Sunday, November 28, 2010

Other views of the race

I didn't pull my camera out very often during the race weekend, but fortunately others did and have shared links on the 24 Hours of Lemons forums. During last weekend's Laissez les Crapheaps Roulez race in Belle Rose, LA, Ron Vickers caught a great picture of a driver change in the Neon. He also took some action shots of the Jetta and Fairmont that caught my eye. Thanks, Ron! [click any image to see Ron's full-size photos.]
TetanusRacing driver change, photo by Ron Vickers
SNAFU Racing Polizei Jetta, photo by Ron Vickers
TetanusRacing Neon and Property Devaluation Racing Fairmont, photo by Ron Vickers
I highly recommend visiting the forums and looking over the "Pics, pics, pics (and vids)" category after each race to see not just the cars-in-action shots, but also the various photos of the paddock activity and the people involved in Lemons.

Aftermath: Laissez les Crapheaps Roulez 2010

OK, I've recovered enough from the race (and the Thanksgiving festivities are over) -- so here's the aftermath post. It's unfortunate that the fog turned a 24-hour race into a 19-hour race, but the forced rest was very welcome. True 24-hour Lemons races are exhausting.

Joe pilots the Neon at speed at dusk
Joe piloted the Neon from dusk until full dark.

Circuit Grand Bayou is notorious for being tough on tires, so we took along lots of them-- one sacrificial set for practice from our VW, plus two full sets of stickier tires for the race and two unmounted tires. Our in-race tire changes would have been substantially slower and tougher if we hadn't been pitted right next to our Jetta-driving colleagues. (Tetanus Racing is a "spin-off" of SNAFU Racing, essentially. Chuck & Andy have been using the SNAFU name for over a decade.) Each time we had to do a tire change on the Neon or the Jetta, we had two full teams of people grabbing tools and tires so it was a great feeling of teamwork to get those stops done quickly.

SNAFU Racing's police JettaSNAFU Racing went with a German police theme for the Jetta's debut.

As the racing resumed, we were excited to be in the top ten cars-- 10th place! Mary started the day for us and we think we even got all the way up to 8th place briefly. Unfortunately our emotions got the best of us and we pushed a little too hard, ending up with several black flags for two-wheels-off moments. Still, we did have a running car at the end of the race and got our best finish yet: 9th place. The race had 47 cars start, and about half were running on the afternoon of day 2.

The Jetta placed in 31st, which was a nice showing for the car's debut. They had some issues with the exhaust system popping some leaks, a fuel-pump that popped a wire loose, and also had some black-flag incidents due to spins on their rock-hard second-hand tires-- but when it ran it handled well.

Hearty congratulations to Brian and the Property Devaluation team for their win of the Index of Effluency at this race. Brian has applied the skills & knowledge he used for the CapriStang we took to Ohio to make a wickedly fast Ford Fairmont station wagon.
Property Devaluation Racing's Ford Fairmont race car

My thanks go to Property Devaluation & SNAFU Racing for pit-stop help, to Glen for Neon-tuning advice, to Lemons HQ & CGB for making this a 24-hour race, and to the Firkin & Phoenix for the encouragement (and snazzy team T-shirts to boot).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday racing

After the fog delay, racing resumed about 8:30. Mary started the day then handed off to Shauna. We've kept a good pace but might have slipped out of the top ten. Regardless we are having big fun and hope to keep rolling along!


We are stuck off the track for a while. Too foggy for racing so everybody's parked for several hours.

Seven hours in

I finished my first stint about an hour ago. Tetanus Neon is running strong but Circuit Grand Bayou is tough on tires.

During my first genuine 24-hour race in Lemons (Nelson Ledges, October 2009), I had a tough time with night racing but I'm doing better this time around. Andy seems to be a night-driving natural and got some great laps in, and Joe as always is smooth and quick. He did get a black flag for going off track in an evasive maneuver but no harm done. Mary is having to switch from contacts back to her glasses but she'll get back out there in a while.

Sadly the Jetta had to park for a bit due to some spinouts but they'll be back on track shortly.

The field was about 47 cars but several are already out with mechanical maladies so just by plugging along we are solidly in the top half so far. Here's hoping for more laps and no more drama!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

We have friends

We aren't here at Circuit Grand Bayou alone. Snafu Racing brought a Jetta.

Shauna and Rob have gotten their first tastes of Lemons racing and done well. Onward into the night!

The rusty neon returns to action

We have been silent here for too long but it has been a busy year in 24 hours of lemons. I may have to do some retrospective posts later, but this weekend is all about a return to Louisiana.
Tetanus Neon has grown lights to run in a true 24-hour race, and we even have a sponsor. The Houston pub Firkin and Phoenix has bought us some great team shirts and hosted a fun happy hour event for local Lemons teams. Wish us luck, we have been running now for 52 minutes so there is lots of time to go.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 2-- Lemons Texas

Brian is leading off the day. He had time in the car in Louisiana but today is his first session on a dry track with good tires. Go Briguy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alive again

The debris from our louisiana clutch malfunction caused our downtime today. We removed the debris and Joe got in some laps and we will be back out there in the morning.

Car problems

Well it ran well for over an hour but then suddenly wouldn't start at our first driver change. Wrenches away!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yee-Haw It's Lemons Texas: 2010 edition

OK, we've been remiss in updating things here-- full Louisiana recap and pictures will have to be added as a retrospective. Short version is that the clutch cable broke, we had much adventure and ingenuity in repairing it, and we came in 22nd. (Out of 33 cars. Ouch.)

Now it's time for another rendition of Yee-Haw, It's Lemons Texas, the Lemons race at the track closest to home. Big complement of drivers this time: Mary, Chris, Andy, Mike, and rejoining us are Brian and Joe. Louisiana didn't scare them off, apparently.

We went through tech inspection today. Mostly good, but as always the Powers That Be found something to ask us to fix-- relocation of a seat belt mounting point was the bugaboo this time. While awaiting our turn we were entertained by watching organizer Jay Lamm swinging at a pinata brought along by the luchadore-themed team TiredBird Racing and Mike even got a picture.

It has been painfully warm & humid so we'll be going through a ton of water and sports drinks tomorrow. We'll try to get a few posts up here as time and energy permit, plus watch for posts on Twitter from Mike (@quackmak) now and again.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Laissez les Crapheaps Roulez 2010 Entry Essay

We're hooligans... hooligans with jobs.

That's how we afford this ridiculous sport.

Unfortunately, we don't have good jobs, or we'd race something sexier. Like a Lancia or a Tata. So instead, we're racing the same piece of crap Neon we've always raced... poorly. We hope to kick ass, take names and hopefully run away fast enough that our asses don't get pulverized.

And oh yeah, the whole 'true 24' thing? WE CAN'T F'ING WAIT!!! I'm so excited I can't even speak. In an ideal world, drag racing and Lemons will occur SIMULTANEOUSLY! And then the world will end. And I will be content.

That is all.


So, no pics, but regardless, it's time for an update!

We're coming down to the wire, people. The next MSR race is Sept 11th and 12th... and the car is still sitting on blocks. Why, you ask? We're having the hubs redone. Nothing is broken, per se, but an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Oh, and that clutch cable? Well, apparently self adjusting Neon clutch cables are notoriously finicky. And a total PITA to replace. So yeah, we discovered how annoying they are... personally. Grr! Thankfully, the repair (eventually) succeeded.

Now I'm off to panic some more about how little time is left and how much needs doing... EEK!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Back in action

Brian had the misfortune of the clutch cable breakage during his first
lap. Many hours of fixing are done so he will start off our day

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Louisiana adventure

Although we've been quiet on the blog of late, there has been lots of
activity with tetanus neon of late to get it ready for Louisiana. We
are here and were doing nicely but now have some setbacks. First was a
flat tire, easily fixed, but now we've broken the clutch cable. Mary
and Joe have headed to junkyard while Brian and I try to jury-rig it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Motor Mount? Why?

Here's the culprit:

That wasn't the only damage; our CV joint on the passenger side is toast:

It spits grease at us. Not good for my manicure. My patients wonder what the hell I do on my off time when I show up with this stuff under my nails. That duct tape performed pretty well, tho. It held up for three races. Unfortunately now we just need a new one. Bummer.

The rest is just body damage. I think we'll just drill a self tapper into the middle of the damage and pull it out.

Greetings, Jalops

We've been mentioned and linked to in the piece about the flipping Escort at last weekend's Gator-O-Rama, so I just wanted to say hello and welcome to the Jalopnik readers & commentariat.

Here's the short version: we are a bunch of long-time friends & gearheads in Houston who had read of Lemons when Car & Driver went to Altamont, so when the first Texas race was announced we found an old Neon and dove in. Suffice it to say we loved it-- I've done six races now in three cars, and that original Neon has been in four races. Please hit the navigation tree on the right to look through the archives or even start at the beginning; I went back and did some re-reading and was amused at what we first went racing with.

Thinking of entering the 24 Hours of Lemons yourself? Do it. Find yourself a beater and dive in. Everyone started without a clue, and I will admit that although we may be more organized now, and placed (a little) better in our latest race, the greatest sense of accomplishment was from nursing our little rusty neon racecar through our very first race.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lemon drops #1: hood pins

I love checking out the other cars in the paddock at 24 Hours of Lemons events. I really love watching for when I see something the team has done to their car to make life easier that is cheap, easy, and clever enough to make people say, "Dang, why didn't I think of that?" It's time to start documenting these Lemon Drops like I've said I would for so long.

Today's topic: hood pins. While they're not required by the Lemons rulebook, they are highly recommended by those who know better than I. Last weekend at Gator-O-Rama 2010, the team driving the Gremlin had their hood pop open on the track, so odds that they will have hood pins in the future are very short.

On TetanusNeon, we have installed captive hood pins, where the pin is always kept in a track that is screwed to the hood. I think they cost us a tiny bit more than normal hood pins, but have since realized their greatest advantage-- it's impossible to misplace the pin. Well, at least without losing the hood too, in which case you've got greater organizational issues than first thought.

radiator hose around the postOur captive hood pin (back when it had Oktoberfest coloration). Other teams will often use a screw or rivet and just run a ziptie or some wire to normal hood pins to keep them attached to the hood, and our friend Brian at Property Devaluation racing has a long habit of zip-tying a few extra hood pins onto the roll cage just in case someone manages to lose one during a pit stop.
captive hood pin, screwed to hoodBut hey, hood pins aren't cheap and clever. Clever was what our teammate Andy did -- he cut off a few inches of discarded radiator hose (you did have enough budget in your Lemon to yank that ancient dry-rotted heater hose, right?) and put pieces over the hood-pin's posts. This means we have to slightly push the hood down to compress the hoses when sliding the pins in, and then it springs back against the pins, keeping everything from vibrating as much and keeping the pins from sliding out too easily.
Have you seen a neat-but-cheap racing trick I can turn into a Lemon Drop post? If so, send me a note through the comments and we'll turn you into a guest author for a day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recap: Gator-O-Rama 2010 Day #2

After a night with too much cake, and maybe perhaps a couple of beers, the 0815a driver's meeting rolled around pretty early. However, we rallied and got ourselves out on the track without too much drama. Chris drove first, then Andy. Chris' stint ended with a pretty awesome spin out. We've got film... maybe we'll post it someday. Fortunately, drivers' swaps were a snap.

Mike (driver #3) had just gotten in the car when the infamous People's Curse began at noon. Some yahoo team had abandoned their car at the track, so the Powers That Be at 24h Lemons HQ decided to crush the poor neglected heap. The crusher driver was one determined dude - he wanted to pry that engine out. Unfortunately, he failed, but his efforts amused.

And then my turn came... as did the rain. Our tires were scrubbed by this point. Furthermore, every car still on the track was hemorrhaging oily fluids - brake fluid, motor oil, transmission fluid, illegal coolant, whatever. Can we say slickery? Yes, we can! Every turn I lost grip at least once. Every third turn I lost enough traction that I thought I would spin. Yet, somehow, I didn't. I made the checkered flag!

My pit neighbor and race friends Team JDL - Swamp Jews also cruised under the checkered flag. As long as the menorah remains, they'll always be "Shabat Shalom M*****F*****s!" to me.

The final results: 23rd place. Very respectable.

The award table. We get none of these.

Having helped us see the light, Chief Perp Jay Lamm greets his loyal flock.

Judge Johnny and Judge Phil did a great job. They handled an inordinate amount of idiots without losing their cool, always had something interesting to say and just generally amused me. Which is, of course, the point.

If you're worried about the apocalypse, worry more. A SHO has won the 24 Hours of Lemons.

This is the "We Got Screwed" trophy. This year it went to a Geo Metro that, if their plans had gone correctly, would have been competing for the "Heroic Fix" award. Needless to say, their plans failed.

These idiots won the "Dangerous Banned Technology" award. How, you might ask? By pumping smoking oil into the passenger compartment. No shit.

A truly terrible car won the "Judge's Choice" trophy below. Even without having seen the car, I would have known that it was terrible. How else would zip-tied Twizzlers be an 'award'? (Actually the car was a pretty cool Lincoln with fins. But Twizzlers? --CPC)

These are the nudists. They won "Organizer's Choice". They made awesome food and actually went pretty damn fast. One of their cars was in the top ten. Question: Why are nudists good at a sport that requires copious amounts of specialized clothing?

And finally, here's Troy. He won the "Index of Effluency." I can't explain Troy. Troy has a history on the 24 Hours of Lemons forums for being amusing, annoying, long-winded and insufferable. But we all love him, and we're happy he won I of E... but I'm even happier about the duct tape.

Our team; happy, stinky, proud and tired. We'll see y'all in Louisiana.

Recap: Gator-O-Rama 2010 Day #1

Gator-O-Rama 2010 day #1 dawned cold and misty. My grumpy mood was immediately lifted when I saw this:

Property Devaluation Racing had a broken engine sitting in the paddock. All was right with my world.

Every year the Chief Perp Jay Lamm knows that chaos lurks around the corner at Gator-O-Rama. Yet every year he attempts to keep us all from acting like idiots on the track at the mandatory driver's meeting. This year, yet again, he failed.

I had the first shift. Mike ran late, so I threw on my race gear at the last second. No time for nerves, but plenty of time for smiles.

128 teams entered, 121 eventually hit the track. I have no idea how many made it to the starting line up, but I'd say it was more than a few.

There are two legal places to fuel. One is in the hot pits, in full race gear. The second is at the track pump, where you'll pay $1 more per gallon than at the local shoot and loot. Guess where we're going. Yes, I will pay a convenience tax, thank you very much.

And here's the reason we were heading to refeul: we'd been pulled from the track for a black flag. Mike, driver #2, had contact with two other cars. Not his fault (of course) but still penalty worthy. We got the so-called "Bart Simpson" - we had to write "Three-ways are not as much fun as they look" on the car fifty times. We figured that while we were off, we might as well gas up.

And do a driver's change, of course.

I don't have any shots of Andy's stint (driver #3). I do have a sequence from Chris' stint below. He looks pretty good, doesn't he?

Day #1 lasted nine, yes NINE, hours. So I had the privilege of taking the checked flag for our first day at Gator-O-Rama 2010. The car ran beautifully, we didn't wreck (much) and we ended the day comfortably in the top half of the pack. The TetanusNeon needed rest.

Oh, and did I mention Chris had a birthday Saturday? Happy birthday, have some cake!