanked off several times for noise and had the opportunity to make a new exhaust system twice. We also had the brakes explosively fail in the hairpin - spitting out the pads onto the track (not sure how I didn't crash then). Despite all that, we fixed, we finished, and the car was seriously fast - It was the fastest car on track after we wrecked, but supposedly somebody nicked that in the last hour. Our consolation prize was a hammer blow to the peoples curse, but we too voted them peoples choice.
#90: Focke Ewe, Volkswagen Golf
#91: Saabs Gone Wild- Round n Round, Saab 900
#93: Team Castor Civic-ensis, Honda CivicWe ran a 1993 Honda Civic CX Hatchback with (what we think was) a D16A6 that the previous owner had installed (and a few suspension goodies that the previous owner had installed), giving us about a 50% hp boost over the stock american CX hatchback (but only a few % more than the stock canadian one). We started out doing half-hour shifts so that everyone would get to drive the car in the race. Despite all 6 drivers being in agreement that you don't win an endurance race by driving it like an autocross, our 1st, 2nd (me), and 3rd drivers all drove like aggressive idiots, resulting in a black flag (and a Max Mosely punishment) for me and a few scary spins for #3. Somehow we managed to avoid stuffing it, and our much calmer (and less experienced) 4th, 5th, and 6th drivers all had nice, clean, safe shifts that resulted in us being around 22nd. Now having made sure everyone got a chance to drive, we shifted to being more competition oriented and doing hour shifts. Unfortunately, it turns out that our tiny stock brake rotors didn't dissipate heat quickly, and combined with the substantially faster (and dryer) track conditions after 7pm resulted in drivers 1, 2 and 3 all attempting hour-long shifts, but coming in after 30 minutes and needing the brakes bled after boiling the fluid. After the third time this happened, we took a break to hunt for food and ducting, installed the ducting, and managed 50, 30, and 60 minute shifts for the next three drivers. After our second black flag for hitting a cone around 2am, we switched drivers. Then the other civic on the track spun right in front of us in a section of track with concrete on both sides and no room for escape. We hit him pretty hard on his rear-left wheel and on our left side, bending his rear axle (they were unable to repair it, :-( ), snapping our control arm, and doing as-of-yet undiagnosed damage to our engine. We were out, but we were fairly proud of how we did for a team with zero car-to-car racing experience.
#95: SharT Attack, BMW E30
#98: The Knight Riders, Ford Mustang
#99: Team Deluxe/Jalopnik: Toyota Celica