You wanted 24 Hours of LeMons previews, all three of our readers, and you’re going to get another one today. This weekend, the series heads to Inde Motorsports Ranch south of Tucson for Arizona D-Bags. The new facility may reside in almost-Mexico, but this year’s race, the second ever there, suggests a growing field of Arizona-based LeMons racers. Let’s take a look at the upcoming Arizona D-Bags.
As a new track, Inde attracted 54 entries last year. Most of those came from out of state, so it remained to be seen until recently how well-attended the Inde race would be in 2017. The unofficial entry list (Get it here!) features 36 cars. Without a well-established team base in Arizona until last year, an entry list two-thirds the size of last year’s is a pretty fair accomplishment.
Not only is it an accomplishment, the 36 cars registered for this race also include some fantastic Index of Effluency contenders, like the period-correct first-year Hyundai Excel that Mike “Spank” Spangler (above) brought last year. Chief among this year’s IOE contenders should be the #701 Blue Swede Volvo PV544. We know one LeMons team is building another PV544, but they’ve been preempted if this one turns up.
Also, a trio of 1977 cars should put some proper Malaise Era to the desert. The veteran #827 Le Citron ‘77 Pontiac Le Mans is perhaps underappreciated among the LeMons crowd. Even though it has a healthy-sounding V8 in it, it is far from fast and got the Malaise Era ugly-stick treatment. They’ll be joined by #999 Counts Bloody Mess, a Cadillac Seville, and #360 Team Lowball, an AMC Hornet Sportabout Wagon.
Those big American heaps will be joined by two Spank-prepared cars, the Yugo GV and his stalwart Austin America. The Yugo might have been sold to a new bunch of racers/rubes. While they’re not in IOE territory, we are looking forward to a good race between the #69 Bad Hombres BMW E36 and the #231 Make Racing Great Again fourth-gen Chevy Camaro (of course). We’re also curious and a little frightened about what the team name for car #356—It Won’t Get Better Unless You Pick At It—refers to.
This should be an interesting race for a number of reasons, not least of which is there are no clear favorites for the race. The Model T GT, Eyesore Racing, Rotary Rooter, and the Faustest Team were all at Inde last year, but none of them have returned this year. #38 It’s All About the Waste, a BMW E36, finished third at last year’s race and could be in the hunt. The #108 Zoom Zoom Kaboom Mazda Miata also finished in the Top 10 last year and has been a reasonably successful car at California races.
The fastest lap last year belonged to the #47 Just2Crazy first-generation Mazda RX-7. I think that will likely be the same car as #47 I Mazdasche You a Question and could be a factor.
I’m going to go out on a limb, however, to suggest that a second-generation Chevy Camaro might be the odds-on favorite here. Team Black Bird, #695, have a number of Top 10 finishes in the highly competitive California races. It will be interesting to see how that translates to a smaller field.
As for a couple of darkhorses, the #140 OMG Racing Mercedes S500 could follow Mercedes relatively good track record in LeMons. Or its overcomplicated engineering might be its downfall. Really an either/or there. Similarly, #333 Occupy Pit Lane’s GM Ecotec-swapped Mazda Miata makes good power and should be competitive, but it turns out that putting an Ecotec into a Miata comes with some issues.
Arizona D-Bags 2017
|Friday Tech Inspection (PST)||Noon to 4 p.m.|
|Saturday Session (PST)||9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.|
|Sunday Session (PST)||9 a.m. to 3 p.m.|
|LeMons Lap Record||1:11.8 – Just2Crazy (Mazda RX-7)|
|Overall Winners||2016 – Turrible Ts and the Pinto Bean Bandits (1927 Ford Model T GT)|
|Class B Winners||2016 – Oktoberfest Racing (BMW 2002)|
|Class C Winners||2016 – Stick Figure Racing (Ford Anglia)|
|Index of Effluency Winners||2016 – Aigo!! Eojjeoji?!? Aka Spank (Hyundai Excel)|