Last October we participated in the historic 2013 Halloween Hoopties 24 Hours of Lemons endurance race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. We finished mid-pack, mostly due to really mean judges our own stupidity and the penalties associated with it, but we were as high as 39th overall in a field of more than 140. Not bad, not bad at all.
Driven by our passion to get away from our wives and kids for a weekend compete and the amazing abilities of our so-called racecar, a 2002 Buick Regal, the Park Bench Racing Team has entered the 2014 The Real Hoopties of New Jersey “endurance” “race”!!
[Images: Murilee Martin]
Going into this race, the now iconic-ish Red Bull Renault Buick will remain pretty much the same, mostly due to the team mechanics’ (Andy and Justin) lack of
motivation time to work on it. It will be improved however, as we had:
- alignment problems which chewed up two of our awesome BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 tires (camber, fenders),
- slight cooling issues (custom junk yard radiator, one-off hoses),
- small mirrors (can’t see other crappy cars),
- out of date harness,
- full factory exhaust (rubbing precious power).
Otherwise, stuff ain’t broken, so we won’t fix it. The supposed weak point, the transmission, worked flawlessly, or as good as one would hope. The bouncy suspension was bouncy but predictable. There are plenty of tricks for the 3800 to gain power, but then that extra power may put a strain the rest of the driveline. The factory brakes with race pads and conventional fluid will remain as so, but with race brake fluid.
There are other changes, too. Justin, the man primarily responsible for building the Buick, won’t be racing with us this time around. In his place are two people; Michael, Andy’s friend, and Christo Tinkov, the man behind OneHotLap.com. Christo organizes local BMWCCA autocross, does dozens of track events per year, and he’s really fast, at least in his BMW M-coupe. All bets are off when it comes to a proper racecar such as our Buick, of course, and wheel-to-wheel racing is nothing like an HPDE.
We’re also looking to develop a race strategy, as we didn’t have one last time; reduce refueling times, make driver changes more efficient, and maybe have a race manager. My little brother, who does not know much about cars, volunteered to be the team errand boy, and Leroy will remain as the team dog.
Wish us luck, and stay tuned for more updates.