24 Hours of LeMons: 'NASA, We Have a Problem' sprint preview


The 24 Hours of LeMons will jump to a new format this weekend, offering a two-hour sprint race at Sonoma Raceway as part of the National Auto Sport Association (NASA)’s NorCal Region weekend there. The short race will factor as only a small part of the weekend, so technical inspections don’t begin until 10:00 a.m. Saturday with the race running from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. that same day. The races will include all the major rules of LeMons, including class, but in the interest of this being a two-hour race, the preview after the jump will be similarly abbreviated.

The short race format should shake up the usual bouts of fuel-economy-versus-speed that LeMons produces. With no required driver change, any car that can run two hours non-stop should have a chance at the win with speed and—perhaps more importantly—consistency likely playing major roles in the race’s outcome. Mid-week weather forecasts call 50-degree temperatures and a chance of rain, which could jumble up the pace and could also allow some cars to stretch a normal 110-minute fuel load enough to make the checkered flag. Let’s look at the shortened preview and you can see the full unofficial entry list here.



Picking the contenders for the overall win becomes considerably more difficult when the car has to last only two hours without breaking instead of the normal 14. As a result, a contending car needs to be reasonably fast (consistently running around maybe the 2:12 mark at Sonoma if the configuration is the same as previous races) and capable of running two hours on a tank of fuel. Of the 64 entries in the field, a solid third could probably win with the right driver. Since the race is much shorter, so is the preview.

DOMINATIN’ TYPES: Cerveza Racing (BMW E28), The Cannonball Bandits (Toyota Supra, above), Alfa Romeo Syndicate A (Alfa Romeo Alfetta, formerly California Mille), Krider Racing University (Acura Integra)

SHOULD BE AROUND THE FRONT: Porch Racing (Porsche 944) I Can Haz Racekar (BMW E36), Roadrace Jones (Nissan Sentra SE-R), Auto Lemon Union A (BMW E28), Pistola Alto (Nissan 300ZX)

IN WITH A CHANCE: New York Rock Exchange A and B (Ford Focus and VW Rabbit), Rotary Rooter (Mazda RX-7), Geico Racing Insurance (BMW E30)

QUALITY LONGSHOTS: Clowntown Road Show (BMW E30), Bunny With or Without a Pancake On Its Head (VW Rabbit), The Homey Depot (Nissan 240SX), Alfa R0meo Syndicate D (Alfa Romeo Milano, formerly Scuderia Limoni), Vermont Bert-One (V0lvo 262C)

HOPELESS: Neon Pope (Dodge Neon), SmorgasBorg (Porsche 944)

COMPLETELY HOPELESS: Geritol Gypsies (Chevy Camaro),

WHAT’S BELOW ‘COMPLETELY HOPELESS?’ White Trash Barbie/White Trash Ken (3 Saturn SC2s)




Putting cars in Class B will be even more difficult at this race where speed matters, so I’m even more clueless about what might happen in B. These predictions are based on (possibly incorrect assumptions) about classing, so take with a pinch of road salt unless you live in the South, where you’ll need every gram of it.

MIDDLE-CLASS DOMINATION AND/OR BORDERLINE A CLASS: Uber Vogel (Mercedes 190e), Nerd Herd 13.0 (Ford Mustang), Panting Polar Bear Racing (Ford Crown Victoria)

PROBABLY PRETTY OK: Licensed to Ill (Chevy S10), Bridgeway Bombers (Alfa Romeo Spider, above), As Seen on TV Racing (Kia Rio)

USING AS A RACE-PACE TEST: Hella Sh***y Racing (Volkswagen Beetle), ONSET/Tetanus West (Chevy Cavalier)




This should be a pretty interesting and even competitive outing for the bottom class, whose winner is usually the car that breaks least often over 14 hours.

TOP OF THE BOTTOM: Easy 908/14 (Porsche 914, above, with liquid-cooled VW motor), Billy Beer Racing (Ford Fairmont Futura)

BAD IN A GOOD WAY: LOL Racing (Volvo 1800), B210 Racing (Datsun B210)



NEW AND UNKNOWN SO PROBABLY BAD: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better (Volvo 242), Dudes Ex Machina (Datsun 200SX)

 The 2013 co-Hooniversal Car of the Year/Worst LeMons Car of All Time (WLCOAT)/K-It-Forward Plymouth Reliant recently found its way permanently into the capable hands of Chris Overzet, who has entered dozens of Pit Crew Revenge cars in LeMons since 2006. The Reliant was supposed to run at this race and would have had a chance at the Class C win, but planned driver Mike Taylor from Hong Norrth Racing is stuck in Atlanta due to inclement weather. As a result, it will be a late scratch for the race.

It’s been suggested that the K is growing in strength, refining its ability to control weather patterns and occasionally to take down Hooniverse.com when this author is writing about it. The Reliant’s many fans, benefactors, and detractors can argue the merits of this theory while I fashion a new hat and prepare the devices to fling its flaming carcass into the bosom of the Pacific Ocean at the first sign of K-Car sentience. There will be no second chances.

[Photos: Murilee Martin]

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19 responses to “24 Hours of LeMons: 'NASA, We Have a Problem' sprint preview”

  1. Nuclearspork Avatar

    I'm starting to think the Ks power is in breaking things. It broke Hooniverse's server, it broke the entire east coast, it has broken the hearts and dreams of many of its drivers.
    The question is what can you do to appease the K so it stops punishing people?

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      At The Ridge we pitted next to the K. I tried giving it money and backing away slowly.
      My car broke anyway:
      <img src="http://www.murileemartin.com/UG/LWA13/400-UG-Pacific_Northworst_24_Hours_of_LeMons.jpg&quot; width="400">
      <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2884/10240366456_5bb26cac1d.jpg&quot; width="400">

      1. Nuclearspork Avatar

        At road America I saw it break someones tow rig just because he was going to give it a place to sit for a few weeks until the next person picks it up.

        1. Tanshanomi Avatar

          The WLCOAT K can break anything it wants! The WLCOAT K cuts off threads ALL the time and don't even think twice about it. This car is so crazy and awesome that it spins out ALL the time. I heard that the WLCOAT K was once refueling in the pits. And when some dude dropped a wrench the WLCOAT K killed the whole crew. My friend Mark said that he saw the WLCOAT K totally run over some kid just because the kid opened a window.
          And that's what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          If you don't believe that the WLCOAT K has REAL Ultimate Power you better get a life right now or it will break your wheel off!!! It's an easy choice, if you ask me.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            Eh, I don't need to get a life right now. I've still got some spare wheels.

          2. B72 Avatar

            I heard that every time the WLCOAT K's crankshaft turns 180 degrees, a little bit of its gasoline sets itself on fire because it simply cannot stand another moment inside the cursed machine.

      2. B72 Avatar

        Sounds like quite the saab story. You must have had a wheely hard time getting it back on the trailer
        <I'd add a rimshot, but you already posted one>

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          Trailer? What trailer? My niece drove the car to and from the race.

          1. B72 Avatar

            Tough break.

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            It wasn't so bad, only about 100 miles each way.

          3. B72 Avatar

            I'm sure the drive is fun if one is the freewheeling sort.To get home did she need to be the threewheeling sort?I'm sure the cost of a replacement rim was not the kind of overrun you were expecting.

  2. Froadrick Avatar

    I guess cause we're noobs, we get no mention. I like being a sleeper. Sneak attack!

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      I tend only to predict on the basis of teams that have run previously because there's such a steep learning curve. That said, I also love when new teams prove me wrong.

    2. mdharrell Avatar

      Which car's yours?

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        He'd tell you, but then he'd have to kill you.

      2. Froadrick Avatar

        Two Many Wheels Mazda Miata #151

  3. m610 Avatar

    Scrubby is not a Super Beetle, and it probably doesn't want to be one. And CrazyMike only has two motors for it, but if he needed four I don't think he'd hesitate to swap those two in and out a couple of times.

    1. Eric Rood Avatar
      Eric Rood

      Well, I think it's super.

  4. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
    C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    Whoa, wait.
    A '76 Mark V?
    It's going to have to pit for fuel at least three times over the course of two hours!
    I really want to see footage of it being driven, um, spiritedly. I've done this with vehicles in the aircraft carrier class. It's scary to watch from outside the vehicle…or so I'm told.

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