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.
Good day from the 24 Hours of LeMons race at Gingerman Raceway in pleasantly mild Southwest Michigan. I’ll be keeping you updated on the race as it unfolds over 14-1/2 hours and the next two day. I’ll also be working in the Penalty Box, doling out penalties to miscreant drivers and doing my best to shepherd wayward LeMoneers.
Want to know who’s around? Read the race preview here or see the entry list with classes 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 will be a long slog, beginning at 10 a.m. EST and ending at 7:30 p.m. EST. Time stamps are all EST and new updates will appear at the bottom of the story.
8:22 a.m. We’re shaking the cold off and getting prepared for the driver’s meeting at 9 a.m. I never really offered a Class B preview for this race, so consider this an abbreviated list of Class B heavyweights (and expect close battles in the middle class): The Wonderment Consortium B (Ford Escort), We Are Not Really From Iran (Ford Festiva), Arrested Adolescents Racing Program (Opel GT), Canadian Border Patrol (Toyota Cressida with 1UZ-FE swap), Apocalyptic Racing (Toyota Celica), Unified Partnership of Pentastar Racers (Plymouth Sundance Duster), and Priority Fail (Volkswagen Golf). I’ll be interested to see how this class plays out and will let you know how these cars fare.
9:30 a.m. Bad Lucky Touch’s Mazda RX-7 perhaps have an unfortunately name. The team put their car under a tarp last night that unfortunately rendered it virtually invisible in the dark paddock last night. Another LeMons racer on a bicycle failed to see the car and clobbered it on the bike, sliding into the windshield and cracking. The bike rider is mostly OK, a few face bruises aside, and he’s currently installing replacement dirt-track mesh to get the car to the green flag in 30 minutes.
9:48 a.m. Drivers have climbed into their hoopties as LeMons Assistant Perpetrator Nick Pon gives the suggestion to “Attempt to start your engines.” Green flag at 10:00 a.m.
9:55 a.m. Cars are circulating on track before the green flag now, although favorites Little Lebowski Urban Achievers are struggling to get their Volvo 240 wagon to start.
10:05 a.m. The race start is currently delayed for a stopped car, maybe one of the two Ford Taurus SHOs.
10:11 a.m. Green flag at last. The #888 Wonderment Consortium Civic lost a wheel on the track. The #2 Sweaty Fannies Mustang is first to the flag and the #413 Wreckto Gizmo V8-swapped Merkur leads the first lap.
10:16 a.m. Bad Lucky Touch had their replacement windscreen (circle-track mesh) in time for the green flag and they actually are P1. The Canadian Border Patrol’s 1UZ-FE V8 sounds amazing, by the way.
10:31 a.m. The #33 We Are Not Really From Iran BP-swapped Ford Festiva is the first Penalty Box visitor with a spin. The driver remarked that he was just thinking how great the tires felt before the car spun.
10:40 a.m. It’s absurdly early, but this writer’s former LeMons car currently leads Class B by five seconds. Just 14 more hours left.
10:52 a.m. The aforementioned Festiva is now in the pits with overheating issues. The #688 SHOuth of the Border Ford Taurus SHO leads early with the Wonderment Consortium Escort leading B and the Flux Decapacitators Ford Tempo leading Class C by four seconds from the Loose Lugs Chevy S-10. All Fords early.
11:25 a.m. Attrition is already catching up to a few teams. The Bad Lucky Touch RX-7 lost a wheel and then skidded around on the brake rotor for long enough to flatten one side of it. Meanwhile, one-third of Class C, the Afunzalo Racing Fiat, are out repairing a strut.
11:26 a.m. The race-leading SHO gets black flagged for a loose hood, possibly with the pins coming out, though the amount of duct tape on the hood was a bit disconcerting. The United Ducktape Racing Porsche 944 inherits the lead.
11:40 a.m. Tough scene in the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers paddock space with the team’s Volvo 240 unable to start with an ignition problem. It likely would have been one of the contenders in this race. The team seem flustered and have pulled out the Volvo repair manual.
12:00 p.m. After two hours and before most teams make their first fuel stops, here are the standings:
1. #45 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)
2. #100 Swiss Racing (BMW E30)
3. #181 Team Sheen (Acura Integra)
4. #8 The Wonderment Consortium B (Ford Escort), Class B
5. #262 Vermont Bert One (Volvo 262C)
6. #510 Full Tilt Boogie (Honda Civic)
7. #83 Canadian Border Patrol (Toyota Cressida), Class B
8. #797 White Trash Racing (Dodge Neon)
9. #41 Arrest Adolescent Racing Program (Opel GT), Class B
10. #87 Dai Mondai I (Toyota Corolla FX16)
In Class C, the Loose Lugs Chevy S-10 leads the Tempo by 11 laps.
12:40 A long overdue update while I strolled through the paddock full of busted cars. Two Hondas are currently replacing head gaskets, the Priority Fail Volkswagen is replacing a wheel hub, and at least three teams have yet to turn a single lap while they sort timing and ignition issues.
12:57 p.m. Two Hondas, the #888 Wonderment Consortium and the #93 Ho Ho Ho Racing, are both mid-head gasket swap.
1:03 p.m. Five cars remain on the lead lap with Team NonSequitur’s veteran Integra leading. The team let this writer take a whack at their much-dented car, which debuted at the first Midwestern LeMons race at Flat Rock Speedway, as a badge of honor. Speedycop’s Civic sits P2 as the only car having yet to make a fuel stop, I believe. Point-0-Eight’s Ford Escort leads Class B from the Charnal House MetSHo and Apocalyptic Racing’s Toyota Celica.
1:23 p.m. Two teams in the Top 5 drop in the rankings after black flags. The #181 Team Sheen, it being their second offense, were forced to mount a shrill car alarm on the roof to remind them to drive better. The #688 SHOuth of the Border Taurus dropped well back, the team possibly making a driver change after reporting to the penalty box. The #87 Dai Mondai Toyota Corolla FX16 came in on the tow strap, dropping it from the Top 10.
1:30 p.m. The Little Lebowski Urban Achievers report that their engine control module seems to be the offender in why their car wouldn’t start. They are now frantically looking all over Southwest Michigan for a replacement.
1:55 p.m. The top cars in class B, the Charnal House MetSHO and the Point-O-Eight Ford Escort both pit for fuel. The Apocalyptic Racing Celica now leads B but should be pitting for fuel. Overall Swiss Racing’s E30 is P1 while three teams are quietly chasing them down: Vermont Bert One (Volvo 262C), Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang), and Full Tilt Boogie (Honda Civic).
2:30 p.m. What this race lacks in size of field, it more than makes up for with depth. P1 through P6 are separated by just four laps, which is about seven minutes overall. The Class B leader Apocalyptic Racing Celica ran out of fuel on the uphill pitlane, requiring a tow after a short delay. Here are the standings after 4-1/2 hours:
1. #100 Swiss Racing (BMW E30)
2. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang)
3. #262 Vermont Bert One (Volvo 262C)
4. #510 Full Tilt Boogie (Honda Civic)
5. #32 Speedycop and the Gang of Outlaws (Honda Civic)
6. #45 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)
7. #28 TeamNonSequitur (Acura Integra)
8. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30)
9. #3 Charnal House (Geo Metro, SHO swap), Class B Leader
10. #85 Apocalyptic Racing (Toyota Celica), Class B P2
The Canadian Border Patrol Toyota Cressida is P3, a lap behind Apocalyptic. Loose Lugs’ S-10 still leads Class C by six laps.
1:58 p.m. The top four from the last update now all have made a fuel stop. Swiss Racing exit
on the tail end of the same lap down a lap to the now-race-leading Speedycop Civic.
2:07 p.m. Miscreants with their second black flag of the day get to cool off for a moment by coloring a nice Easter picture. Here are two of the examples.
3:18 p.m. Just to prove he’s not screwing around, Speedycop just set the car’s fastest lap. Swiss Racing’s driver meanwhile spun on his outlap, dropping them to P5. So Speedycop leads by two laps from Flying Pigs with Full Tilt Boogie, Vermont Bert-One, and Swiss Racing all a lap behind that, respectively.
3:40 p.m. Tons of great racing here at Gingerman with the Top 20 cars separated by a total of 21 laps. The weather looks beautiful and the cars, if not beautiful or actually fast, at least look quick from the starter’s stand.
4:10 p.m. Loose Lugs’ 2.8-liter V6-powered S-10 leads Class C by 13 laps now and has climbed up to P13 overall. The B-class-leading Charnal House MetSHO will see some of their four-lap lead evaporate as the car is stuck in the sandtrap at Turn 11.
4:15 p.m. Speedycop pits from the lead after about three hours in the car. Flying Pigs Racing inherits the lead with Swiss Racing a minute behind and Speedycop’s Civic just 15 seconds behind that. The top three are separated by just 75 seconds.
4:26 p.m. This is what an off in the sandtrap looks like. The MetSHO’s off and visit to the Penalty Box drops them to P3 in class, one lap behind the P2 Canadian Border Patrol Cressida who are also a lap behind the Apocalyptic Racing Celica. In a strange twist, the Class C-leading Loose Lugs Racing S-10 is a lap ahead of the Class B leader.
4:45 p.m. Swiss Racing has recovered from their black flag and are running down the race-leading Flying Pigs Mustang to the tune of about three seconds per lap. The gap has shrunk to about less than 10 seconds. Both cars will need one more fuel stop before the 7:30 p.m. checkered flag. Speedycop’s Civic, just about to go a lap down, is slower currently but might make it to the checkered flag without a fuel stop, since they’ve been running three-hour stints. Bert-One is still in the picture, about 90 seconds behind Speedycop but needing one more stop, too.
4:51 p.m. Full-course caution for the #93 Ho Ho Ho Racing stalled out on the track and requiring a flatbed truck. The team fixed the car’s head gasket enough to get it back out, but the car appears to have other ideas. The full-course yellow could make a huge difference for Speedycop, buying a few minutes of fuel conservation to get them to the end. When the FCY lifts, Flyings Pigs Racing and Swiss Racing will be separated by just a few car lengths at the front of the field.
4:56 p.m. This could be a lengthy yellow. The Ho Ho Ho Civic appears to have blown up spectacularly, dumping oil all over Turn 5.
5:02 p.m. The Flying Pigs Racing Mustang pits and Swiss Racing takes the lead, giving more than a lap on Speedycop’s Civic in P2. Canadian Border Patrol now leads Class B over Apocalypse Racing and Charnal House with all three now on the same lap.
5:17 p.m. The Ho Ho Ho Racing Civic burned a valve earlier today, rather than the head gasket I previously mentioned. When they rebuilt it, they failed, which is why the oil dumped out everywhere.
5:24 p.m. Class B and Class C leaders are both in for driver changes. Canadian Border Patrol enter the pits just as the Apocalyptic Racing Celica leaves the pits P3 in class. Charnal House now leads in B. Loose Lugs pits from Class C lead with five laps in hand over the Tempo. Swiss Racing have added a lap to their lead over Speedycop’s Civic.
5:38 p.m. On the way to their final fuel stop from the class lead, the Charnal House MetSHO gets a costly pit speeding penalty, which will cost them at least 10 minutes. Swiss Racing appear to be setting for their final driver change from the overall lead. Loose Lugs S-10 remains in the pits from its last stop to mend the car, giving the Class C lead to Flux Decapacitators with 110 minutes of racing left today.
5:55 p.m. Swiss Racing make their final stop, dropping them to P3 overall. Speedycop leads by a lap over Flying Pigs Racing. Swiss Racing are the fastest car in the Top 10, so expect them to make up some ground before today’s checkered flag. They currently sit a lap behind the P2 Flying Pigs. Canadian Border Patrol are in again for the second time in 30 minutes, giving the Class B lead to Apocalyptic Racing, who should be good to the finish. Charnal House are just 41 seconds behind in Class B.
5:05 p.m. Apparently, nobody wants to win Class B. Canadian Border Patrol remains in the pits and Charnal House’s pit speeding cost them a good chunk of time. Apocalyptic Racing inherited the class win until their rear suspension had a minor failure. They’ll be re-welding it, but it looks bad enough that it might cost them a shot at B. Charnal House now leads with Wonderment Consortium’s Ford Escort effectively P2 in class, now eight laps behind.
5:18 p.m. Canadian Border Patrol suffered a power steering pump failure, which splashed PS fluid all over their engine bay.
5:40 p.m. Just under an hour left in today’s race session. Speedycop’s driver is turning consistent laps while Flying Pigs hotshoe is in, pedaling the car hard a lap down. Swiss Racing hasn’t made up much ground but remains P3. Here are the standings at the moment:
1. #32 Speedycop (Honda Civic)
2. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang)
3. #100 Swiss Racing (BMW E30)
4. #45 United Ducktape Racing (Porsche 944)
5. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid Racing (E30)
6. #262 Vermont Bert-One (Volvo 262C)
7. #889 CMR (Ford Taurus SHO)
8. #13 Hell Kitty Racing (Honda Prelude)
9. #181 Team Sheen (Acura Integra)
10. #797 White Trash Racing (Dodge Neon)
1. #3 Charnal House (Geo MetSHO)
2. #8 Wonderment Consortium (Ford Escort)
3. #108 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort)
4. #85 Apocalyptic Racing (Toyota Celica)
5. #124 Product Design (Saturn SL2)
1. #10 Flux Decapacitators (Ford Tempo)
2. #4 Loose Lugs (Chevy S-10)
3. #919 Afunzalo Racing (Fiat X1/9)
7:05 p.m. As of about five minutes ago, the Flying Pigs Racing was the only one of the top three teams that had run a completely clean race. That car is currently buried to its axles in the sandtrip after a high-speed off at Turn 11, which will effectively end their ability to compete for the win. It’s a shame, as they had closed to the gap to about 75 seconds behind Speedycop, who now lead by two laps from Swiss Racing.
7:22 p.m. The Flying Pigs driver said he stepped on the brake pedal for the fastest brake zone on the track and the pedal went straight to the floor, burying the car in the sand. It came in on the tow strap and the team found a broken rotor at fault.
7:28 p.m. With about 10 minutes left in the race, the Charnal House MetSHO came into the pits with a funny-looking rear toe. They haven’t been out since, allowing the Wonderment Consortium Escort to narrow the gap. Depending on when they throw the checkered flag, the Escort could overtake the MetSHO.
7:30 p.m. Checkered flag on Day One at Gingerman and the final moments were full of excitement. The MetSHO’s rear wheel bearing disintegrated late in the race, leaving about two inches of play in the hub assembly. Wonderment Consortium’s Escort will start the day down one lap in Class B. At the front, Swiss Racing nearly lapped Speedycop at the start/finish line to get their final lap back, but Speedycop will start a lap up tomorrow. Here are the standings at the end of the day:
1. #32 Speedycop & The Gang of Outlaws (Honda Civic) – 295 Laps
2. #100 Swiss Racing (BMW E30) – 294 Laps
3. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (E30) – 292 Laps
4. #262 Vermont Bert-One (Volvo 262C) – 290 Laps
5. #45 United Duck Tape Racing (Porsche 944) – 290 Laps
6. #181 Team Sheen (Acura Integra) – 285 Laps
7. #889 CMR (Ford Taurus SHO) – 284 Laps
8. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang) – 281 Laps
9. #13 Hell Kitty Racing (Honda Prelude) – 279 Laps
10. #16 Burnt Rubber Soul Racing (Ford Probe) – 273 Laps
1. #3 Charnal House (Geo MetSHO) – 268 Laps
2. #8 Wonderment Consortium B (Ford Escort) – 267 Laps
3. #124 Product Design (Saturn SL2) – 252 Laps
4. #108 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort) – 248 Laps
5. #67 WCR (Audi Quattro) – 241 Laps
1. #10 Flux Decapacitators (Ford Tempo) – 262 Laps
2. #4 Loose Lugs Racing (Chevy S-10) – 257 Laps
3. #919 Afunazalo Racing (Fiat X1/9) – 80 Laps
Check back tomorrow for more.
All photos copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood