24 Hours of LeMons: 'Sears Pointless' race recap

Sonoma_Raceway_Boys_Lead
The 24 Hours of LeMons trekked to Sonoma Raceway last weekend to open its West Coast season with the annual “Sears Pointless” race. California’s colorful competitors placed their craziness on full display while Hooniverse’s own Tim Odell served on the LeMons Supreme Court, doling out a couple of creative penalties for miscreant drivers.

Of note, the “Sonoma Raceway Boys” lampooned the idea of “grid girls” (above) while elsewhere all manner of incredible Class C shenanigans carried on. Somehow—perhaps in spite of all that—great races broke out at the front of the field and at the front of Class B. Porch Racing repeated their Overall win at Sonoma in December in a nailbiter while Hella Shi**y Racing (aka Sonoma Raceway Boys) similarly snuck to their second-straight class win. Get the details after the jump. 

Porch

OVERALL

As predicted in the race preview, Cerveza Racing factored heavily into the race, leading more than 150 laps of the race. However, their BMW E28’s motor starting packing it in late Saturday, though they finished the session up two laps on Porch Racing’s 944 (above) and down on power. The overnight break gave Cerveza the chance to swap in a replacement motor, but its water pump failed Sunday, knocking them far from P1 (though they’d recover to claim a P10 finish).

Cerveza’s departure from the  lead left a raging two-car battle at the front. Porch Racing had led Sour Aviation Racing’s Mustang by 40 seconds to end Saturday, but the  Sunday restart put them nose-to-tail and Sour Aviation passed for the position at the green flag, giving them the effective lead. Porch Racing’s driver, however, came back with a grueling performance that regained the P1. With Sour Aviation two laps arrears after making the first of two fuel stops, the 944 pilot stretched the day’s opening stint past the session’s halfway point, eventually clocking more than four hours and 112 laps in one sitting while logging competitive lap times.

Southworst

The ensuing Porsche stop was lengthy and gave the lead back to Sour Aviation (above), but the Mustang’s second and final stop dropped them about 90 seconds behind, where they would stay until the checkered flag. Porch Racing’s victory marked their second consecutive win at Sonoma Raceway (with a sprint race second place in between) after a 944 had gone more than 100 LeMons races without one. Sour Aviation’s runner-up result is one of only eight Mustang podiums in LeMons history and the first Mustang podium on the West Coast. Don’t be surprised if they soon become the first Mustang to win outright since 2009.

[Cheaty BMW paragraph]The Faustest Team rounded out the podium with a quiet, quick, trouble-free weekend. Their E30 always been one of the quicker teams but had never done better than 13th.  Similarly, D.A.R.E. had previously finished P15 in their best outing, but they assembled a solid race to finish fourth place overall.[/Cheaty BMW paragraph]

Idiotarod Racing’s snowmobile-engined Mazda Miata (aka Balto) ran as high as P2 late in the race, but it was dogged by late-race issues, running out of fuel and then breaking a CVT drive belt. The car ran consistently fast and even relatively efficiently, getting around two hours on a tank of premixed fuel. They picked up P5 late in the race from Tired Iron Racing’s stock Miata, which ran a perfect race but lacked the outright pace to make the podium.

dirty_duck

How Are Those Guys Winning? (Eagle Talon) also made a late pass for position, picking up P7 in the final 10 minutes from Alfa Romeo Syndicate Eccelente #35. That Alfa GTV6 made its best result, though a couple of long stops early in the race cost them a at least five minutes on the track. Dirty Duck Racing (VW Rabbit, above) snuck into the Top 10 in the final hour with a consistent race buoyed by quick stops.

Sonoma sprint winners Pistola Alto finished a lap outside the Top 10 with a strong run of their own and Team Mayhem finished a solid P12 in their F-U Haul Mazda RX-7. 

Eyesore Racing broke the Sonoma Raceway LeMons lap record (I think..LeMons has run many different configurations of the track so it’s hard to know for certain) with a blistering 1:58 lap Saturday. However, any chance at competing ended Saturday when the turbocharged Miata caught a spinning car and suffered pretty significant damage. 

Roadrace Jones’ Nissan Sentra SE-R, the BLowe’s Racing Mitsubishi Eclipse, and Alfa Romeo Syndicate Eccelente’s “A” entry all looked firmly entrenched in the Top 10, but each took a tumble Sunday to fall well back in the rankings. 

 

CLASS B

Ferdinand_Bug

Class B presented the biggest fireworks show with five cars in the hunt until the very end. Fiero Libre led most of Saturday in the class, including at Saturday’s checkered flag, but 25 minutes off the track early Sunday after collecting a spinning Camaro ceded the lead to Hella Shi**y’s dual-control, Subaru-powered Volkswagen Beetle (above), fresh off a Class C win in the sprint race at Sonoma last month.

With a little more than two hours remaining, the top three in the class at one point were separated by a mere two seconds with two more cars on the lead lap. Fuel strategies played out such that Hella Shi**y  barely hung onto the class win over the thirsty Mercury Zephyr from Super Troop Racing. 

Parada_RX7

Parada/TSL (Mazda RX-7, above) and Team Tinyvette each finished a lap behind the class winner, having put together good races in their own right. Tinyvette’s Opel GT overcame some recent rotten race luck and ran like clockwork, particularly Sunday where driver stints last exactly 50 laps (about two hours). Team 5150 (Datsun Z) finished yet another lap back from there in the car’s debut.

How close was the entire class? The top five Class B cars all finished comfortably inside the Top 20 and the class’s top 10 wound up within the Top 30.

 

CLASS C

Pinewood_Dirtbags

On Saturday, Class C looked to be shaping up for a grand two-vehicle battle between the Pinewood Dirtbags Chevy LUV (above) and the Billy Beer Ford Futura with both cars on the same lap to begin Sunday. However, several small setbacks knocked the Futura back about 10 laps mid-day and the Dirtbags hung on with their V6 pickup to win the class handily.

LeMons Legend Mike “Spank” Spangler brought three cars to Sonoma with the idea of selling them in a most Cal Worthington-like manner. His 2008 Prius—with 340,000 miles on the odometer and a full interior still—finished mid-pack with NPR blaring from the stock radio (and it found a buyer who is now driving it home cross-country to South Carolina). The 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado ran reasonably well, aside from shearing wheel studs while the Harley V-Twin-powered Prius (the Toyohog) struggled all weekend while jostling its drivers like “a washing machine full of hammers,” to borrow a phrase from Midwestern LeMons Judge Sam Stevens. The collection of oddware earned Spank and his crew the Organizer’s Choice trophy.

Rambler_2

The glacially slow 1961 Rambler Classic from Panting Polar Bear Racing chugged to the top half of the standings in full column-shifting, double-digit-horsepower glory. The Rambler clocked the second-slowest best lap of the weekend but hardly whimpered for wear on the way to P5 in class and the Index of Effluency in its debut.

Elsewhere in Class C, Dudes Ex Machina finally got a full-ish weekend out of their Plymouth Valiant Scamp and LOL Racing continued to improve with their Volvo 1800, finishing P9 and P4 in the class, respectively. The Team -Ing With Bad Ideas Volkswagen Beetle even got a much deserved break, lasting more than two laps before packing it in.

K_Car

However, the co-Hooniversal Car of the Year Plymouth Reliant managed to wreck another Mitsubishi V6, the ninth toasted engine in the car’s 16-month race history. Somehow, current owner Chris Overzet seems to have found a rube potential new owner for the K, which will seek to become a double-ace in blowed-up motors win Class C or at least run more than one race without breaking all of its engine internals.

 

OTHER NOTABLE CARS:

IH_Scout

Directionally Challenged Racing cannibalized the team’s former Ford Mustang to paste (not literally…I think) onto an International Scout chassis, which allegedly also included some Ford Aerostar bits. I haven’t heard much to the contrary, so I’ll assume everything with the MuScoutang (my word, hoping it will catch on) went completely perfectly and the 128th place finish was a fluke or timing error.

The Fat and the Furious debuted with the former Geo Metro Gnome, a Honda CBR-powered Geo Metro. The team were clearly working with the tiny, temperamental mid-engined beast and managed a respectable 2:05 lap in a car that is probably trying to kill its driver at least half the time.

Ferkel

The much-anticipated Volkswagen TDI-powered Porsche 911 from Hella Shi**y/Sonoma Raceway Boys finished P130 after some overheating and oil-leaking issues. It turned reasonable laps with its fastest—a 2:17.5—right on pace with the Mercedes oil burner of Dirty Little Freaks, who clocked a 2:17.6. The Sonoma Raceway Boys previously tried to campaign team member Ryan Doherty for inclusion into the Sonoma Raceway Girls nominations if you’re curious about the lead photo’s origin. (You can read the start of that campaign over on another site, written by Hooniverse friend and commenter Stef Schrader.)

Pizza_Planet_2

Pizza_Planet_3 

Finally, a Fremont high school helped built this remarkable Toy Story-livery Mazda B2200 pickup. Nevermind that it finished next-to-last with 12 laps turned; just look at how perfectly it resembles the Pizza Planet Delivery truck from the movie. And then take a moment to applaud the young hoons who prepared it for race duty.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

Group_Shot_Homer 

If you’ve read any of my overwrought postings on LeMons, you probably know that I like numbers. So here are some of the numbers to show how the Top 10 and the Class B winners got where they were. Class C wasn’t quite close enough to merit further investigation (See standings at bottom).

Just as with the last time I looked at these kinds of numbers, “stints” simply refers to time between stops, though I think Sonoma’s paddock setup means it was easier to differentiate between black flags and driver changes. You can get the raw data from MyLaps or you can see some of the semi-processed data on this Google Spreadsheet. It’s also worth noting that this race saw a lot of long full-course caution laps, sometimes pushing 5:00, which ballooned the average race laps.

Overall Team # Stints Avg Stint Avg Stop Avg Race Lap Laps
Porch 5 70.60 11:22 02:25.4 353
Sour Aviation 6 58.83 07:39.5 02:26.8 353
Faustest Team 9 38.33 09:35.4 02:24.9 345
DARE 8 41.75 10:25 02:25.6 344
Idiotarod 10 32.20 10:38 02:22.8 342
Tired Iron 6 57.00 9:44 02:29.5 342
How Are  These Guys Winning 6 56.17 08:23.5 02:32.8 337
Alfa Romeo Syndicate 7 48.14 10:41 02:29.6 337
Dirty Duck 9 37.44 7:54 02:30.4 337
Cerveza 7 48.00 15:09 02:26.2 336

Let’s notice some things worth noticing:

  • Sour Aviation essentially made up for the additional stop by being much faster in their stops. Without a dedicated hot pit for refueling at Sonoma, it’s possible that Porch Racing had a bad paddock space and Sour Aviation had a good one. Or it could be that Porch took longer to put in more fuel because the car could take on more. Regardless, they were closely matched.
  • Idiotarod’s numbers would have been much closer to D.A.R.E.’s if they hadn’t needed a tow into the paddock after exhausting fuel. A long stop can kill you.
  • The P7, P8, and P9 finishers all arrived on the same lap through different means: How Are These Guys Winning ran long, mistake-free stints, Alfa Romeo Syndicate also ran long stints but had two lengthy stops early, and Dirty Duck ran more stops but they were far faster on their driver changes.
  • Cerveza lost nearly an hour of track time with repairs but still salvaged a Top 10 finish. If you exclude those two long stops, they only made three in-race driver changes, which would have averaged about 6:30 with an in-lap. Ever wondered how Cerveza has won five races? Yeah, they’re fast, but they also minimize pit time. 

 

Class B Team # Stints AVG Stint Avg Stop Avg Race Lap Laps
Hella Shi**y 11 30.09 7:53 02:30.4 331
Super Troop 13 26.23 7:41 02:29.9 331
Parada/TSL 12 27.50 8:03 02:30.4 330
Tinyvette 9 36.67 9:01 02:31.6 330
Team 5150 10 32.90 9:06 02:31.3 329

 

  • Hella Shi**y very nearly screwed themselves. They made their final stop with a little more than an hour remaining and more than two laps in hand. However, they had to stop on the next lap to correct a mistake or make some minor fix, which put Super Troop back on the lead lap, though they were unable to close the gap.
  • Super Troop’s thirsty Zephyr required 13 stops that, as far as I can tell, would have been fairly routine refuelings. Their stops were fastest and they were the fastest of the Class B cars. Ordinarily, I would suggest that a car that needs to stop every 80 minutes or so has little chance of winning the class, but they showed there’s more than one way to skin a Class B car. Interestingly, Parada/TSL split the difference in number of stints but their pit times were just long enough to set them back.
  • Team Tinyvette were precise, running what I can figure were exactly 50-lap stints (~2:05). They threatened the Class B lead late Sunday but had to make a final stop in the race’s last hour for a splash of fuel.

 

OVERALL (Full results on MyLaps here)

1. #942 Porch Racing (Porsche 944) – 352 Laps
2. #737 Sour Aviation Racing (Ford Mustang) – 352 Laps, +1:40
3. #186 The Faustest Team (BMW E30) – 344 Laps
4. #415 D.A.R.E. (BMW E36) – 343 Laps
5. #149 Idiotarod Racing (Mazda Miata) – 342 Laps
6. #189 Tired Iron Racing (Mazda Miata) – 341 Laps
7. #4 How Are Those Guys Winning (Eagle Talon) – 336 Laps
8.#35 Alfa Romeo Syndicate Eccelente (Alfa Romeo GTV6) – 336 Laps, +36 Seconds 
9. #83 Dirty Duck Racing (VW Rabbit) – 336 Laps, +1:06
10. #2 Cerzea Racing (BMW E28) – 335 Laps

CLASS B

1. #71 Hella Shitty Racing (VW Beetle) – 331 Laps
2. #178 Super Troop (Mercury Zephyr) – 330 Laps
3. #56 Parada/TSL (Mazda RX-7) – 329 Laps
4. #8 Team Tinyvette (Opel GT) – 329 Laps, +11 seconds
5. #13 Team 5150 (Datsun Z) – 328 Laps
6. #26 Swedish Monarchs Racing (Volvo 740) – 324 Laps
7. #171 Old Crows (Ford Mustang) – 323 Laps
8. #538 Car Error Panamericana (Saturn SL) – 321 Laps
9. #57 Uber Vogel: Hans Am (Mercedes 190) – 320 Laps
10. #94 Communists R Us (BMW E21) – 319 Laps

CLASS C

1. #184 Pinewood Dirtbags (Chevy LUV) – 311 Laps
2. #180 Billy Beer Racing (Ford Futura) – 300 Laps
3. #390 Rep-Eat-Offenders (Volvo 240) – 283 Laps
4. #1 LOL Racing (Volvo 1800) – 272 Laps
5. #785 Panting Polar Bear Racing 2 (Rambler) – 260 Laps
6. #24 Gentrification du LEMons (Toyota Prius) – 246 Laps
7. #124 D5 Racing (Triumph TR7) – 241 Laps
8. #210 B210 Racing (Datsun B210) – 228 Laps
9. #172 Dudes Ex Machina (Plymouth Valiant) – 224 Laps
10. #113 Sub Par Motorsports (Honda CRX) – 215 Laps

[Photos: Murilee Martin except lead photo from Team Jaywatch/Hella Shi**y Racing and Pizza Planet truck photos from Bryan Wood/Piledriverz.com]

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11 responses to “24 Hours of LeMons: 'Sears Pointless' race recap”

  1. LTDScott Avatar

    This was the most competitive and hard fought LeMons race that I've been a part of. I was driving my ass off out on the track and some of the teams whose cars used to be back markers were all of a sudden challenging to get by. On Saturday, The Homer had climbed up to 7th place when we came in for a driver change and refuel (which wasn't any longer than normal) and went back out in 24th place. I can't believe we lost 14 spots in one visit to the pits! We finished in 24th, but much of that was due to the new black flag policy that they announced. Jay said that drivers who come into the penalty box to confess their sins before being black flagged will have some leniency, whereas if you were flagged and called in, they wouldn't be so nice.
    We voluntarily came into the penalty box 4 times (3 due to contact that wasn't our fault, one for putting two tires off in the chicane), and were only officially black flagged once for a report of a non-existent fuel leak. Other than the fuel leak, I don't think we would have been called in for any of the other incidents (at least that's what my glance at the penalty sheet made me believe), so we were punished for being good boys.
    But even without that, we'll never win. We have 5 drivers and a 16 gallon tank, so in the interest of fairness we generally limit stints to 1.5 hours. I value fun over competition, as long as we can still go out and pass most of the cars on the track! The car performed great and I had a couple of great battles, plus I didn't have to stay up all night in 90 degree temps (like at Arse Sweat), so overall I am happy.

  2. john pagel Avatar

    We didn't break any belts. Just got a few bad breaks(stuck in the pits whilst they moved the K-rail on Saturday (-3 laps) ) and a couple of Black flags. .. We had a good time, someday Balto will win.

  3. Mike Meier Avatar

    I still can't believe how solid a car the Tinyvette was last weekend. Last year's disasters aside, our history with the car had been one of trying to keep it together until the end, occasionally with tranny swaps that we'd gotten down to 32 minutes after having done it 8-9 times. It was a fun race and our ace driver showed us it was 12 seconds faster than we had thought, so it looks like Zep and I have to improve our games.
    Thanks, it was fun racing with you guys!
    P.S. Buy the book.

  4. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Thanks for this excellent post. Sounds like an incredible race, and tremendous fun. The effort and information is greatly appreciated. I'm reading this instead of watching the F1 race.

  5. Mike Camicia Avatar

    The Pizza Planet Delivery Truck was built by the Gunn High School Autoshop classes in Palo Alto. The engine was a used Mazda RX7 rotary that unfortunately siezed up 2 hours in. We swapped out the engine and got back out but due to overheating had to park it. This was our first time at Lemons. We'll be back. On a side note 3 of the drivers for team Super Troop (2nd in B class, 14th overall) are former Gunn Auto Students!
    Mike Camicia
    Instructor
    Gunn High School Auto Tech

    1. Brian Avatar

      Ditch the rotary. We blew up our RX7 3 hours into our first lemons and then again the following year. Then E-30 now E-28. Maybe a different power plant?

  6. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar

    Idiotarod…'dogged'….
    /facepalm
    It's too early for such pun gent humor.
    /G+d

  7. Tipdog Avatar

    For the record, Gunn High School is not in Fremont, it's in Palo Alto. The body shop that helped with the truck is in Fremont.

  8. dedublu Avatar

    I agree – this was the most competitively driven LeMons I've seen in the 3 years we've been in it. It's amazing, the number of teams now that have sorted their cars and improved their driving skills. Very competitive. Our car, the Old Crows in a P51 Mustang, numbered 171 this year, have got our underpowered V6 Mustang to handle and stop about as well as possible and we finished the best ever – 7th in B – but what a hard fought driver's battle it was. I think this time there was less (tho not none) stupid inside passing and more good solid driving. I had fantastic, thrilling, on-going battles with several cars where we'd battle for several laps before finally passing them in traffic, only to be passed back again. Fun, fun stuff. Best race I've ever had. Thanks to you all for a thrilling race and tons of fun, and thanks for your good, solid driving. Til next time…..

  9. Spank Avatar

    We didn't earn the Org Choice, unfortunately. We did win, however, the regional "Marin County Award" for the Hybrid Prius bumper stickers. The Scout team won Org Choice.

  10. DRG Avatar

    Agree with the Homer driver as to hard fought race as well as the comment about improving quality of "cars and drivers"…no homage intended to our patron saint of media…current issue does give a couple of pages to Lemons which is nice to see. As to new black flag policy, that does leave one in a quandary when side swiped by a green machine in the chicane mid day Sunday. Was planning to head to the pits, being a good citizen and all, but witnessed the perp now ahead of me forgetting to exit stage left, so not wanting to be the fool I kept racing (also did not want to have to turn someone in…rationalization!) and was willing to accept the harsher penalty should a black flag be waved in my direction. None followed. BUT karma will out. The team did get a three black flags for wheels off, a short lived over filled gas tank (mea culpea), and a non existent collision (no damage found) (but Lemons justice for my collision). Other than that we went with longer stints..up to 3 hours per our 5 drivers but the (youngest) guy with the weak bladder opened up each day with an 1.5 hours, refusing to wear depends. That worked great. The 22 gal fuel cell helps. This was the first of our 6 lemons races without a mechanical problem/failure. Car is finally sorted out. First car blew a head gasket on day two at Thuderhill in 2012….the Toaster….the first Scion XB at Lemons. We sold that "burnt toast" after we added a turbo that wouldn't work and got something we could work on. 1971 240 Z and that is one fun car to race especially now that we get it. Renamed to Team 5150 and finished 5th in B. So not a new entry as the author suggests…was the Bob Bondo Rot Car for Sears Pointless 2013…and the Green Jap Zero (machine guns mounted on hood) at Thunderhill in September and Sonoma in December (7th…a Day that will live in infamy as we had some really offensive costumes…even Judge Phil was as offended, not) …finished both races but with difficulty…belly lifting a transmission found in Chico…only 3 hours of down time. So for once it ran the entire weekend as the Iron Butterfly: " In A Godda Da Speeda". Just being competitive in our class is the goal, so mission accomplished after 3 years. Hoping to make it into Thunderhill in September. Six months is a long wait…just enough time to repaint, change the oil and down load and process 48 hours of gopro footage ( yes we have a techno gear head on the team..thank goodness as it is what will keep me sane for the next six months reliving our fleeting glory as well as allowing me to improve my line in turns 3/3A (per team captain) and the carousal….well maybe. I just follow the rule "drive the best available line"). Thank you Jay and Nick and staff …you have made an old man a kid again.

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