I’m parked next to what I think is a peanut field alongside U.S. Route 82 in rural Georgia, cutting through the state along slightly more entertaining roads than the wonderful but dull interstate highway system. I stopped here to put together this short update before the day is up, because this weekend, Barber Motorsports Park plays host for the third time to the 24 Hours of LeMons—a series I don’t have to explain to you Hooniversitarianites (or whatever it is we call ourselves).
I’ll be posting live updates from the event throughout the weekend, so check in regularly with this post or follow Hooniverse on Facebook to see the ridiculous cars that show up. Pictured above is the incredible Smokey And The Bandit-themed Geo Metro campaigned by the Knox Vegas Lowballers. It’s got a mid-mounted V6 from a Ford SVT Contour. That’s not this year’s livery, nor is it last year’s, but Knox Vegas has always impressed with their presentation—albeit not always with their car’s reliability. Stay tuned throughout the weekend to see what they and other LeMons teams bring.
You know you’re at a LeMons race when this kind of thing is worn at the rookie driver’s meeting.
Cheddar sausages? Yes, we’ll cook them in bacon grease.
The E30 with the slant-six engine is here. Something seems to be wrong with it, but the owner(s) weren’t around for us to ask.
Team Fairlylame’s Ford Fairland is slow and beautiful and has the kind of patina that hot rod guys would kill for. It’s so slow that the drivers talk about the gears as being “loud” and “quiet” rather than “2” and “3”.
The team with the Chevy Astros race van had, as you might expect, roll cage concerns due to the driver sitting all the way at the front. They also brought a beautiful, dark blue, vintage Land Cruiser.
Just in case you forgot, this is actually a Ford Contour.
The Chevy Astro team is made up mostly of students from Berry College. They’re all exhausted, but the roll cage is finally starting to take shape and they sound confident they’ll be on track Sunday.
Their very tired welder simply laid in the floor of the van waiting for the next bars to be ready to weld in.
The 2 Broke 2 Care team’s BMW E30 six-cylinder engine chose today to bust a couple of cam followers and apparently seize the camshaft. They, along with a Minion-themed Mazda Protege, are spending Saturday night swapping engines.
This “$500 Car My Ass” entry didn’t win favor with the judges, but the owners claim they bought this car at auction and sold off the fenders and other body panels to get the value down. It’s a six-cylinder BMW Z3 with a manual transmission, and though the car is quick, it’s not the fastest thing on track. The team ran a clean race today. One of its drivers is the owner of the Lancia Scorpion pictured further up in this post.
The crest of this hill, on the final section of the track before the front straight, was the site of today’s major race incident.
The track was red-flagged for something like an hour so the safety and support crews could clear the track.
The Nash had been running poorly. It’s not entirely clear what happened, but the driver, Jalopnik writer Stef Schrader, appears to have been trying to pull the car off the track right before it stalled at the crest of the hill.
She probably should have tried to pull off the track before the hill, but it was too late. The Grassroots Motorsports Mazda Miata, which was racing hard with the Burning Ham Racing Porsche 944, plowed into the back of the Nash, squeezed under it and flipped the Nash over like a spatula turning an egg.
The Miata then got sandwiched by the Porsche 944. Everyone in the wreck is OK, though they’ll all be very sore.
Drivers from both teams claim neither the white “slow vehicle ahead” or the yellow caution flag were flying, but race officials say otherwise. Who’s exactly at fault will certainly be hotly debated. The Nash may not race again, putting an early stop to the Nash It Forward effort, an attempt to mimic the miserable failure of the K It Forward car-trading scheme. That may be for the best, since this incident is the second time in two races that the Nash has stopped on track with the rubber side not touching the ground.
When all this went down, I was exploring the motorcycle museum that’s on track. You can see the back half of the track from the museum.
George Barber, the track’s owner, actually built a car to race in the series: a first-generation Nissan 200SX. It is liveried like Captain America, the motorcycle from Easy Rider, which you can see at the museum. The bike is displayed prominently in the museum.
The museum is chock full of really cool and clever motorcycles, and some race cars as well. But once I saw this pair of tiny, folding motorcycles, which I quickly came to refer to as “lunchbox bikes,” nothing else could hold my interest anymore. These are by far the coolest things at this museum. Perhaps even the coolest things ever.
Eric Rood is one of the judges at this race. He’s also an airplane nerd.
So, of course, not only did he spot this WWII-era Navy plane, he was able to identify it too. He’s pretty sure it was a North American T6 Texan.
Bork bork bork.
The Team Fairlylame Ford Fairlane has been running cleanly and very well. It’s nondescript despite its age, and looks great on track.
[Photos copyright 2016 Hooniverse | Alan Cesar]