The 24 Hours of LeMons begins its Midwest season this weekend at Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway, a favorite track among the region’s racers, with the “Cure for Gingervitis.” This race marks the 12th visit to the track since 2010 and the mix of technical corners and lake-effect rain (and occasionally snow) makes for an interesting LeMons weekend every year. With 80 cars registered (unofficial entry list here), it also is the second-biggest race LeMons race at the Michigan circuit. Naturally, rain is forecast along with mid-50s temperatures and the ever-present wind off nearby Lake Michigan should keep teams properly uncomfortable while wrenching on their busted hoopties. Read on for the preview.
Rarely has a Midwestern race been so chock-full of effluence and, like the Ark that Noah probably cast into the depths of hell, the hoopties come in pairs: two Opel GTs (#13 Monkey Paw Racing and #16 Arrested Adolescent Racing Program), two 1980s Hyundais (#301 m00b00stin’s Scoupe, above, and #616 Terribly Awesome Racing’s Excel), and two British hardtops (#40 BRE’s MGB-GT and #180 DumpsterFire Racing’s Triumph GT6).
Here’e some other hot garbage to go with the DumpsterFire:
#93 Team Anarchy (Dodge Shadow) – Rotten bananas
#8 Shift Heads (Pontiac Grand Prix) – Regurgitated Faygo
#102 Ultra Depends Racing (Chevy Monte Carlo) – Diapers full of differential oil
#666 Bad Decisions Racing (Pontiac Trans Sport) – Flooded carpet
#668 2 Wycked/F.A.C.E. Racing (Porsche 924 with Chevy 4.3L V6) – 300 bent nails
#822 Mity Metro (Geo Metro Convertible, above)) – Toenail clippings
Few teams will ever polish a turd this well: Team Sheen eventually catapulted their Dodge Mirada’s Chrysler 318 V8 into Lake Michigan (metaphorically), replacing it with a fuel-injected Magnum 5.9-Liter V8. They’ve added a close-ratio truck transmission that should make it haul in a straight line.
“Late model” cars are starting to creep into LeMons, and by “late model,” I mean “2000 and later.” I forget that cars built in 2000 are awfully close to two decades old at this point. Anyway, there are three Focuses (Foci?), an Aveo, and an RSX. The only other RSXs I’ve seen in LeMons have all been packed full of cheat (above) so it should be interesting to see how this one rolls out.
Being that Gingerman is in Michigan, the number of entries from the Big Three is substantial. Few exemplify this better than Product Design, who have slowly been building up the craziness of their Saturn SL2 build. Every time it turns up, they’ve added a new “aerodynamic” element, which is in quotes because the car doesn’t really go fast enough that the wing and dive planes are the difference between winning and losing. But hey, ‘so’ly for decoration.
Team Priority Fail won Class B at Autobahn Country Club back in 2015 with their mid-engine converted Volkswagen Golf. They’ve since chopped off the back to make a Volkswagen Race Truck. I shot a bunch of photos of this car last summer that I’ve not yet used, so here’s one of those.
How about two photos of Priority Fail Golf? Sure.
So who’s going to win this thing? Maybe a previous LeMons race winner, like the #750 Flying Pigs Mustang, #113 Wisconsin Crap Racing BMW E36, #181 Team Sheen Acura Integra, or #155 I Can’t Drive 155 Alfa Romeo GTV6 (above). They’re all good teams capable of winning if they stay out of trouble. The #86 Little Lebowski Urban Achievers Volvo 245 is a tough old battlewagon that could be in the mix, too, especially if the weather poor as is usually the case at Gingerman in April.
I also like the aforementioned #16 Opel GT (above), which is built like a Ferrari Breadvan and powered by a Ford Ranger engine. #17 Bad Lucky Touch have indeed been unlucky, but they’ve typically led races for a few laps here and there. The #500 Hawaii Five Uh-Oh Mustang is run by a group from Aisin who design transmissions for a living as some kind of bizarre-o team-building or extracurricular activity from their jobs.
The repeat-winning Save the Ta-Tas Chevy Camaro is undergoing an extensive redesign at the moment and they’re not on the entry list. I never thought I’d type this, but the #3 Hell Kitty Racing Honda Prelude run by a bunch of former Car and Driver writers might actually have a chance to win this race. Ah, who are we kidding? They’ll find some incredible way to blow it even if they have a 15-lap lead with 30 minutes remaining.
|Friday Tech Inspection (EST)||1 p.m. to 5 p.m.|
|Saturday Session (EST)||10 a.m. to 7 p.m.|
|Sunday Session (EST)||Noon(ish) to 5:30 p.m.|
|LeMons Lap Record (Long configuration)||1:47.585 – Save the Ta-Tas (Chevy Camaro)|
|Overall Winners||2010 (1) – Clueless Racing (Honda CRX)|
|2010 (2) – Corsa Nostra (Alfa Romeo GTV6)|
|2011 (1) – Dai Mondai II (Toyota MR2)|
|2011 (2) – Skid Marks Racing (Dodge Neon)|
|2012 – Bucksnort Racing (BMW E30)|
|2013 – Bucksnort Racing (BMW E30)|
|2014 (1) – Speedycop & the Gang of Outlaws (Honda Civic)|
|2014 (2) – United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)|
|2015 – Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang)|
|2016 (1) – Wisconsin Crap Racing (BMW E36)|
|2016 (2) – LemonAid Racing (BMW E30)|
|Class B Winners||2010 (1) – Clueless Racing (Honda CRX)|
|2010 (2) – Team Reynolds Style (Toyota Celica)|
|2011 (1) – Chicken and Waffles (Volkswagen Quantum Synchro)|
|2011 (2) – Little Lebowski Urban Achievers (Volvo 245)|
|2012 – The Blue Shells (Honda Accord)|
|2013 – Team Gutty (Honda CRX)|
|2014 (1) – Charnal House (Geo MetSHO)|
|2014 (2) – LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro, BMW swap)|
|2015 – Arrested Adolescent Racing Program (Opel GT)|
|2016 (1) – All Most Racing (Volkswagen Jetta)|
|2016 (2) – Escort Service (Ford Escort)|
|Class C Winners||2010 (1) – The Tools (Merkur XR4Ti)|
|2010 (2) – The 98ers (Oldsmobile 98)|
|2011 (1) – Le Shadow (Dodge Shadow)|
|2011 (2) – Por Sport Racing (Ford Mustang)|
|2012 – Speedycop & the Gang of Outlaws (Suzuki X-90)|
|2013 – Red Shirt Racing (Nissan Pulsar NX)|
|2014 (1) – Loose Lugs Racing (Chevy S10)|
|2014 (2) – Schnitzelwagen (Volkswagen Squareback Wagon)|
|2015 – Dover Bros. Racing (MGB-GT)|
|2016 (1) – Team Sheen (Dodge Mirada)|
|2016 (2) – BRE (MGB-GT)|
|Index of Effluency Winners||2010 (1) – Chicken and Waffles (Volkswagen Quantum Synchro)|
|2010 (2) – Scuderia Arruginito (Alfa Romeo Berlina)|
|2011 (1) – Pickup Trash (Chevy S10)|
|2011 (2) – Zero Budget Racing (Chevy Chevette Diesel)|
|2012 – LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro)|
|2013 – Zero Budget Racing (Isuzu I-Mark Diesel)|
|2014 (1) – Flux Decapacitators (Ford Tempo)|
|2014 (2) – Team Sheen (Dodge Mirada)|
|2015 – Bad Decisions Racing (Pontiac Trans Sport)|
|2016 (1) – Mity Metro (Geo Metro)|
|2016 (2) – Bad Decisions Racing (1948 Plymouth)|
[Photos: Eric Rood]