24 Hours of LeMons: 'Doing Time in Joliet' [LIVEBLOG]

MetSHO_Lede [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.] Happy Saturday from Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois! We’re here for the 24 Hours of LeMons’ Doing Time in Joliet, a 14-hour crapcan endurance race featuring everything from BMW 3 Series to a Volkswagen Squareback wagon. As has been the case at the previous two installments of LeMons live coverage on Hooniverse, this writer will spend the weekend on the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court alongside automotive writer Murilee Martin and LeMons racer/master builder Marc Labranche. You can find Hooniverse’s preview of the race here and keep a browser tab open for the unofficial entry list, to which I may or may not have added classes by the time this is posted. 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 14-hour race starts at 10 a.m. CST and slogs on into the dark, ending at midnight CST. At 5 p.m. CST, the track will switch over from the 2.1-mile South Course to the 3.56-mile Full Course. Keep checking back throughout the day for updates, standings, photos, and more. Or come back after the race is over and relive the glories, failures, and general frenzy that is LeMons. Time stamps are all CST and new updates will appear at the bottom of the story. Phil_Murilee 8:30 a.m. Good morning from Autobahn Country Club. The race today starts at 10:00 a.m. with the drivers’ meeting in a few short minutes at 9:00 a.m. This race is the 100th LeMons weekend for Judge Phil (aka Murilee Martin, above). He couldn’t look happier to be busting cheaters and laughing at hopelessly underpowered British engines. Take a look at his recap from BS Inspection yesterday if you get a chance. LemonAid] As mentioned in the race preview, LemonAid Racing have spend thousands of man hours shoving a BMW M52 straight-six engine into their used-to-be-stock-three-cylinder Geo Metro. Their prior testing had included about 100 feet of driving under its own power and running on test day has shown it to have decent speed, but the team spent most of the day chasing electrical gremlins probably related to an engine computer looking for things that don’t exist on a Geo Metro. They’ll run the Metro in Class B while their former race-winning E30 runs in Class A. HOSS_302 The HOSS 302 squad made their stripes from red duct tape and their alleged $75 engine looks particularly likely to explode, but they have their priorities in the right order: Lambo doors > Everything. Maxillac_Shifter Pabst Blue Racing have been tinkering with the mid-engine Cadillac Northstar-powered Nissan Maxima for a while. It’s never run quite right and to remedy the bevy of transmission issues that have plagued the car, the PBR crew have decided they will force the four-speed automatic to shift into the selected gears using toggle switches. You know, like a Chrysler push-button transmission made out of garbage. Mercedes_C230 Sussbag Crew showed up at the Road America race and proceeded to blow organizers away with their police-auction Mercedes C230, powered by a junkyard Ford Pinto engine the team just happened to have lying around. They blew that motor and instead of replacing it without something else they had around, they of course swapped in another Pinto engine. For good measure, they hacked away the inner fender lining for no apparent reason and then built their own header. This is how you LeMons. 2Wycked3 2 Wycked’s GM 4.3-liter V6-swapped Porsche 924 was already one of my favorite cars for a great many reasons, but a great Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme really sealed the deal. Perfectly executed, this one. Splatos The Launcha Splatos (a Fiat X1/9 with a 3.0-liter Alfa Romeo V6 in it) is making its first return to LeMons after a big wreck at last fall’s Road America race. It got a fresh coat of paint and a new chin spoiler, courtesy of an Alfa Romeo GTV6 that was just lying around the team’s shop. The Splatos is one of six former race-winning cars in a very deep field. The other five: Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30), Subliminal Racing (E30), Save the Ta-Tas (Chevy Camaro), Dai Mondai II (Toyota MR2), and Back to the Past (Nissan 300ZX). Speedycop_Accordion In Class B, Speedycop & His Gang of Outlaws (above on left) are hoping their Honda Accord(ion) can win the class. It’s the only trophy Speedycop has yet to win. They will have their work cut out for them against some very good Class B cars: Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort GT), Team Sucker Punch (Chevy Camaro), Canadian Border Patrol (Toyota Cressida), Product Design (Saturn SL2), and the Pentastar Plymouth Duster. Pocket_Deuces_2 Pocket_Deuces Test day gave the opportunity for many teams to run Autobahn’s Full Course, which few had done previously. It also gave some Pocket Deuces the chance to discover before the race that their Ford Fiesta’s 1600cc Kent engine had some kind of major head gasket issue. I do need to make a correction, also, regarding this team: I stated in the race preview that this team was comprised of members of the Air Force. It is not; the Pocket Deuces crew are active Army personnel stationed in Missouri. I regret and am sorry for that oversight. Apocalyptic_Engine Some teams came across more than just head gasket trouble. During the final practice hour, Apocalyptic Racing’s Toyota Celica broke a valve, which rattled around, carving up the piston and sending debris into all of the cylinders. It sheared off the #4 spark plug’s end and absolutely ruined the head. As dark settled in, the team were already hard at work swapping in their backup engine.   11:00 a.m. We’re up and running. You can read about the prerace and first hour of racing over on my old website, The Rusty Hub. After an hour, Supra Troopers leads in their turbocharged Supra over the BMW  E28 from One Percent Racing. College Brats’ Chevy Cavalier leads in Class B, but just about anything can happen in the next 13 hours.   Broughbed_Stencil 11:15 a.m. The bribed stencil is pretty terrific this time around, as Judge Phil’s homage to the Brougham. Looks quite nice on the Born From Jest Saab.   11:30 a.m. One Percent Racing’s E28 now leads with the College Brats’ Class B Cavalier in second place overall. There are still about eight cars on the lead lap, most of them the usual suspects: Blue Shells, Subliminal, Team Shocker, Mark’s Harder LemonAid, Back to the Past, Landshark, and Team Sheen.   12:30 p.m. Sorry for lack of updates. The Penalty Box got busy for a bit with spinners. Back to the Past now leads in their 300ZX, which hasn’t stopped for fuel yet. In Class B, Product Design’s Saturn SL2 leads Point-O-Eight’s Ford Escort by just 15 seconds. Der Schnitzelwagen’s VW Squareback leads Class C by 1:45 from the Afunzalo Fiat X1/9. A few pictures to come soon.   1:24 p.m. Three BMWs and a pair of Integras in the top five currently. Meanwhile, the twice-rolled Wonderment Consortium Honda Civic was deemed safe enough to return to the track and is circulating again. Accordion 1:40 p.m. Speedycop is just about to overtake the Point-O-Eight Ford Escort for the Class B lead. One Percent Racing’s E28 currently runs P2 behind the LemonAid E30. It’s still too early to really tell how much bearing this will have with more than 10 hours remaining in the race, but Speedycop has looked fast in the Accordion.   2:29 p.m. As I strolled through the paddock for most of the last hour, I felt drops of rain here and there but no real rain. And as I type this, the rain begins falling. LemonAid’s E30 leads by about a minute from Back to the Past with Landshark and Supra Troopers and Team sheen within a lap or two. Canadian Border Patrol’s Cressida now leads Class B from Speedycop and Point-O-Eight by a lap. And in Class C, the Schnitzelwagen still leads by three laps from Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing Ford EXP. 4:25 p.m. I’ve still been tied up a bit so far in this race entertaining guests and punishing failures. With the track configuration switchover from the South Course to the Full Course at 5:15, I should have more time to catch up. LemonAid leads Flying Pigs Mustang and Back to the Past’s Nissan. Speedycop leads Class B but Point-O-Eight and Canadian Border Patrol are on the same lap. Der Schnitzelwagen has pulled out a substantial Class C lead in an eerie echo of last year’s race. LemonAid_Metro_Brakeline 4:52 p.m. Time to catch up. Lots of cars breaking, so we’ll talk about all of the things completely breaking for a bit. Team LemonAid’s BMW-powered Geo Metro went straight off at a corner when the pedal went to the floor. Pro tip: If you’re going to spend thousands of hours building a chopped-up Frankencar, don’t buy no-name eBay brake lines. The rubber boot probably mostly serves to hide the poor-to-non-existant crimping and/or reinforcement there. Maxima_Northstar Maxima_Northstar_2 5:12 p.m.  The track switchover is underway, but the Pabst Blue Racing Nissan Maxima’s mid-engined Cadillac Northstar holed its block before they could even log a lap. The team didn’t bring a spare, but they’re encouraged by the fact that junkyards have Northstars all day for cheap, theough usually of unknown quality. They’ve headed out to find a spare engine.   5:17 p.m. So at the break, here are the standings: 1. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30) 2. #880 Back to the Past (Nissan 300XZ) – +1 Lap 3. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang) – +3 Laps 4. #711 Subliminal Racing (BMW E30) – +3 Laps 5. #44 Landshark (Acura Integra) – +3 Laps CLASS B 1. #32 Speedycop (Honda Accord) 2. #18 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort) – +1 Laps 3. #83 Canadian Border Patrol (Toyota Cressida) – +2 Laps CLASS C 1. #311 Der Schnitzelwagen (Volkswagen Squareback) 2. #222 Windy City Racing (BMW 2002) – 153 Laps 3. #919 Afunzalo Racing (Fiat X1/9) – 151 Laps Pentastar 5:27 p.m. This is the position one typically assumes when dealing with K-Car related components. This is the same type of Mitsubishi V6 that plagued the co-HCOTY K-It-Forward Plymouth Reliant all last year. The Unified Partnership of Pentastar  Racers have struggled for seemingly every moment of every race with a new engine problem. The car is currently failing to make power once it’s up to temperature. 5:31 p.m. When the race goes back to green, there should be about six hours and 20 minutes remaining. Back to the Past, who are down a lap, may be able to go the distance on one stop while the race-leading E30 should need two stops. Landshark, who are P5 and down three laps, may also be able to go the distance on one stop. Everyone else at the front will need two more stops. All of the Class B cars will need two stops. College_Brats 5:40 p.m. By request, here is College Brats’ Cavalier, which nuked a power-steering pump when it was running in the Top 10. Chevette_Diesel 5:45 p.m. Zero Budget Racing’s diesel Chevette gave up after just 11 laps. It turns out that 30-year-old Isuzu diesel engines are essentially unobtainium. The team was bumped to Class B with their 31 horsepower because they’ve long planned on turbocharging the diesel four and have yet to do so. 5:47 p.m. Meanwhile, we’re back to racing. The train of hoopties behind the pace car allowed Back to the Past to gain their lap back from LemonAid’s E30 and they now trail by just 42 seconds.   Panzer_Headgasket 5:56 p.m. The Panzer Racing E30 have been wrenching on their E30s blown head gasket most of the day. 6:00 p.m. With six hours remaining, Back to the Past passes LemonAid for the overall lead. 6:03 p.m. And immediately after taking the lead, Back to the Past get the car’s first black flag for a pass under yellow. 6:39 p.m. And just like that, Speedycop drops out of the Class B lead, probably terminally. A black flag for a spin followed immediately by a pit speeding penalty will eat up 10-15 minutes. Point-O-Eight inherits the Class B lead.   Speedycop 6:56 p.m. Speedycop’s co-driver was the black-flag earner. This is the look of Angrycop. Sadcop. Possibly Dejectedcop. Maxima_Northstar4 7:03 p.m. Here’s a better look at Pabst Blue Racing’s decimated Northstar. A second hole in the valley between the cylinder heads makes this a see-through block. The team have fetched a junkyard Northstar of unknown quality and are already mating it to the custom rear subframe for their frankencar. Lebowski_Volvo 7:12 p.m. Little Lebowski Urban Achievers’ Volvo Redblock called it quits and the team went searching for a new normally aspirated Redblock. With a little luck, they might make it out for the race’s final couple hours. 7:16 p.m. LemonAid continues to stretch their lead, now up to two laps. With the fastest laps clocking in around 3:05, that is a substantial lead. A lot can happen in the final 4-1/2 hours. The P2 through P4 cars are all on the same lap, separated  by about two minutes. Jaguar_Brakes 7:27 p.m. The Jaguar from Double Jeopardy has continued to have brake problems. And fuel leaks. And pretty much every other problem known to engineering. They currently occupy the final position, 94th place overall, with nine laps. Just three more and they’ll pass the done-f0r-the-weekend Zero Budget diesel Chevette. Just above that is Golden Lake Racing’s 1973 Ford Mustang, which went home after tossing a rod on Lap 15. 7:51 p.m. Just about everyone in contention for the overall win will need one more stop. LemonAid needs one stop for sure, but they’ve parked their Metro after two brakeline failures and then a leaky fuel cell.   Carb_Diagram 8:20 p.m. One (un)lucky Penalty Box visitor was tasked with recreating an exploded drawing from a Moss Motors catalog of an HS-4 caburetor. Ironically, this was on a fuel-injected car. Meanwhile, the Pentastar Duster have complete given up on their fuel-injected Mitsubishi V6 and are currently adapting a borrowed low-flow carb for their K-Car derivative. It probably has no way of being less reliable. 8:44 p.m. Full-course yellow for someone blown up. LemonAid still leads by a lap and a half from Back to the Past. Point-O-Eight leads Class B by five laps. In Class C, Der Schnitzelwagen leads by 15 laps and the second in class just was black flagged to fix rear lights so that gap will increase. 9:04 p.m. A lengthy full-course caution accompanied the fall of darkness here at the racetrack, but we’re back to racing and in full darkness. The heat and humidity seem to be getting worse, oddly enough. Most of these cars are not used to running for the 11 hours they’ve run so far, so attrition could really play a role in the outcome of this race as teams run out of brakes, tires, engines, and sometimes drivers. Exhaustion will also factor.     Night_2 9:12 p.m. Sunset. 9:40 p.m. Despite the earlier setbacks, Speedycop has gotten the Accord back to P2 in Class B by five laps. In Class C, Der Schnitzelwagen leads by 10 laps after they had to add another light. The team are concerned about the draw on the Volkswagen’s ancient generator, but time will tell if they can hold off the automatic BMW 2002 of Windy City Racing. And as I typed that, the VW came in with no lights whatsoever after the generator burned out halfway through the lap. The driver may need new underwear in addition to some wire sorting. 10:05 p.m. The Schnitzelwagen crew put in a bigger fuse, hopefully to mitigate any blown generators again. Meanwhile, the #16 Burnt Rubber Soul Ford Probe and the #301 Panzer Racing E30 got together in the first casualty of night racing. The Probe looks done for the night; the E30 has yet to come in on the hook. 10:15 p.m. Both drivers checked out OK with the medics. In the meantime, LemonAid’s E30 had an off and the resulting black flag discussion cost them first place. Back to the Past now lead by three minutes. The Schnitzelwagen’s lead is now down to seven laps, which is still almost 30 minutes at Class C pace. 10:20 p.m. Exhaustion probably catching up with some teams as the Penalty Box enjoyed a flood of failure. Back to the Past appears to be in the midst of their final fuel stop and driver change, which will give the lead back to LemonAid, who are good to the end on fuel. 10:25 p.m. Point-O-Eight make their final fuel stop and driver change. Their Ford Escort heads back onto the track without about five laps in hand over Speedycop’s Honda Accordion. 10:27 p.m. Scratch that bit about Back to the Past’s fuel stop. Race Monitor had frozen. Cicada 10:35 p.m. The insects have come out in force with the heat, humidity, and temporary lighting. Conditions are generally miserable in the paddock and every driver that I’ve seen looks entirely uncomfortable in the muggy conditions and the deep dark of the night.   Maxima_Northstar5 10:42 p.m. The Pabst Blue Racing crew are absolutely filthy after  swapping in a junkyard Northstar of unknown quality. They’re turning their first laps in more than 12 hours, but the car is on the track and sounds great. Whether it survives the final hour, well, that’s another story. Meanwhile, the Plymouth Duster team are waiting for the RTV to cure before they try to run their now-carbureted K-derivative. 10:52 p.m. The Schnitzelwagen is smoking a bit now and a quick visit to the Penalty Box has narrowed their ever-shrinking Class C gap to just five over the Windy City BMW 2002. Five laps is still a 20-minute gap and only an hour remains. So they only need to keep driving for about the next 45 minutes. How hard could it be? MetSHO 10:57 p.m. The MetSHO team are sorting out some cooling issues. The car had run problem-free for a solid 10 hours before it decided to leak all of its water once it got hot, spitting it out of a split hose. I expect a lot of cars to start falling apart with few having ever run this long consecutively. 11:02 p.m. At the front of the race, LemonAid is in P2 and catching the leading Back to the Past by 8-10 seconds per lap. They just might have enough time for another photo finish like last year’s race at Road America, of which LemonAid was part. Carbed_KCar 11:12 p.m. This is perhaps the only fix never attempted on the K-Car last year. Luckily, Unified Partnership of Pentastar Racers have undertaken a try at it. For science. 11:20 p.m. About 35 minutes left, and here’s how things sit: OVERALL 1. #880 Back to the Past (Nissan 300ZX) – 306 Laps 2. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30) – +2:00 3. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang) – 3 Laps 4. #44 Landshark (Acura Integra) – 3 Laps CLASS B 1. #18 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort GT) 2. #32 Speedycop (Honda Accord) – 4 Laps 3. #83 Canadian Border Patrol (Toyota Cressida) – 4 laps, +2:51 CLASS C 1. #311 Der Schnitzelwagen (VW Squareback) 2. #222 Windy City Racing (BMW 2002) – 244 Laps 3. #919 Afunzalo Racing (Fiat X1/9)   11:28 p.m. The Pentastar Duster made two laps with the carb setup before the RTV melted and plugged fouled it all up. But they were two victorious laps, the team claimed, including a pass of a slightly even more pathetic car. The Pabst Blue Racing Northstar Maxima turned two laps before their junkyard motor gave up the goat. But hey, 12 hours of work gave them 12 minutes of glory. That’s LeMons distilled.   White_Trash 11:40 p.m. White Trash Racing’s Neon was clean all day with zero black flags until just now with only 20 minutes remaining. On a big of inspection, they got bumped and ended up way out in the weeds on the back side of the track. 11:46 p.m. LemonAid are still taking 10-15 seconds a lap out of Back to the Past’s lead. With 15 minutes left, that should leave 5-6 laps left with a 67-second gap. Some simple maths show that it could seriously be a single-digit gap, though it’s unclear who will be on the winners’ side. 11:47 p.m. Gap at the front is now 57 seconds. Class B lead is four laps and should go to Point-O-Eight, barring a catastrophic failure. In Class C, the lead is also four laps, which should be enough for Der Schnitzelwagen to claim the class win. 11:51 p.m. A good lap by Back to the Past and the gap is 48 seconds with 3-4 laps to go. 11:55 p.m. Gap at the front is down to 34 seconds. 11:57 p.m. And instead of keeping you informed, I’m going to go congratulate all the finishers. You’ll get a recap in 10 minutes or so. 12:19 a.m. Back to the Past hold on for the win by 27 seconds, their third overall victory. Point-O-Eight and Der Schitzelwagen win Class C by four laps each. 12:21 a.m.  Five hundred drivers now crowd into the tech shed for awards. Update on the real trophies after they’re handed out. Much, much later: Don’t let anyone tell a 14-hour race is only 14 hours of insanity. All told, this writer was up for 22 straight hours yesterday and he lost all Internet capabilities after unplugging his phone from the charger (excuses, excuses). Regardless, the race was one of the better ones with another close finish involving two of the same cars from the four-car insanity at last November’s Road America event. Thanks to 24 Hours of LeMons, Jay Lamm, Nick Pon, Jeff Glenn, Kim Harmon, Murilee Martin/Judge Phil, Marc Labranche, Autobahn Country Club, and far too many teams to name for all the help, company, entertainment, food, and attempts at restoring sanity. Here are the final awards and standings: Class A and Overall winners: #880 Back to the Past (Nissan 300ZX) Class B winners: #18 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort GT) Class C winners: #311 Der Schnitzelwagen (Volkswagen Squareback) Organizer’s Choice: #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang) Judges’ Choice: #777 Muenster Energy Racing (Blown-up trailer and/or car; showed up and had a great time anyway) Most Heroic Fix: #844 Pabst Blue Racing (Nissan Maxima with Cadillac Northstar V8) I Got Screwed: #53 LemonAid Racing (Geo Metro with BMW I6 swap) Awesome Car Destruction Trophy: #422 Wonderment Consortium C (Honda Civic; build and awarded by the Point-O-Eight team) Never Listen to Phil Trophy: #92 Unified Partnership of Pentastar Racers (Plymouth Duster) Index of Effluency: #919 Afunzalo Racing (Fiat X1/9)   OVERALL 1.  #880 Back to the Past (Nissan 300ZX) – 318 Laps 2. #35 Mark’s Harder LemonAid (BMW E30) – 318 Laps, +27 seconds 3. #750 Flying Pigs Racing (Ford Mustang) – 315 Laps 4. #44 Landshark (Acura Integra) – 314 Laps 5. #711 Subliminal Racing (BMW E30) – 314 Laps, +32 seconds 6. #600 S***box Racing (BMW E30) – 312 Laps 7. #36 Save the Ta-Tas Racing (Chevy Camaro) – 310 Laps 8. #34 Flying Sausage Motorsports (Porsche 944) – 309 Laps 9. #181 Team Sheen (Acura Integra) – 307 Laps 10. #18 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort) – 306 Laps   CLASS B 1. #18 Point-O-Eight (Ford Escort) – 306 Laps 2. #32 Speedycop & The Gang of Outlaws (Honda Accord) – 302 Laps 3. #83 Canadian Border Patrol (Toyota Cressida) – 301 Laps 4. #45 Arrested Adolescent Racing Program (Opel GT Breadwagon) – 299 Laps 5. #124 Product Design (Saturn SL2) – 295 Laps 6. #847 Team Orca (Chevy Caprcie) – 283 Laps 7. #76 Team Gutty (Honda CRX) – 279 Laps 8. #117 Legitimiate Racing (Honda Accord) – 278 Laps 9. #12 Sweaty Fannies (Ford Mustang) – 277 Laps 10. #26 Hofmeister Kinks (Toyota MR2) – 268 Laps   CLASS C 1. #311 Der Schnitzelwagen (Volkswagen Squareback) – 258 Laps 2. #222 Windy City Racing (BMW 2002) – 254 Laps 3. #919 Afunzalo Racing (Fiat X1/9) – 229 Laps 4. #73 Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing (Ford EXP) – 223 Laps 5. #40 Dover Bros. Racing (MGB-GT) – 219 Laps 6. #220 Pocket Deuces (Ford Fiesta) – 141 Laps 7. #422 Wonderment Consortium (Honda Civic) – 98 Laps 8. #200 Double Jeopardy (Jaguar XJ-S) – 30 Laps [All photos copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Eric Rood]

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