Hooniverse Asks- What's the Weirdest Thing You've Ever Watched Race?

Like a stool in the wind. . .

Bar stools, bathtug regattas, Formula 5000, it seems like, if you can strap a motor on it, somebody will race it. Have you has the pleasure of experiencing some odd oval action?
Sometimes, when you can’t sleep, turning on the TV provides you with a little comfort. It seems like most every channel has relinquished their early morning broadcast time to infomercials, and no one wants to spend their most vulnerable hours with the Shamwow® guy, or the coke-dusted ghost of Billy Mays. That’s when you turn to your old friend ESPN. But not just ESPN, because they’re just showing repeats of the Indonesian Women’s Basketball tournaments. No, you snuggle down to ESPN 2, 3, or maybe even 4, because therein lies what you need to stave off the crypt-like silence of your pre-dawn house, and keep you company until you’re able to greet the sun.
There, in the backwater that is un-sellable advertising airtime, and with commentators who may actually be parolees, is the weird and wonderful of sporting events- chainsaw olympics, curling, and maybe – if you’re lucky – some kind of funky racing.
It’s not just odd-ball events that could provide you with fodder for questions like this. Can Am has seen sucker cars and more wings than a Hooters on a Friday night. Formula One had that six-wheel Tyrell car, and, of course, who could forget those twin torpedo cars of the early fifties?
So, what oddities have you come across in your viewing (or even better, participating) ? Is there something that stuck out as being so weird that it scarred you for life? Now, gentlemen, start your stools!
Image sources: [saltflats.com, autosports.com]

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57 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's the Weirdest Thing You've Ever Watched Race?”

  1. BGW Avatar

    It's a tossup between belt sander drag racing and chained-together school busses around a 3/8 mile oval.
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

  2. rikadyn Avatar

    Snow shovel racing…….

    1. rikadyn Avatar

      Let me amend that, and say Super Modified Snow Shovel Racing.

  3. scroggzilla Avatar

    I'm not enough to have watched this race the clock, but it's it does peg the old wierdometer
    Behold the Tarf-Gilera 500CC record car
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4010/4438635313_dd1739ec14_o.jpg&quot;

    1. jjd241 Avatar

      Go Speed Racer Go…..
      [youtube gg32GBZ7tDg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg32GBZ7tDg youtube]

  4. Møbius Avatar


  5. discontinuuity Avatar

    Cardboard boat races. I've participated in some way for the past three years or so.
    <img src="http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-sf2p/v67/41/15/37902641/n37902641_30291902_1181.jpg"&gt;

  6. CptSevere Avatar

    The Coaster Race in Bisbee, AZ is a good one. It's been held since 1914 every Fourth of July. I didn't know that until I watched the Arizona Star video just now. Turns out it also gave someone the idea for Soap Box Derby. They close Tombstone Canyon, the winding, fairly steep main street and let the kids race down it in these neat little gravity racers.

    1. coupeZ600 Avatar

      It started as an adult only race, but then it would totally escalate with higher and higher weight limits until somebody would flip up into the crowd and kill someone. Then after a year or so, they'd say, "Lets bring it back, but just for the kids." The kids would race for a few years in coasters that they and their Dads built, and then the Dads would all say, "I Wanna' Race!" A few years later they'd let the adults race again, the weight limits and speeds would climb, and then somebody would fly into the crowd and the cycle would start over all again. There's nowhere to run as a spectator when everybody's packed like sardines between the street and stone buildings on a little-bitty sidewalk.
      It's been nearly twenty-five years since the last fatality, and last year all the talk was about letting the adults run again.

      1. coupeZ600 Avatar

        When I raced it, it was "kids only", and they were completely anal about your brakes. Once the adults got back into it, it was like, "There's a time penalty if you hit the sand-trap at the end, think you can stop?"

  7. PFG Avatar

    Wind-up toys. It's a newish family tradition with my in-laws. Next Christmas will be my first time participating, and I'm already shopping for a Smokey Yunick-esque cheater toy.

  8. nofrillls Avatar

    Not quite as awesome as semi-rallying, semi circuit racing will always be bizarre to me:
    [youtube 38XunND0m6Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38XunND0m6Q youtube]

    1. engineerd Avatar

      I sat in a bar in Germany for an afternoon transfixed by the awesome that was the truck racing.

    2. Justin Rajewski Avatar
      Justin Rajewski

      I was at the Nurburgring race last year. Awesome, but they are limited to 160kph to keep it safe. The Brazilians, however, have the real balls. Their truck series has no speed limits, and fairly regular brake failures that cause the trucks to jump over armco!

  9. skitter Avatar

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3456/3869606306_2b1f529a40.jpg&quot; width=500>
    I've seen plenty of weirdness during my SAE days in college and spectating at a LeMons event, among other things. But of all the quasi-sanctioned racing, the Red Bull Soapbox takes the cake. In Atlanta, despite the pitifully small jump, more than a third of the entries self destructed before the finish. Few places give the opportunity to see both axles failing at once. Fewer still feature a wordless man in a speedo playing the trumpet as his vehicle's horn. Then sprinting to the finish in a teddy bear helmet after intentionally crashing at a blistering 4mph. This was immediately followed by Willy Wonka hosing down his crumpled paddlewheeler with a fire extinguisher before racing across the finish himself. None topped the pinata car crashing over the finish, exploding candy all over the track. Not even the leprechaun pot o'gold or Mad Hatter's Mad Mouse teacup, both of which tipped over backwards.
    Pictured: Ben Him, Ben Her

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      I prefer the Red Bull Crashed Ice.
      [youtube ppgw9DHYnbs&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppgw9DHYnbs&fe… youtube]

      1. CaptRice Avatar

        That's not weird, that's flippin awesome!

  10. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Australian Jet Boat Racing on ESPN 8 "The Ocho!"
    [youtube G5KFPZm4HTw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5KFPZm4HTw youtube]

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Water Hoons!

    2. engineerd Avatar

      That is freaking awesome. I need a shovel. And a boat.

    3. Jo_Schmo Avatar

      This reminds me of a vidya game I played for hours on end in my youth. I cannot for the life of me think of what it was but seems like it was on SNES or maybe PS1.

    4. citroen67 Avatar

      Bloody Hell! That is friggin spectacular! I think I may have just found my new favorite spectator sport.

    5. nofrillls Avatar

      I'm sorry, this is just too awesome for me. I need to go dig a boat racing track in my neighbor's back yard…

    6. Alff Avatar

      That is my new favorite water sport.

    7. Justin Rajewski Avatar
      Justin Rajewski

      8-9 g's. What's not to like?

  11. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    what the hell?

  12. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    The San Fernando Valley Illegal Soapbox Federation is always good for some laughs
    <img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1152/1425127356_0124d15969.jpg&quot; width="500" height="334" alt="2nd Race (16)" />

    1. nofrillls Avatar

      What's with the scattered toy car carnage?
      Are they obstacles to slalom through or do you intentionally run over them to, say, double in size or become invincible for 30 seconds?

      1. Tim Odell Avatar
        Tim Odell

        Some jokester thought he'd be clever and have a bunch of barbie cars towed behind his cart. Problem is, plastic toys don't hold up well at 50mph.

  13. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Dig a track (36" deep)
    Insert SBC into 12' jet boat
    Press go pedal!

  14. engineerd Avatar

    Well, there's the illegal soapbox races, the European truck races, and the Red Bull Flugtag. However, the stranges stuff happens at your local track on Friday or Saturday nights. School bus figure 8s. Hell, figure 8s themselves. Motorhomes with trailers running a figure 8. If it's has 4 (or 12) wheels, makes no sense, and will possibly result in your life insurance company dropping you, it's gonna be raced in a figure 8 track.

  15. Jo_Schmo Avatar

    I'm going with figure 8 schoolbus racing.

    1. engineerd Avatar

      Jinx. You owe me a Coke.
      No talking until you bring me my Coke!

  16. Goingincirclez Avatar

    A Dodge Dart that had just suffered a crushing head-on blow from a Ford Country Squire, in the Santa Fe Speedway Tournament of Destruction in 1994.
    Said Dart drove away from the skirmish with the front fenders and hood pointing straight toward the sky. Read that again – it DROVE – looking every bit like a blue hot dog tearing ass around the clay. The driver was pretty much blinded by the new obstruction, not that it mattered. Those old Mopars earned some respect from me that night.

  17. Alff Avatar

    Small blocks of pine, carved to look like cars, pulled by gravity down a 60' track.

  18. skay¢og Avatar

    Pig races at the State Fair come to my mind.
    <img src="http://www.evangelicalright.com/pig-races.jpg"&gt;

    1. Yo-Yo Noritake Avatar
      Yo-Yo Noritake

      The best part is that you KNOW some degenerates are gambling on this.

  19. Tomsk Avatar

    Apologies for the soundtrack:
    [youtube 2rd2wwtcZpk&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rd2wwtcZpk&fe… youtube]

  20. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    One of the radio stations that I listened to years ago held 2 annual races that were always wacky, and shitloads of fun. One was a bed race, where people would literally put wheels on full (or maybe queen) size bedframes, and push them around a race course. The beds had to have 2 occupants, and I think 2 people pushing them. It was such a blast, and so chaotic! Their other annual race was a bathtub race, held in the pond at a local park. The racers had to use an actual bathtub as the basis for their "boat", but could add other things in or around it to make it float, and they had to paddle their contraptions around the course. The bath tub race was amusing as hell because, invariably, half of them would wind up sinking, several more would end up capsizing, and only a handful would make it all the way around. It was still so much fun to watch, and everyone had a good time.

  21. CaptRice Avatar

    I've seen scooter racing on circuits in Taiwan as well, except they were using puny street scooters that were barely moving, Plus the hot women were missing.

  22. muthalovin Avatar

    Damn you Møbius for taking NASCAR!

  23. vwminispeedster Avatar

    In college a couple years ago I did the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Eureka, CA http://kineticgrandchampionship.com/ with a bunch of my engineering pals at UCSB. Nothing like spending the school's $$ to race against stinky hippies. That race has permanently scared me. I had the highest of highs and lowest of lows all in one weekend.

  24. smokyburnout Avatar

    I watched a lawnmower race or two on ESPN2 back in the day…

  25. citroen67 Avatar

    Hands down…the weirdest thing that I have ever witnessed in a race had to be La-Z-Boys and couches. Raced downhill by a bunch of drunken idiots. [youtube l1XrVzg0InM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1XrVzg0InM youtube]
    Because no brakes, no steering and a high center of gravity always adds up to a win for the onlookers. (Notice at :42 seconds into the video…the one guy's shoe gets trebuchéd right out of the shot!)

    1. coupeZ600 Avatar

      I guess I was about 25 when I moved into a house that had a couch mounted to four or five old downhill skis. There was a hill right across the street from the house that ended in a big field that the football team would use in the Spring and Fall, but in the Winter it was ours. People don't usually think of snow in Arizona, but here at 7000 ft we get lots. While riding the couch was amazingly dangerous, more people got hurt hauling it across the street and attempting to get it over the six-foot chain link fence and then back again then were ever hurt using it.

  26. dragon951 Avatar

    I think now is a perfect time to dust off this cherry:
    <object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/MytfhzcSF-Y&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/MytfhzcSF-Y&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

  27. Feds_II Avatar

    Varney, Ontario holds train racing. not locomotives, per say, but 3 cars chained together, each with a driver in them. Front car has the engine, rear car has the brakes. Guy in the middle hopes for the best. Put 5-10 of them on a 1/4 mile oval, and hang on.

    1. jjd241 Avatar

      Go Speed Racer Go…..

  28. Justin Rajewski Avatar
    Justin Rajewski

    When I was little a friend and I would go to a local dirt track 40 miles north in Stockton KS. They circle tracked semi's. Peterbuilts, Kenworths, Intls were all hooned slideways around a half mile dirt oval. Every once in a while one of the racers would use his "spare" truck and use a flatbed trailer as a ramp to jump over 8-10 cars. I don't think he ever made it past 6 and would usually bounce off the last 2 cars and almost endo the thing.

  29. Fej Avatar

    Snowmobiles at the drag strip and The Kinetic Grand Championship (I've watched it my whole life so it seems fairly normal to me, but others find it rather strange.
    Picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fejbernard/355822459

  30. MadKaw Avatar

    Weirdest one I've seen (but definitely one of the most fun) would have to be the coffin races at Nederland, Colorado's annual town festival, "Frozen Dead Guy Days." The festival celebrates Grandpa Bredo, an eccentric old Norwegian immigrant whose dying wish was to be cryogenically frozen in dry ice in the shed behind his house. Among the festivities are dead-guy lookalike contests, the "Blue Ball" party, people in various states of undress leaping into an icehole in the frozen river, consumption of an awful lot of beer and other mind-altering substances (Ned is a little hippie mountain town), tours of Grandpa's Tuff Shed, a parade of old hearses (sweet!), and the aforementioned coffin races. As for those coffin races, teams of 6 "pallbearers" carry a seventh team member in a homebuilt casket, and race two at a time through an obstacle course. The teams, of course, are all themed. Damn funny, and damn entertaining.

  31. Santa Fe Remodeling Avatar

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  32. Virgil Housen Avatar

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  33. J. Dizzle Avatar
    J. Dizzle

    Local track near Denver, CO does "Trains" Basically, three cars chained together, the one in front has a gas pedal, but no brakes, the middle one is just a filler, and the last one has brakes but nothing else. Then they race in a figure eight with other "Trains". Never fails, car in back is so small that the brakes are glowing and useless after the first lap, and the middle car usually rolls over. Some teams put wheels on the roof of the middle car. Great fun!