Monday, June 8, 2009

Another dose of LeMons Lessons

A longer re-cap will have to wait until we have pulled photos from our cameras, but here are a few things we learned at Laissez Les Crapheaps Roulez this past weekend. For other information about the teams that actually won and stuff, I recommend Jalopnik.
  • LeMons tech inspectors are being much pickier about cage construction, and if not for the friendship we've developed with Brian & Marty's 4-cylinder Mustang team from Dallas, we would not have been able to race. Brian saved our weekend with some much-needed welding.
  • Having radios and a headset for the driver is really nice. Far better than pit boards and hand signals. Maybe I'll send Brian a set as a thank-you.
  • No Problem Raceway is a good facility, but only so-so for spectating when one has to remain near the pit areas. We needed more people with us so I could go hang out in the bleachers with the good view!
  • The teams who went were really cool to talk with, helpful in cross-team cooperation to solve problems, and I hope to see lots of them in Houston in October.
  • Oil leaks can really ruin your weekend.
  • So can overheating.
  • So can loose coil wires. Always, always, always check all the connections first.
  • Finally, perhaps rebuilding an engine on Wednesday to race on Saturday was... optimistic.
Results? The Margarita Neon is just not as well sorted engine-wise as the Tetanus Neon, but it does corner and brake quite well. So, um, we did some laps. Two more than it got in Gator-o-Rama in fact, and on a longer course, but it was sadly not running at the end of the race. About 50 teams entered, 46 started the race, and we came in 40th.

Read Jalopnik for the story on the unexpected flight of the team voted Peoples' Curse. That's right, rather than watch their $500 Miata get crushed, they trailered their car right out of the racetrack.

As I see it, some folks have difficulty tamping down their own competitive spirit for the amateur-filled crapheap LeMons experience, and that leads to problems as they fly by all the novice drivers. Brian said it simply: "Nobody wins LeMons." My own version: once you enter the 24 Hours of LeMons, you are a participant, not a competitor. While LeMons wears the trappings of a competitive driving event, in reality it's a wacky circus of unreliable cars and shoddy drivers. Set aside your game face and put a smile on instead, even if you have to use clown makeup to do so.

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