Disclaimer: Eric Rood will be getting paid to sit on the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court for this race, punishing drivers for their misdeeds and generally doing his best to maintain order on the racetrack.
Greetings from the Penalty Box at Road America in chilly Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. I, your faithful 24 Hours of LeMons correspondent, will be braving the elements to the best of my ability to bring you live updates from the bench of the LeMons Supreme Court, where I’ll be dispensing justice to miscreant drivers and doing my best to maintain some semblance of understanding in the neck-deep murk that is a 24 Hours of LeMons race.
Want to know who’s around? Read the race preview here, see some more photos here, and get the entry list here. Go to Specialty Timing’s website to find live timing here or you can get it from the Race Monitor app for your smartphone or device. Want to participate or request some coverage? Leave a comment and I’ll oblige as I’m able. Today’s race session begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. (Central Standard Time; all time stamps below will be CST, too) with the awards ceremony at 5:00 p.m.
Thanks for reading and check often for updates frequently. The most recent updates will be at the bottom of the story.
8:30 a.m. Morning temperatures are hovering around freezing and teams have already been running their motors, probably at least in part to hold their hands over the exhaust tip to warm up. That said, the sun is shining on the fall foliage and there is plenty of good racing to be had today. Because the class races are all very tight, the top three cars in each class will start at the front of the field. The first three cars overall run on the same lap and the first three cars in Class B are separated by a single lap. Class C is spread out over a couple laps. The starting grid (in order): Team Fiery Death (Toyota Celica), Back to the Past (Nissan 300ZX), Landshark (Acura Integra), Team Sucker Punch (Chevy Camaro), We Are Not Really From Iran (Ford Festiva), Point-0-Eight (Ford Escort), Futility Motorsports (Mercury Bobcat), Morrow’s Racing (AMC Gremlin), and Majicbus/K-It-Forward (Plymouth Reliant). All others will line up hither and thither behind those front nine.
8:48 a.m. The grid has migrated to the hot pit to line up and now the previously thrumming motors blat to life to circulate under caution flags for a pace lap. Fuel strategy could be a major factor with the top three cars all on the lead lap. All other things equal, the race-leading Team Fiery Death Celica is a decent blend of speed and efficiency with Back to the Past’s 300ZX matching them pretty closely in both regards. Landshark’ Integra probably doesn’t have the pace to keep up, but it should be able to run much longer on a full tank. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
9:05 a.m. The start has been delayed by the Oregon Fail Honda Civic Conestoga Wagon blowing its engine and oiling down the track on the pace laps. Still under caution while it gets cleaned up.
9:10 a.m. Green flag! Back to the Past takes P1 early and leads the first lap in anger.
9:15 a.m. Conestoga wagons carry a surprising amount of oil. The D15 in Oregon Fail treated the Carousel like a spittoon with a connecting rod flung off into the Wisconsin wilderness.
9:30 a.m. Clean racing continues this morning. It took more than 20 minutes of racing before the first black flag for a spin.
9:40 a.m. Today’s race is sponsored by the Exxon Valdez, as a second severe track oiling has put the race under full-course caution. The P2 Celica from Team Fiery Death missed the memo and blasted past some cars under yellow right in front of the starter and timing & scoring tower. The at-fault car was the #92 Plymouth Duster from Pentastar, who replaced their blown-up Mitsubishi V6 with a junkyard motor of unknown quality.
9:48 a.m. The race is still under full-course caution while the oil gets soaked up. The Born From Jest’s Saab 900 Turbo looked majestic this morning with a thick coating of frost. The class standings remain the same as they were to start the day, except at the very front, where Back From the Past leads by just a few car lengths under caution.
9:55 a.m. I checked in with the Le Mopar Simca 1204 team this morning. Unsurprisingly, everything on that tiny French car broke, including fourth gear, a rocker arm, every wire, and probably just about everything else. But the team brings delicious food, so at least one of the very-French things about it is a positive.
10:00 a.m. An hour into the race, green flag racing has just resumed. Back to the Past leads from Team Fiery Death by about 17 seconds. We Are Not Really From Iran have closed the Class B gap to Team Sucker Punch from a full lap to just 58 seconds. And in Class C, Futility Motorsports holds a six-lap advantage over Morrow’s Racing’s AMC Gremlin.
10:21 a.m. After an hour of pent-up aggression under caution, the Red Mist has overtaken many drivers and there have been a rash of spins and contact incidents.
10:33 a.m. We Are Not Really From Iran pass Team Sucker Punch for the Class B lead after the Sucker Punch Camaro runs a very slow 3:51 lap. The Iran Festiva has stretched the lead to more than 20 seconds after starting the day down a lap.
11:02 a.m. Two hours into the race, the podium positions remain Back to the Past, Team Fiery Death, and Landshark. We Are Not Really From Iran made a driver change from P1 in Class B, dropping to P3 in class behind Point-0-Eight and Team Sucker Punch. The Class C positions remain the same: Futility Motorsports over Morrow’s Racing with the K-Car in third.
11:14 a.m. The race-leading Back to the Past Z collected a spinning and tank-slapping Saturn. Their damage is superficial and they’ve returned to the track and are now P1, with Team Fiery Death making their first fuel stop.
11:50 a.m. Panzer Racing’s E30 broke a valve yesterday, which then rattled around for a good while. The team installed their spare engine…after the team captain sent his wife to fetch it…from Michigan. Ten hours round-trip and their E30 is back on the track.
12:05 p.m. Landshark made their first fuel stop after three hours, which briefly put them in the lead. After each of the top three have made driver changes, Team Fiery Death leads Landshark and Back to the Past. We Are Not Really From Iran have a lap in hand over Point-0-Eight’s Escort and Team Sucker Punch’s Camaro. Class C is still the same: Futilty’s Bobcat, Morrow’s Gremlin, and the K-Car.
12:20 p.m. A repeat offender with a boring, plain-red Porsche 924S got the unenviable task of replicating a technical drawing from a Chevy LUV manual that was given to me by Grassroots Motorsports Magazine’s Alan Cesar. They did a serviceable job on the drawing.
12:55 p.m. A little bit farther down the standings, CMR’s Ford Taurush SHO is running strong and has quietly managed to get to P6. Lost in the Dark, having traveled from Dallas for the race, are P7. The Mark’s Harder LemonAid E30 and the Sideways to Victory Ford Focus are P4 and P5, respectively.
1:01 p.m. Time for an hourly update with Team Fiery Death leading overall. Back to the Past just overtook Landshark for P2 and the non-Iranian Festiva leads Class B over Team Sucker Punch and Point-0-Eight. Futility Motorsports still leads in C over Morrow’s and the Majicbus K-Car.
1:17 p.m. Simca drivers never surrender, but their motors sometimes do.
1:30 p.m. The Save the Ta-Tas Camaro has replaced its clutch and just in the last few minutes become the first car to run a sub-3:00 lap, with a 2:56.687. The next-fastest car is the #30 Panzer Racing BMW E30.
1:42 p.m. The Majicbus K-Car ran a 3:14.059 lap, which is a pretty solid time. LeMons hotshoe Anton Lovett just got out of the car, having pedaled it to some pretty swant times in the 3:10s.
2:12 p.m. Things have shaken up a bit with driver changes. Team Fiery Death leads again, but the Mark’s Harder LemonAid E30 has crept up the standings to P2, 22 seconds ahead of the Back to the Past 300ZX. Landshark dropped to P4. Team Sucker Punch leads Class B by a lap over We Are Not Really From Iran. Futility Motorsports leads Class C still. The K-Car broke a halfshaft but was fixed in 20 minutes and back out. Meanwhile, the Simca is putting in some mismatched pistons to attempt a return to the track.
2:28 p.m. The trophies are out on the table and two hours remain. Team Fiery Death pits, possibly for the final time, and the LemonAid E30 inherits the lead.
2:40 p.m. This is the part of the race where fuel strategy plays out:
- The race-leading E30 from LemonAid is making its final driver stop now.
- Team Fiery Death, Back to the Past, and Landshark have all made their final stops previously and should be good to the finish.
- Team Sucker Punch, leading Class B, should have one more stop to the finish. A lap behind, the Festiva should also owe one stop and will put their hotshoe, who ran down the Camaro to start today’s session, in for the finish.
- Futility Motorsports has one stop to go leading Class C by six laps from Morrow’s Racing, who will need at least one more stop to get to the end.
3:04 p.m. Back to the Past leads Team Fiery Death! by just 14 seconds with the drivers running very similar lap times. The LemonAid E30 is running much faster and about 90 seconds behind Fiery Death! We Are Not Really From Festiva lead Sucker Punch by about 27 seconds.
3:36 p.m. Team Fiery Death makes a quick fuel stop, which drops them to P3. With 50 minutes left in the race, Back to the Past leads LemonAid’s E30 by 47 seconds and is running it down to the tune of 10 seconds per lap. Team Sucker Punch lead Class B but will possibly need another fuel stop. We are not Really From Iran trail by a lap and change but won’t need another stop. Futility Motorsports still leads Class B by five laps.
3:51 p.m. LemonAid takes the lead from Back to the Past with just 40 minutes remaining. Four cars on the lead lap. We Are Not Really From Iran trail by 2:40 from Team Sucker Punch. This is shaping up to be a great finish.
4:08 p.m. Just a few laps left to go. Four cars on the lead lap with LemonAid’s E30 leading by 8.5 seconds over Back to the Past. The E30 looks like it’s pulled back on lap times to save fuel. I wonder if they’re marginal on fuel. The Festiva has just reclaimed the lead in Class B after Team Sucker Punch made a final splash for fuel. Heading for a good finish.
4:15 p.m. The Class B lead is a mere 6 seconds with 15 minutes to go.
4:18 p.m. Back to the Past had to make a late fuel stop and drop to P3. Landshark sits P2, two minutes behind the race leading E30, which has now slowed some to conserve the car.
4:25 p.m. With LemonAid looking firmly in control of the lead, the real race is in Class B where the Festiva and Camaro drivers keep whittling away at their best lap times in a brawl. The Festiva leads by just 10 seconds. In Class A, Landshark leads by about the same distance over P3 Back to the Past, also turning its best laps of the weekend. Five minutes remain.
4:27 p.m. White flag is out and I must go and shake hands with the finishers.
4:46 p.m. What a finish. The LemonAid E30 had to run the entire course in fifth gear to not run out of fuel. Landshark nearly caught them, but fell just 2.6 seconds apart in what most be the closest LeMons finish of all time. We Are Not Really From Iran won Class B by a handful of seconds from Team Sucker Punch’s Camaro. Futility Motorsports win Class C in their Mercury Bobcat.
4:50 p.m. Rundown of the awards:
Class A: #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30)Class B: #33 We Are Not Really From Iran (Ford Festiva)
Class C: #863 Futility Motorsports (Mercury Bobcat)
Heroic Fix: #151 Le Mopar (Simca 1204)
I Got Screwed: #23 New York Rock Exchange (Toyota Supra)
Ford Escort Cup Award: Point-0-Eight (Ford Escort GT)
You Have Died of Dysentery and Thrown a Rod Award: Oregon Fail (Honda Civic)
Judges Choice: Team Fiery Death (Toyota Celica)
Organizers Choice: Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing (Ford EXP)
Index of Effluency: Majicbus/K-It-Forward (Plymouth Reliant)