The 2014 crapcan season opened up this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park with the 24 Hours of LeMons “‘Shine Country Classic,” the overall winner of which was perhaps hardly a surprise. I picked the RC Spiders squad as the favorite for this race and they showed why by making their third-ever overall victory look like a stroll through the neighborhood. They weren’t the only team to take home hardware from recently-thawed Alabama. Follow the jump for the full rundown.
When the checkered flag flew a few minutes early (because of rain and visibility), the RC Spiders Mercedes 190E (above) was first across the stripe, some 12 laps ahead of its nearest competitor. The Spiders created that sizable gap by running cleanly and by taking advantage of the mid-race quiet hour on Sunday, which broke the race up into a two-hour morning session and a five-hour afternoon session. Needing only to make one mid-race stop Sunday, they stretched the lead out by clocking consistently quick laps, even in the rain.
Casino Racing was that second-place competitor, a quick and economical Mazda Miata whose team towed all the way from Denver to race. They clocked a blazing 1:52 lap and minimized fuel stops, following RC Spiders’ one-stop example Sunday, although they made one additional stop Saturday. Joining them on the long tow as the Gambling Rehab Honda CRX, which finished a respectable 27th, and surpassing that towing distance was Wyoming’s Thrift Store Racing, whose Mazda Protegé finished farther down the order.
Perhaps the comeback of the race came from former six-time winners Hong Norrth Racing, whose Mazda MX-3 suffered a failed hub late in Saturday’s session while running P9. The failure pitched their Mazda into the wall, but the team worked tirelessly to get it back on the track Sunday, when it would start P16. They picked up three spots during the pre-Quiet Hours session and then needed only one fuel stop in the final five hours, catapulting them to a surprising podium finish. Speed probably had something to do with it—they had the race’s fastest lap for much of the weekend with a 1:51—but picking up 13 positions on the second day of racing in a deep field? I’m not convinced Hong Norrth aren’t magicians of the highest order.
A single lap behind the podium came Burningham Racing’s Porsche 944, which probably ran as consistently fast as any other car. However, fuel economy crippled the Porsche, as they needed just enough fueling stops to keep them out of the top three. They edged out the Honda Del Sol from Zero Energy Racing by a scant 90 seconds in that team’s best LeMons finish. Rounding out the Top 10 were very strong performances from Honey Badger Racing (Acura Integra), Hung South Racing (Volkswagen Golf), Mom’s Friendly Racing Company (Honda Civic), and Rolling Chicane Racing (Honda Civic). Former winners Ghetto Motorsports and Save the Ta-Tas both faced adversity throughout the weekend, though the Ta-Tas’ Camaro certainly had it worse, finishing P51 to the RX-7’s 16th-place result.
In Class B, Halfast Racing led the class for virtually all of the race’s first 11-1/2 hours before a terminal issue knocked their Chevy Impala out and left them P40 in the race. The Squirting Coronas had lain in wait, running quickly over long stints with their Mercedes 300E to inherit a substantial class lead over the Knoxvegas Lowballers’ new-for-2014 Ford Contour SVT. The Coronas maintained lead to the finish, giving Mercedes wins in the top two classes. Notably, Frankenstein Motorworks again ran very lengthy stints in their fuel-sipping Honda Accord to finish third in the class. In their case, Sunday’s quiet hours may have hurt their performance, as the car seemed capable of close to 3-1/2 hour stints at Barber.
Knoxvegas Lowballers’ first car, their Duratec V6-powered Geo Metro, looked like a lock for Class C with just an hour to go and a substantial lead. But their car decided to quite cooperating in the race’s waning moments. The team must have looked on in dismay as Douchebag Racing’s Cadillac Catera slowly closed that gap on the soggy course. With visibility and conditions approaching dangerous levels, race officials threw the checkered flag about 10 minutes early, leaving the Catera short three laps and also short of an I Got Screwed trophy. The Lowballers’ performance, coupled with their P2 finish in Class B, earned them the coveted Index of Effluency.
Elsewhere in Class C, Zero Budget Racing’s Chrysler Cordoba faced off with Sputnik/NSF Racing’s Plymouth Fury (above) in a Mopar battle of the flailing whales. The jostling from the Cordoba’s first racetrack visit loosened 39 years of gunk into the fuel tank, wreaking havoc on the whole fuel system and requiring the team to clean the particulate out of the removed tank. Meanwhile, Sputnik Racing gave the Fury a last-minute disc-brake swap that left no room for the front swaybars, meaning the old Fury flopped around in a concerningly porcine manner. Both cars managed to avoid the bottom of the timing sheet and the Cordoba’s 162 laps eclipsed the Fury’s 129. The Montal-bondo worthy performance gave Zero Budget an Organizer’s Choice trophy.
At the very bottom of the sheet, however, was Swamp Shack Maniacs. The team flailed all day and night in 2011 to get their Honda Prelude onto the track at Grand Bayou, but the car never made it. After two more days and nights of preparation, the Prelude turned its first 11 laps in
anger mild frustration, though 11 was still one fewer lap than the next-to-last-place Shark Bait Racing Datsun Z, whose engine packed up on pit road after 12 laps with a glorious smokescreen (video above). Swamp Shack Maniacs’ persistence picked up the Judges’ Choice award, while RetroRacing’s Volkswagen Beetle claimed the I Got Screwed trophy ofthe “didn’t-even-turn-a-single-lap” category, through it nearly turned one.
In the mostly imaginary Battle of Hopeless Journalists’ Miatas, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine won over OK Speed, run in part by The Truth About Cars’ Christian Mental Ward. A few bad-driving penalties (above) set the GRM Miata back, but they managed to finish 38th and show their car had decent speed with a best lap around 1:56. OK Speed’s Miata was a bit slower and it spent a hefty chunk of the race with the engine’s head off, being milled in a most-shadetree mechanic way to earn them the Heroic Fix award. In the end, what really matters is that journalists generally perform terribly in LeMons.
OVERALL (Full results here)
1. #201 RC Spiders (Mercedes 190E) – 394 Laps
2. #771 Casino Racing (Mazda Miata) – 382 Laps
3. #39 Hong Norrth Racing B (Mazda MX-3) – 374 Laps
4. #150 Burningham Racing (Porsche 944) – 373 Laps
5. #6 Zero Energy Racing (Honda Del Sol) – 373 Laps
6. #124 Squirting Coronas (Mercedes 300E) – 372 Laps, Class B Winner
7. #22 Honey Badger Racing (Acura Integra) – 368 Laps
8. #172 Hung South Racing (VW Golf) – 368 Laps
9. #236 Mom’s Friendly Racing Service (Honda Civic) – 367 Laps
10. #41 Rolling Chicane Racing (Civic) – 367 Laps
1. #124 Squirting Coronas (Mercedes 300E) – 372 Laps
2. #44 Knoxvegas Lowballers (Ford Contour SVT) – 364 Laps
3. #79 Frankenstein Motorworks (Honda Accord ) – 359 Laps
4. #211 Mullet Racing (Chevy Camaro) – 352 Laps
5. #42 PBR (Subaru Outback) – 346 Laps
6. #343 Bros With Hose (Honda Civic) – 344 Laps
7. #12 Carolinahondas.com/Duff Beer Civic (Civic) – 332 Laps
8. #619 Junk Male (Subaru Legacy) – 330 Laps
9. #166 Old Dudes (Honda Accord) – 329 Laps
10. #85 Apocalyptic Racing (Toyota Celica) – 327 Laps
1. #91 Knoxvegas Lowballers (Geo Metro) – 334 Laps
2. #27 Douchebag Racing (BMW E36) – 331 Laps
3. #2 Zero Budget Racing (Chevy Chevette Diesel) – 326 Laps
4. #1 NSF Racing (Mitsubishi Cordia) – 291 Laps
5. #3 Idle Clatter (Mercedes 300SD) – 281 Laps
6. #40 Mock Grass Racing (Kia Sephia) – 200 Laps
7. #75 Zero Budget Racing (Chrysler Cordoba) – 162 Laps
8. #71 Sputnik (Plymouth Fury) – 129 Laps
9. #68 Swamp Shack Maniacs (Honda Prelude) – 11 Laps
10. #57 RetroRacing (Volkswagen Beetle) – DNS