You know you’re having an interesting weekend when you see a 924 turning laps and almost wish you’d brought your finicky front-engined Porsche. Then we’d have four cars to break! Here’s the quick rundown of how my LeMons experience has been a tad more authentic than usual.
Scotch Rocket’s car looks fantastic. MY PEOPLE!
I’m with the 3 Pedal Mafia this weekend, and we’ve brought a Honda Civic and a boat-bodied Chevy S10, all done up to be in the musical from The Producers. (It’s supposed to be a flop. That’s the point.) We’ve gotten a lot of bursts of laughter out of folks who have seen the Mel Brooks classic, and a lot of confused, concerned looks from those who haven’t. Both reactions are hilariously great.
Currently, two of our cars are turning laps again, and the other one is in the process of gunning for LeMons’ “Heroic Fix” award. We have a Honda Civic and a boat-bodied Chevy S10, and there’s a 3800 V6-swapped Triumph TR7 that’s on the team, but sort of its own entity within the team.
We’re at New Jersey Motorsports Park, which is shockingly nice. The paddock may be sandy and there’s a lot of flies, but I think flies are a given when race cars are around for some reason. There’s an open wifi signal everywhere, too. Not even Circuit of the Americas does that. All I had to do to look up one of the parts we busted yesterday was whip out the laptop and search.
Anyway, how has the race been going? I think I’m in contention for the Most Number of Puffalumps Here award (which doesn’t exist), but that’s about it.
The boat broke almost immediately. It first came in with a broken throttle cable. The spring wasn’t returning correctly and the cable itself was old and frayed. The cable for a Chevy S10 has been long discontinued, so we couldn’t find that piece in a parts store, and many junkyards cut the throttle cable when they pluck out a good engine. Oops.
So, we kludged together a replacement cable of our own making and sent the boat back on its way. Shortly after that, Das Boot came back in with a rod knocking.
We found a replacement engine from a junkyard and set about taking apart the boat.
Sorry for Party Racing nearby was in the same predicament and did the same thing. Theirs was fixed last night, but it’s already back in the pits. Oops.
The TR7 guys had a bit of a structural failure with their car. Some metal seams in the body split apart, which they took off-track by mid-day and fixed overnight.
The Civic, then, has been our most reliable car. We had zero drama in the first few stints. Everyone came back happy and amused that “haha, we’re driving a pastel Civic tank.”
It’s a twitchier car than I’m used to, but whatever. Keep it smooth. I had a lot more fun after I started to develop a little space madness behind the wheel. (You’ll never have my ice cream bar, Stimpy. It is MINE!)
The Millville Airshow started up when I was in the car, too, with cool acrobatic planes going in the background. I love racing at places that have great scenery. I’m not sure why, because I’m always supposed to be focused on what’s on track, but when your turn-in marks are mountains or airports, that’s so much cooler than “look for where this rusty catch fence ends.”
(You are required to skip when you get out of a race car.)
One of the last stints of the day had the Civic’s final curse, though: it came in with a dead fuel pump. We tried using one from a BMW 528e since it had a similar design to the Honda’s Bosch pump, but nope. That one didn’t work. The Civic was done for the day. We finally found the spare pump that was brought for the Honda somewhere and fixed it overnight.
Is this what I get for mocking Craigslist ads that claim they only need a fuel pump? Haha.
Today, the TR7 and Honda Civic are both back out, although the first driver in the Civic got a black flag for passing under yellow and heard a mystery clunk from the rear that we couldn’t figure out. Meh. We sent him back out to turn laps.
As for the boat, it’s happening. It’s been in the infamous “service position” all night, and it’s so close to being done. (I hope.)
We just got the engine to turn over, so all we’ve got to do is nail down some of the gremlins we’re noticing and it’ll be back out on the track.
What will happen in the rest of the race? We’re not sure yet. Hopefully we’ll drive a boat while some planes and cars go around the track at the same time.
Either way, I have to say that this has been a more genuinely LeMony experience than my usual “this 944 ran the whole race and it rules.”
Photo credits: Matt Rhoads (musical Puffalumps), Mental Ward (skipping)
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