The 24 Hours of LeMons has run two endurance races in 2014 and the harsh weather of this foul winter has intervened to end both early. A month ago, the race at Barber Motorsports Park ended in torrential downpour that, combined with the day’s failing light, meant an early checkered flag for poor visibility. Last weekend, the Texas weather gods bestowed ice, snow, and considerably sub-freezing temperatures on the “North Dallas Hooptie” race at Eagles Canyon Raceway, ending the frigid weekend Sunday at noon, three hours short of the scheduled finish.
Weather played a major factor all weekend with the race starting Sunday in gloomy, foggy conditions before improving to a pleasantly sunny day. In our race preview, we predicted some kind of insanity that seems endemic to Texas races and the weather certainly did not disappoint. Follow the jump for the lowdown and rundown.
As the temperatures dropped Sunday, it was Back to the Past who led by a wide margin at the front. The team’s Nissan 300ZX seemed to enjoy the cold temperatures with the car clocking its fastest laps at the weekend’s coldest point. They cruised to an easy-looking four-lap victory by doing what they always do: Run long stints with very consistent laps while making no mistakes. They ran Saturday’s eight-hour session on just two fuel stops en route to their second career win, the other coming at ECR in December 2012 (also a memorably cold race weekend).
For much of Saturday, Team Shocker looked poised to give a serious run at the win, which was surprising given the team’s previous best finish of 28th place. Their Integra was reasonably quick and also ran long driver stints, but a minor setback Saturday handed the lead to Back to the Past for good and left Shocker in P2 at the race’s end. Just behind was Team Miagra, whose Mazda Miata made its best showing in two years.
The big story heading into Sunday’s session was the then-P2
car Jeep Cherokee from TGTW Offroad Racing. As we found out in the LeMons Torture Test updates, the Jeep is perhaps an underappreciated LeMons platform, but the TGTW folks made a go at the overall win by simply racing clean. They weren’t super fast and they “only” ran somewhere around two hours on a tank of fuel, but they kept out of trouble, which goes a long way in endurance racing. The P2 and P3 cars both ran down the Jeep Sunday morning, but TGTW hung on for a fourth-place finish and a long-overdue Class B victory.
Lil’ Pecker’s Poorvette led the race early on and it was fast all weekend, but a multitude of stops—related to either mechanical trouble or the stock V8’s thirsty nature—meant that P6 was the best it could do. But for bringing a legitimate, not-that-terrible $500 Corvette, the Poorvette team earned the Judge’s Choice award. Class B runners up TARP announced during the weekend that they would retire their venerable Toyota MR2 (clad in Simca 1000GLS body panels, top photo) after the race. Maybe finally feeling bad for its poor owners, the MR2 had its best-ever outing, taking the last spot in the Top 10. That team’s spirit in the face of adversity over the past five seasons earned them the Organizer’s Choice award.
Elsewhere in the Top 10, the BMWs of Basil Weenie Racing and Futility Motorsports finally got some good luck to take Top 10 spots. A last-corner pass by Sandbaggin’ Brah’s Honda Civic gave them eighth place by a mere 1.3 seconds from the Cooper Saloon/JoBo Racing Mazda MX-6, which had unfortunately made a driver change just before the early checkered flag.
In Class C, the veteran Chevy Monza from Speedy Monzales took home a much-deserved class win in a three-horse race between some heavy metal. The Syndicate’s mostly stock, lumbering Mercedes 450SLC (above) finished second in class despite a fastest lap measured in geological time. From a team that’s occasionally struggled to get cars (particularly this one) to the green flag, it was a stunning performance that earned the Index of Effluency. Third in Class C, Escape Velocity Racingc put together a second consecutive solid performance with their Slant Six-powered Dodge Dart.
The lap totals drop off from there in Class C. The Resistance had to swap their engine and then fix the clutch in their first-generation Honda Civic, giving them the seldom-wanted Heroic Fix trophy. Team Buckaroo upped the ante on running a Volkswagen Baja Bug by putting a Mk. 1 Golf motor in the back. It predictably turned five laps all weekend (an I Got Screwed award-worthy unperformance), which was (unofficially) nearly two billion more than Team Sensory Assault’s scorched Mazda RX-7. The Sensory Assault squad—for reasons that make perfect sense to them—wanted the most penalty laps in history, so the judges obliged by handing out 2,000,000,007 laps, seven more than the late-model Pontiac GTO that ran at Sonoma a couple years ago. The Chinese turbo in their FD RX-7 was perfectly happy all weekend, powering the car to the fastest lap of the weekend, a 2:09.961.
With about 10 Fox-Platform Fords in the field, it should be somewhat surprising that the best of them, Shelia and the Sheikhs’ Mustang, finished 26th place. The foul weather Sunday morning sent several Fox Body teams home early, but Team Toxic Waste’s Pontiac Firebird (above) once again triumphed as the best F-Body, turning 50 more laps than its pony-car rival and finishing P12 for the weekend despite some brake issues.
Pulp Friction was one of the many teams to head home before Sunday’s cold, which was disappoint to see. The team had literally driven a wheel off their E30 early Saturday, but they clawed their way back to P6 at the end of Day 1. They trailered their El Camino-ized Bimmer and headed home.
In the highly anticipated Battle of the Pintos, the “fresh” Ford 2.3-liter motor in Futility Motorsports’ Mercury Bobcat retired itself after just two hours of racing. The team swapped in a spare, which gave them a couple of laps Sunday to total 43 for the weekend before ignition issues ended the usually reliable Bobcat’s race. Their competition was Inglorious Bastards’ ’72 Pinto, dolled up in Car and Driver drag and fairly dripping with Cheatonium by some accounts, which helped it log 37 laps for the whole weekend.
OVERALL (Full Results Here)
1. #880 Back to the Past (Nissan 300ZX) – 256 Laps
2. #78 Team Shocker (Acura Integra) – 252 Laps
3. #112 Team Miagra (Mazda Miata) – 249 Laps
4. #20 TGTW Offroad Racing (Jeep Cherokee) – 248 Laps
5. #99 Basil Weenie Racing (BMW E30) – 243 Laps
6. #02 Lil’ Pecker Poorvette (Chevy Corvette C4) – 240 Laps
7. #325 Futility Motorsports (BMW E36) – 239 Laps
8. #92 Sandbaggin Brah (Honda Civic) – 237 Laps
9. #63 Cooper Saloon JoBo Racing (Mazda MX-6) – 237 Laps, +1.392 seconds
10. #67 Toxic Asset Racing Program (Toyota MR2/Simca1000) – 231 Laps
1. #20 TGTW Offroad Racing (Jeep Cherokee) – 248 Laps
2. #67 Toxic Asset Racing Program (Toyota MR2/Simca1000) – 231 Laps
3. #102 Piston Broke (Mitsubishi Eclipse) – 209 Laps
4. #72 Tetanus Racing B (VW Passat) – 206 Laps
5. #119 Aero Buzzards (Ford Thunderbird) – 202 Laps
6. #917 Der Porschelump (Porsche 944) – 200 Laps
7. #70 Tetanus Racing A (Dodge Neon) – 199 Laps
8. #777 TDN Racing (Mitsubishi Galant) – 173 Laps
9. #116 HoodFellas (Isuzu Impulse) – 172 Laps
10. #93 Braking Bad Racing (Ford Festiva) – 169 Laps
1. #15 Speedy Monzales (Chevy Monza) – 213 Laps
2. #107 The Syndicate (Mercedes 450SLC) – 202 Laps
3. #13 Escape Velocity Racing (Dodge Dart) – 198 Laps
4. #75 The Resistance (Honda Civic) – 124 Laps
5. #314 Bad Science Racing (Dodge Daytona) – 61 Laps
6. #606 Widow’s Son (Buick Century) – 61 Laps
7. #15 United America Wrenchers (Austin America) – 45 Laps
8. #79 Magic Carpet Ride (Ford Escort) – 24 Laps
9. #34 Team Buckaroo (VW Baja Bug/Mk.1 Golf swap) – 5 Laps
10. #77 Team Sensory Assault (Mazda RX-7 FD) – -839 Laps
[Photos: Murilee Martin]