24 Hours of LeMons: Arse-Freeze-A-Paloozza 2016 Preview

The 2016 24 Hours of LeMons season draws to a close this weekend at Sonoma Raceway just north of San Francisco and Oakland. California’s Wine Country has now hosted nearly more than a dozen LeMons races, which makes sense since it’s become the de facto “home” race for the series and many teams. December races in Sonoma County can be a weather crapshoot, but with early weather forecasts calling for sun and pleasant temperatures, it should be a perfect race weekend for the 188 registered teams.

“Wait, did he say 188 teams?
Yep, this could very well be the most cars ever to race at Sonoma in one go so expect traffic if you’re going to be driving. So much traffic. As usual, the teams that manage traffic best and get the fewest black flags tend to do the best. Nobody does that better than 10-time winners Cerveza Racing in their BMW E28. Other multiple winners include the rental Model T GT (above), which has won eight times with various teams driving, and six-time winners Eyesore Racing, who will be racing for the 41st time in LeMons with their Frankenmiata.
You should also see some otherprevious winners—Pistola Alto (Nissan 300ZX), Team Blowe’s (Mitsubishi Eclipse), IWannaRoc (Chevy Camaro), Too Stupid to Know Better (Volvo 740), Flying Scotsmen (BMW E30), and Risky Whiskey Racing (Mazda Miata)—in the mix, too. A few other teams have been knocking on the door of a win this year and could become first-time winners, like D.A.R.E. (BMW E36) and the Discount Organ Delivery Racing Team (BMW E30). Tired Iron Racing (Mazda Miata), Old FARTS (Porsche 924S), Bunny With or Without a Pancake On Its Head (VR6-swapped Volkswagen Rabbit), and Team Blackbird (Chevy Camaro) are all regular Top 10 finishers.
Blah Blah Blah, amirite?
Who cares about any of that stuff? You probably just glossed over all of that, as you should. Here are what should be some of the Index of Effluency contenders, “explained” with random Simpsons quotes:
#22 Zitronen Kommando (Volkswagen Vanagon) – “Wow, the TV’s coin operated!” “And so is the Bible.”
#421 Team Westafari (Volkswagen Vanagon) – “So, uh, you guys are Eurotrash, huh?  How’s that, uh, working out for you?
#249 Pony Keg (Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme) – “Excuse me Mr. Hutz, are you a shyster?” 
#81 Bodge Engineering (Toyota 1UZ-swapped Rover 3500 SD1) – “Hey, hey, Mr. Sparkle!  Mr. Sparkle!
#559 Jeepstang (Jeep CJ5) – “I can handle that.  I’m an expert at phony apologies.”
#700 Silicon Junkyard Racing (Datsun 1600) – “Sugar?  Sure . . . here you go.  Sorry it’s not in packages.  Want some cream?” 
#785 Panting Polar Bear Racing (Rambler Classic) – “Hey, hey, I may be ugly and hate filled, but I . . . um . . . what was the third thing you said?”
That’s what you came here for, right? That’s what I came here to do, at least. Here, let’s add a couple more things.
Teams you should know: #147 My Fairlady Mopar (Datsun 280ZX)
At least one of the members of this team is some kind of Chrysler tech, so naturally he swapped Mopar V8 into this rotten Datsun. Strangely, though, he didn’t put an LA-series small block or even one of its later Magnum V8 derivatives in it. Instead, they put in the 4.7-liter Chrysler PowerTech V8 from an early-2000s Chrysler SUV. It’s a weird swap, but on paper a pretty good one: The base 4.7 made 235 horsepower and the high-output ones made 265. As far as we know, they’re the first ones to use the engine and while they haven’t won any races, the engine has lasted several races, or about as good as any average LeMons engines.
About #16 Roadrace Jones (Nissan Sentra)
In my previews going back a few years, I frequently mentioned the Lipstick on a Pig/Roadrace Jones Nissan Sentra SE-R as a possible contender for wins. And every time I did so, something broke on their car. The team always gave me a good-natured ribbing over that when I saw them at the couple of California races I attended, though they never seemed super-concerned with winning races.
Roadrace Jones’ team captain John Burgess died in July. He was always the first to give me a hard time over these predictions, always with a smile on his face and making an introduction even though I knew who he was. I suspect most people in the paddock did.
The Sentra will return to race for the first time without John this weekend. I’m smart enough to not give any expectations on their results, but as John was someone who enjoyed the camaraderie in the LeMons paddock, I can tell you accurately that he’ll be missed.
Here’s some semi-relevant information if you’re racing or following the racing, which you can do right here.

Friday Tech Inspection (PST) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday Session (PST) 10 a.m. to Dusk
Sunday Session (PST) 9 a.m. to Dusk
LeMons Lap Record 1:56.586 – Off-the-Scale, Mazda RX-7 (Sonoma Sprint, 2014)
Overall Winners 2010 – Eyesore Racing (Mazda Miata)
2011 (1) – POS Racing (BMW E30)
2011 (2) – Model T GT (Ford Model T)
2012 – Eyesore Racing (Mazda Miata)
2013 (1) – If It’s Not Punk It’s Junk (BMW E34)
2013 (2) – Cerveza Racing (BMW E28)
2013 (3) – Porch Racing (Porsche 944)
2014 (Sprint) – Pistola Alto (Nissan 300ZX)
2014 (1) – Porch Racing (Porsche 944)
2014 (2) – Depend (Porsche 944)
2015 (1) – Eyesore Racing (Mazda Miata)
2015 (2) – Flying Scotsmen (BMW E30)
2015 (3) – The Faustest Team (BMW E30)
2016 (1) – Pistola Alto (Nissan 300ZX)
Class B Winners 2010 – Filthy Faux GT40 (Ford Escort ZX2)
2011 (1) – Team Harlequin (VW Golf)
2011 (2) – Old Fast Race Team and Sons (Audi 4000)
2012 – Sierra Auto Recycling (Ford Crown Victoria)
2013 (1) – The Flyin’ Hawaiians & 2 White Guys (Datsun 260Z)
2013 (2) – Dirty Duck Racing (VW Rabbit)
2013 (3) – Panting Polar Bear Racing (Ford Crown Victoria)
2014 (Sprint) – Team Prestige (Mercedes C320)
2014 (1) – Hella Shitty Racing (VW Super Beetle)
2014 (2) – 42 Hours of MeLons (Volvo 245)
2015 (1) – ONSET/Tetanus West (Chevy Cavalier)
2015 (2) – Team 5150 (Datsun 240Z)
2015 (3) – Point Breakers (Nissan Sentra)
2016 (1) – Team 5150 (Datsun 240Z)
Class C Winners 2010 – San Diego Minis aka Team Bean aka Spank (Austin Mini)
2011 (1) – Team Tinyvette (Opel GT)
2011 (2) – Team Last Minute (Dodge Colt)
2012 – The Hasseloffs (Toyota Paseo)
2013 (1) – Flaming A-Holes (Jaguar XJ12)
2013 (2) – Spank (Austin Mini)
2013 (3) – Miami Vice (BMW 850iL)
2014 (Sprint) – Hella Shitty Racing (VW Super Beetle)
2014 (1) – Pinewood Dirtbags (Chevy Luv)
2014 (2) – The Black Flags (Toyota Celica Supra)
2015 (1) – Aqua Volvo (Volvo 242)
2015 (2) – Rep-Eat-Offenders (Volvo 240)
2015 (3) – Sheepshaggers (Porsche 914)
2016 (1) – Missfits (Jaguar X-Type)
Index of Effluency Winners 2010 – Air Prance, Oui-We-Can aka Spank (Citroen DS)
2011 (1) – Team Tinyvette (Opel GT)
2011 (2) – Soccer Moms (Dodge Caravan)
2012 – Oly Express (Plymouth Valiant)
2013 (1) – Flaming A-Holes (Sunbeam Imp)
2013 (2) – Spank (Austin Mini)
2013 (3) – The AMCI Starletans (Toyota Starlet)
2014 (Sprint) – Hella Shitty Racing (VW Super Beetle)
2014 (1) – Panting Polar Bear Racing (Rambler Classic)
2014 (2) – Rustang (Ford Mustang)
2015 (1) – Spank the Builder and the Can-Do Crew (Austin Mini Moke)
2015 (2) – Rancho de Llama (Volvo 122)
2015 (3) – The Supranos (Toyota Corona)
2016 (1) – Faster Farms (Plymouth Belvedere)

[All photos Murilee Martin and Nick Pon]

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6 responses to “24 Hours of LeMons: Arse-Freeze-A-Paloozza 2016 Preview”

  1. Sjalabais Avatar

    That Model T above – very liberally named, I guess – could be developed into a homage to one of film history’s most remarkable cars, Il Tempo Gigante:

    1. Lokki Avatar

      I had never seen or even heard of Il Tempo gigante until this morning …. but I think I’m in love.
      Here’s a short video of it being fired up which I found on YouTube.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        You have probably figured it out by now, but it is based on Norway’s only blockbuster ever: A stop motion movie named “Flåklypa Grand Prix” (Pinchcliffe GP).

  2. needthatcar Avatar

    We’ll be there with the FX32, loosely representing Hooniverse. Twin engines, and now with two MANUAL transmissions! New look, new number (113). Stop by and say hi!

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      Will do. I’m going to be tooling around the paddock on Saturday.

  3. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    I’m sure the Rover vs Hyundai vs Rambler vs Willys class C battle will be epic!