Because I’m the giving type and because I’m dedicated to the tens of Hoons and 24 Hours of LeMons fans worldwide who read my crapcan muckraking, I’m going to share some photos I didn’t get around to publishing in today’s live blog from the Penalty Box at Road America. It was a chilly, yet mostly dry, day with some incredibly close racing. The top three cars in Class A/Overall and in Class B are all on the same lap. Follow the jump to see happenings from Day One of the Chubba Cheddar Enduro.
The Le Mopar Simca 1204 vowed never to surrender and, despite mechanical maladies, it has not yet surrendered.
This being my first trip to Road America, I was wholly unprepared for the awesomeness of the track in every respect. The elevation changes are simply impossible to convey in photos and the dazzling fall colors capture one’s attention in heretofore unimaginable ways. Five minutes at the track will simply make you get it. This track is incredible.
This MN12 Mercury Cougar may have nuked its head gaskets after just a couple hours, but its livery looks pretty stunning with that background.
I always wonder what’s going through drivers’ minds just before they head onto the track. In my head, I usually try to envision the track and give myself a pep-talk, but that’s usually subverted by a mental chorus of absolute terror.
The LeMons Penalty Box saw two marriage proposals a scant 60 minutes or so apart. This, the latter of them, saw the happy couple celebrating madly when she said yes.
As usual, paddock repairs are the order of any LeMons race. The PBR Light E30 replaced a head gasket for most of the afternoon, but that Bimmer sounded great when it was running. The Wreckto Gizmo squad tired of their Merkur XR4Ti’s turbo Pinto motor going AWOL after two hours, so they put a Ford V8 under the bonnet instead. Naturally, the car’s transmission decided to give them fits instead.
Even if you can’t win LeMons races, it’s very important that your crapcan sounds good. The Pabst Blue Ribbon Northstar-swapped Nissan Maxima and the Cannonball Bandits’ GM Vortec-swapped Toyota Supra are two of the absolute best-sounding cars on the track, although they’ve both been relegated to the bottom half of the standings after mechanical woes.
Sir Jackie Stewart’s Coin Purse Racing have brought one of the most profoundly slow cars, a 79-horsepower Ford EXP, to America’s fastest road course. Still, the car continues to plug along like a troooper.
The K-It-Forward Plymouth Reliant, run by Majicbus, have been surprisingly reliable, aside from a few minor niggles.
Road America’s “Thunder Valley” is a sublime place to watch racing. The track runs between a pair of 50-foot ridges, where exhaust noises reverberate in a most-satisfying manner. The Windy City BMW 2002 is P5 in Class C, where it’s run mostly quietly and cleanly. The streamer from the “footwell” is one of the most excellently executed thematic pieces I’ve ever seen.
Although the race only saw 56 total black (non-mechanical) black flags, it wasn’t without serious incident. NMF Racing’s Volkswagen Jetta clobbered a tire wall. The driver was generally OK, aside from being shaken up and bruised from the harness straps.
Check back tomorrow for more live coverage from the Penalty Box!