People's Curse Winner Packs Up, Flees LeMons Justice!

Illustration for article titled Peoples Curse Winner Packs Up, Flees LeMons Justice!

It's a 24 Hours Of LeMons first: the People's Curse winner, upon hearing the bad news, loaded the race car into the trailer and roared out of town!

Illustration for article titled Peoples Curse Winner Packs Up, Flees LeMons Justice!

The Black Widow Mazda Miata got hit with 25 laps during the BS Inspection, but the team's drivers are so good and raced so cleanly that they'd dug themselves out of that hole and were sitting in fourth place as of this morning. Unfortunately for them, their car was the overwhelming Curse vote-getter... which might not be so bad, except that this team has already had Miatas crushed twice in past races. As the Bum Steers at the Yeehaw It's Texas 2008 race, they got de-Miatafied. A few months later, at the Gator-O-Rama '09, they'd renamed their replacement car and installed a pig snout, but that wasn't enough to ward off the Curse once again.

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Illustration for article titled Peoples Curse Winner Packs Up, Flees LeMons Justice!

So spread the word, LeMons fans: if you have a team full of great drivers, you don't need to run a cheater Miata at LeMons. If you must do so, accept the People's Curse like you got a pair!

Happily, the blood-crazed crowd still gets to watch a car get crushed. One of the BABE Rally teams has volunteered its Rabbit for the ritual. We're hanging a dead man here- the Rabbit has a completely garbooned transmission after last night's BABE-versus-LeMons drag racing- but we'll still enjoy the spectacle.

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DISCUSSION

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Murilee Martin

First of all, there was no promise that the Miata would be spared from the Curse if that's how the voting went... and the Black Widow Miata got a bigger chunk of the votes than any People's Curse ballot in LeMons history: over 70%.

I don't think this team was cheating in truly outrageous fashion, though the "parts lying around the shop" fiscal gray area definitely warrants much greater scrutiny when your team runs a Miata. What they did was make a few serious blunders:

1. In each of the last two Houston races, they've run a Miata with a half-assed theme and a humorless team attitude, and they've had their car crushed. The folks at the New Orleans LeMons race were pretty much the same folks at the Houston races. How to avoid the same fate (which I don't think they really deserved at Houston, but that's another tirade) at LeMons #3? Why, run another Miata with a half-assed theme and a humorless attitude! We get that they're all about the Miatas, but their driving skills are certainly good enough to be strong contenders in some other car that's not permanently affixed to a glass slide under the LeMons Microscope-O-Suspicion™.

2. At each race, the team has remained anonymous and aloof; meanwhile, everybody else is swapping jambalaya and tools and generally making a big social event of the whole deal. This was particularly obvious at No Problem Raceway, where the atmosphere at night was quite, uh, informal. You're way less likely to get Curse votes if the typical voter sees you as "that dude who loaned me the floor jack" rather than "those goddamn Spec Miata guys."

3. Getting Cursed three times and taking it with a sense of humor would set up a team as total LeMons Legends (winning the Curse is sort of a left-handed honor, or at least we think it should be taken that way). After that, just show up with a Mazda 929 as Team People's Curse and enjoy hero status.

Let's look at this from another perspective. Team Cajun Jihad is made up entirely of hardcore drag racers. I'm talking 10-second Detroit muscle here, and that means a bunch of guys who can make a hideous-looking "Ford 5.0" or "Chevy 305" put out 450 horsepower, drop it in a POS Mustang or Camaro, upgrade the brakes, do some basic suspension cheats, and take it to LeMons. Instead of going with the dead-serious/go-with-what-you-know approach, however, they figured out what the spirit of LeMons is really all about and picked up a hooptied-out automatic-trans Mitsubishi Mirage, then put together an awesomely ridiculous theme and ran with it.