Today’s Submissions Thursday Submission comes from Estlin Link. He’s a 24 Hours of LeMons hanger-on and will be writing up profiles of various entertaining LeMons teams.
24 Hours of LeMons racers range anywhere from Michael Schumacher wannabes to the “I just fixed my car with duct tape” kind of guy. That diversity is exactly why LeMons has gained such popularity; serious racers want two days of wheel-to-wheel racing while average guys with a full time job just want to go fast around a track in a car they built with some friends in a dirty garage while kinda drunk. It’s hillbilly engineering meets club racing.
Just by looking at their name you can tell the Sorry for Party Racing crew are the kind of guys who’ve mastered the art of balancing racing and relaxing. SFPR team member Dean perfectly illustrates what the team is about: “We definitely are in it to have fun; I often remark that there is a fine line between life of the party and the world’s biggest douchebag and I am happy to report we are on the right side.”
Seemingly in full agreement, the Hooniverse preview for the last race had this prediction for SFPR: “Will they win? Maybe. Will they have fun? Definitely.”
Dean, Travis, Peter, Matt, Mark, and a beat-up Firebird are the critical components of Sorry for Party. Most of the guys know each other from work, so coming together to finally buy a rig was as straightforward as “Hey, you know what would be cool…” According to Matt, they chose the F-Body because it would be an easy and cheap platform to work on. Most of the team had prior wrenching experience, and enough spare parts lying around their garages to start.
Of course, there was the initial learning curve that every team goes through when first developing their car into a full-fledged LeMons racing machine. Most of this included things akin to “taking the damn windshield out from Day 1 so we could get the cage as far forward as possible,” upgrading the brakes, installing a reliable fuel system, getting good airflow through the radiator, and “making a seat to fit the stupid-ass GM floor pan design.” Ultimately, it was just five guys, a car, and a dream (of actually finishing a race).
2011 was the breakout year for these five emerging racers. They were gaining track experience at a mighty pace, but were still working on their paddock presence. Matt put it best: “After the 2011 season we were running pretty reliably and Judge Phil threw down the gauntlet to say, ‘get a real friggin’ theme,’ so we followed his suggestion of building an ode to Roger Smith. With this theme a success, we started to realize how much fun the social part of LeMons could be, and the stress of competition became much less of a downer.”
The social part Matt references is central to the uniqueness of LeMons. Ultimately, it’s not really about winning; it’s more or less about having an entertaining weekend with your friends and praying that maybe this time something doesn’t go horribly wrong before you even make it onto the circuit.
Most nights at the race track with SFPR include being corralled onto the dance floor by four men wearing Speedos and/or UGG boots while one poor soul wrenches away under that horrendously fluorescent Firebird while listening to LMFAO’s party music blare from the giant speakers on the trunk. As hilarious and ridiculous as it sounds, it’s tenfold as ridiculous and hilarious in person. Take a second and imagine a 40-year-old man in a dance cage, with a sailor hat, go all out on some unsuspecting girl or guy. For better or for worse, you certainly won’t see this in club racing (Ironic, given the name – Ed.). But if you find yourself at an East Coast LeMons race, you owe it to yourself to stick around Saturday night just to witness the SFPR spectacle.
When it comes to anything in life, especially hobbies, everyone’s always trying to find that perfect balance between work and play. Compared to say, racquetball, LeMons carries a major risk of utterly destroying that balance. For these guys, it fit miraculously well into their lives. Neither their friendships nor their relationships at home ended up like their motor often does—in flames.
Peter described it best: “LeMons fits pretty nicely into my real life. We’re all close friends on the team, and spend a good amount of time together anyway, so we may as well wrench on the car a bit while we’re at it. Plus, working on the car gives us another good reason to get together, and good times are guaranteed when Sorry for Party Racing gets together. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder than I have while lying under the car with a wrench in my hand after hearing a comment from Dean which is probably – no, definitely – unfit to print.” (Now we’re just more curious – Ed.)
I asked Sorry For Party if they’ve gotten anything out of this experience other than just a thinning wallet, as they watch their front calipers break loose. This caused Dean to enact his “mad racing skills” on how not to end up in a wreck.
Peter said, “I spend a lot more time turning wrenches, wearing a Speedo, and partying with blow up zebras. These activities are not always mutually exclusive. Through my involvement with the team I’ve forged a lot of new friendships, and had incredible amounts of fun, both on and off the track.” Which is true because I’ve seen more men in Speedos at LeMons racetracks than I have at beaches in southern France.
Matt had a very similar response: “On a personal note, I blame SFPR for turning me on to the art of wearing a Speedo, which has now infiltrated other parts of my life. Also, chicks dig race car drivers as well as dudes in tights… so thanks for that.”
Dean came up with an explanation that perfectly personifies him: “I suppose I could say something sappy like I learned something, or whatever, but the truth is I haven’t. I am still the 12 year old idiot my ex-wife tells me I am. Actually, she’s giving me too much credit!.”
Finally we have Travis, who delivered a slightly sappy, but honest answer: “It has definitely helped me grow as a person, both in learning about cars, dealing with a team dynamic in pressure situations, and making new friends…. Oh, it also beats the shit out of my bank account and liver!”
So, to sum up Sorry for Party Racing: there’s the obvious lack of clothing and the overly loud dance music coming from their car starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday (as Dean recovers from the night before). But then there’s the less than obvious, the stuff you find out from spending countless hours talking, hanging, and most importantly, partying with these guys. It’s that they’re some of the nicest, craziest, and funniest dudes you’ve ever met; particularly since most of them come from some super serious cubicle jobs during the week.
A final reminder: if you find yourself at a LeMons race on the east coast, go find these guys. You’ll be able to spot their car immediately with its zebra stripes, the inflatable zebra on top, and the group of dudes circled around it with their dongs barely stuffed into way too small man-thongs. Once you do so, say what’s up, hang out, and have yourself a good time.
LeMons Team Profile: Sorry For Party Racing
2 responses to “LeMons Team Profile: Sorry For Party Racing”
Hmmm, not a wedding ring on the bunch. Not that there is anything wrong with that.Loading…
I've seen these guys the past couple of years at the Haloween Hooptiefest at Loudon. Good group of guys. You forgot pictures of their matching pit vehicle!Loading…