Thursday, October 29, 2009

Initial Recap of Yee-Haw it's LeMons Texas - 2009

Now that I've had a few days to recover from the 2009 running of Yee-Haw It's LeMons Texas, I must say that it was very fun but not entirely successful for our team.
  • With the larger number of entries, the race was run on the full-length MSR Houston track instead of the shorter "North Loop" that was used for October 2008 and February 2009. The additional space made it less crowded and I enjoyed the variety. One's approach does change substantially without the tire chicane and with the higher approach speeds returning from the southern portion of the track.
  • Now that we've done several races our organization is much better and we were much better at our driver changes and pit stops. The headsets and radios we recently purchased have been a huge help there. Instead of watching the clock and wondering, we can discuss fuel levels and stint time with the driver.
  • Also, the "network effect" is kicking in with interacting with other teams. The paddock at any 24 Hours of LeMons race is always an entertaining, friendly place, with technical advice and tool loans available -- but it's even better when the discussions and loans are with people we've met before and know are trustworthy, fun people. It's even happening with food: over the weekend I ate nicely from generously offered gumbo, BBQ ribs, and boiled shrimp from different teams. We shared beer.
  • Ramon got a bus. He then painted it to match the race cars. Juan drove the bus to the track where people fell in love with it, and it even became the pace car. I don't think a LeMons pace car has ever been able to give so many people a tour of the racing line at once-- Doctawife said the bus had about 20 people on it.
Cons of the weekend:
  • Sadly, one of our cars developed a host of hard-to-trace electrical issues that kept it off the track for far too much of the time.
  • Also, another team we know well (Brian and Joe) had issues with their car too
  • I and the other drivers in the other car weren't able to offer much help to either non-running car since duties on the functional car kept us pretty busy.
  • Thanks to other events planned for the weekend (for example, a friend's wedding) not all of the team stayed at the track Saturday night, denying us some of our usual hang-out-and-BS bonding time.
  • Unlike the last two Texas races, even our "reliable" neon wasn't running at the checkered flag due to bad wheel bearings. It's a little thing in the larger scheme of things (31st is 31st no matter how you slice it) but just having a car running at the end puts a nice glow to the end of the race. Endurance racing is all about persistence, and not getting to the end is a bummer.
Enough carping. The only postmortem that matters is that we will be back, and even more of our friends and family are interested in giving it a try. Gator-o-rama 2010, here we come!
Photo mishmash follows.

Rich's semi-truck/Transformers themed pickupRich rebuilt our cage and printed up our beer-label stickers. This is the other thing he was building: a small pickup now disguised as a semi!

Pace bus!Pace bus!

Oktoberfest churning away, not long before the wheel bearings were deemed too messed up to continue.Oktoberfest churning away, not long before the wheel bearings were deemed too messed up to continue.

Lawnmower at speed
One of the good laps for Lawnmower. The car has great handling when it goes, which is why the electrical issues were so frustrating.

Oktoberfest gets pushed back to the pit...and the day is done. The bearings had wallowed out enough to interfere with brake operation.

Spike and Brian hitch a ride on the CapriStang: Mercury Capri front, Mustang back.Spike and Brian hitch a ride on the CapriStang. This was likely the 'stang's last race since the old cage needs replacing.

Jay Lamm addressing the crowd at the awards ceremony
Jay Lamm addresses the masses at the awards ceremony.

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