24 Hours of LeMons: 'Arse-Freeze-Apalooza' preview at Sonoma Raceway

California’s Sonoma region is renowned for its micro-climate producing some remarkable grapes for wine production and the region thereby being known as a Classy Place. Having once visited there, I mostly think it’s a place where well-to-do people (or well-to-do hangers-on) find it socially acceptable to get snockered on scads of wine, which they can then discuss with other people getting tore up on the fermented grape juice. To offset the balance of Classy Places and the well-to-do’s watering holes, the 24 Hours of LeMons will visit the region’s Sonoma Raceway three times in the next four months or so, starting with this weekend’s Arse-Freeze-Apalooza.
Arse-Freeze is longest-running race in the LeMons’ calendar, having been held at four different racetracks since 2007 and it is also 2014’s season-ending race. This means that it will decide who wins the season championships (that I haven’t really been keeping track of) and that LeMons has somehow survived its seventh full season of racing. Enough of my rambling here, however, because there’s plenty more after the jump.


As usual for these previews, I’ll just pluck the highlights and toss out a few words on what to expect from a handful of teams. Seeing as I didn’t even bother to ask for an entry list until yesterday, these are necessarily rushed, but I think I do my best work when I’m under the pressure of a bizarre, self-imposed deadline. The entry list features 183 cars, most of which are likely to turn up (California races are generally wait-listed so if your entry is accepted, you generally turn up) and forecasts are already indicating this might be a soggy weekend, two conditions that should produce some entertaining and unpredictable racing all weekend.
We’ll start the preview by discussing the cars I expect to see in Class C, which is the eternal refuge of the cars least fit for motor racing and, naturally, the most interesting on the racetrack. As ever, these classing distinctions are made officially at the racetrack the day before the race by an esteemed panel of judges and my pitching into classes is based on my experience following the series and also of necessity to have someway to break up the monotony for all of you readers.
Onward and downward with the preview.
#403 PeugeotDaddy (Peugeot 404, above) – In a class of slow cars, this luxurious old Pug is a solid contender for slowest of the slow. It leans lasciviously in turns and looks so ver’ French.
#447 Team Tinworm (Humber Super Snipe) – I’ll admit I’d never heard of a Humber Super Snipe before LeMons and this is the second Super Snipe this team has run after the first one rolled and was damaged beyond repair.
#907 Old Crows B (Jensen Healey) – One of two Jensen Healeys in the field.
#973 Bangers N Mash (Jensen Healey, above) – The second of two Jensen Healeys. While the Lotus 907 engine puts out very respectable power numbers for LeMons (144 crank horsepower fromt he factory), it has also been devastatingly unreliable in LeMons.Either of these should be in the Index of Effluency running if the engine internals internal.
#74 B-Team Just Plain Stupid (Lotus Elite) – Speaking of Lotus power, this Lotus lacks it. Instead, it features a somehow-less-reliable Small-Block Chevy V8.
#81 Pit Crew Revenge (Rover SD1) – The world’s first RoLex with the 3.5-liter Rover V8 pitched and replaced instead with a Lexus 1UZ-FE V8. If the electronics behave, this could actually be a 260-horsepower rocket.
#111 Pit Crew Revenge B (Jaguar XJ) – Pit Crew Revenge will field seven cars at this race and one of them is a late 1970s Jaguar. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
#50 Flaming A-Holes (Sunbeam Imp) – Just as the Jensen Healeys run a famed British engine, the Imp runs a (very basic) version of the Coventry Climax engine, which won two Formula One world championships. So this is pretty much a 40-horsepower F1 car if I understand the transitive property.
#151 & #61 Crash Test Mummies (MGB & Ford Fiesta) – Both entries are from 1978. Good year for cars.
#53 Team -Ing With Bad Ideas (Volkswagen Beetle) – This team’s name was selected through no accident, though one has to wonder if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy after they’ve been through more engines than I can remember.
#168 Team Last Minute (Dodge Colt, above) – There could be a nice Malaise Era compact sub-class race here between the Colt, the Starlet, and the above-mentioned ’78 Fiesta.
#404 As Seen on TV Racing B (Toyota Starlet) – This was listed on the entry list as a Starolla or something, so it may very well have a Carolla engine of some sort in the tiny chassis. That might make it the favorite in the just-christened-while-working-backward-from-a-bad-acronym Malaise Era (Trash) Compactor Awards Revue (METCAR).
#419 LaHonda Bandits Racing Grope B (Porsche 914) – It’s a 914, so it just might win the class.
#25 Blame the Duster (’74 Plymouth Duster) – Most LeMons-budget, pre-Malaise Mopar comes with a Slant Six. I still don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, but they tend to be reliable.
#172 Dudes Ex Machina (Plymouth Valiant) – Hey look, another Slant Six racer.
#49 Pony Keg (Oldsmobile Cutlass) – A boxy ’80s Cutlass covered in fur to resemble a pinto pony. Nothing much to add.
#661 Planned Obsolescence (Buick Skyhawk) – This Skyhawk campaigns a proto-Buick 3800 V6, which is another very reliable LeMons six-cylinder engine.
#182 The Black Flags (Toyota Celica Supra) – This Supra has run well more than 20 races and looks the part.
#191 I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better (Volvo 242, above) – Stock, early Volvo bricks tend to be very slow. This one is no exception.
#241 A-POX Racing (Volvo 142) – What’s slower than a stock 240? This, which might be the first Volvo 140 in LeMons.


We now find ourselves parsing Class B, which is the refuge of cars that have either dominated Class C or are not quite capable enough to compete in Class A. It’s a strange class, populated by competent old cars and oddly reliable econoboxes. Here’s what to expect from this hodgepodge of racin’ cars (and trucks), presented in no particular order.
#282, #383, & #484 Pinewood Dirtbags (3 Chevy Luvs, two pictured above) – Chevy Luv racetrucks are like people having sex: It’s great when there are two involved, but it sure gets crazy if three are. Or maybe that just makes it super awkward. Either way, this is Pinewood Dirtbags’ first experience with a trio and they apparently are open to new experiences.
#27 & #67 Model T GT and Pinto Bean Bandits (2 Ford Pintos) – What’s better than one Pinto? The answer would usually be no Pintos, but the Pinto Bean Bandits have added an incredibly brown Pinto Cruising Wagon to their stable.
#776 Star Spangled Buttholes (Nissan Sentra) – Because the team name “Glittering starfish” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
#908 Easy 908/14 (Porsche 914) – Hey, look. Bradley Brownell drove this car.
#911 Hella Sh***y Racing (Porsche 911) – Hey, look. Bradley Brownell drove this car.
#51 Stealth Alien Hunters (Pontiac Fiero) – Hey, look. Bradley Brownell drove this car. Ctrl+V overload.
#333 Occupy Pit Lane (Chevy Camaro, above) – One of the two LeMons cars to participate in a Penalty Box photo shoot with the Camaro ZL1. Let’s see how many times I can reference that article.
#302 Learning2Turn (Pontiac Firebird) – A V6 Firebird that could very well win Class B.
#850 Miami Vice (BMW 850i) – The team made a video of their car preparation.
#746 Flailing Lizard Motorsports (Ford Escort ZX2) – At Thunderhill—the largest race in series history—this car finished second in class and in the Top 10 with something like the 150th fastest lap. That’s pretty incredible.
#408 Killer Rabbit Racing Team (Volkswagen GTI) – Also at Thunderhill, this car finished DFL in 228th place, which might be the lowest finishing position in any motor race ever. Things can only get better for them, right?
#94 Communists R Not Us (BMW E21) – This car is long overdue for a Class B win.
#97 Duck It Racing (Ford Focus,a bove) – It’s a giant duck with teeth. So that’s neat.
#3, #9, #11, & #77 New York Rock Exchange (Ford Focus, Volkswagen Scirocco, Honda Del Sol, and BMW E30) – It’s conceivable that all of NYRE’s cars end up in Class A. The over/under on their highest finish is probably somewhere around 25th, even with four bullets in their proverbial gun.
#181 The GMObiles (Chevy El Camino) – The automotive inverse mullet: Business in the back, party in the front. There’s another awkward threesome joke in there somewhere, but I’m not reaching for it. Have at it in the comments section.
#185 Sheepshaggers (Chevy Camaro) – With Holden stopping domestic production after 2017, this “Holden-ized” Camaro could be the future of V8 Supercars. Hell, send Australia some old third-generation Camaros and Fox Body Mustangs and let them duke it out to be All-Time Masters of Pulleys ‘n’ Flows.
#808 Licensed to Ill (Chevy S-10) – It’s been making the boom for many years now.
#8 Team Tinyvette (Opel GT) – Twice a Class C winner, a(n unofficial) Bonneville (LeMons) record holder, a museum piece, and a display (along with Licensed to Ill and a few others) at the San Francisco International Auto Show. It looks amazing, too.
#108 Red Hot Chili Poopers (Chevy Aveo) – I drove an Aveo as a rental car in Alaska once. It felt moments from grenading the entire six days I was stuck with it. How this car survived one race, let alone a half dozen, is beyond me.
#689 Clown Victorious (Ford Crown Victoria) – This car spent the last three hours of its race at Thunderhill with the automatic transmission on the verge of failure, but there was never an earth-shattering kaboom.
#171 Old Crows A (Ford Mustang) – These chaps will fall into a Class B win eventually.
#198 Pizza Planet Delivery (Mazda B2200,a bove) – Some high-school students spent their shop class hours building this Wankel-powered Mazda pickup and turning it into the pizza delivery truck from Toy Story. I have a soft spot for Braaap Trucks.
#588 42 Hours of MeLons (Volvo 245) – Long story short: I worked the Thunderhill LeMons race, where the daytime high temperature was somewhere around 105 degrees. The crew of this Watermelon-themed Volvo repeatedly brought over trays full of cut watermelon, which was absolutely perfect for the weather. One driver also carved this masterpiece of LeMons artwork.
#211, #511, & #611 White Trash Barbie/Ken Racing (3 Saturn SC2s) – At Thunderhill in 2013, this team entered six cars in the 184-car field and the six finished P138, P141, P149, P150, P183, and P184. They appear to be having fun always despite having single-handedly sunk the Saturn reliability rankings in the LeMons Torture Test.


Here’s where you can be about 99 percent sure you’ll find the overall race winner. This is the class for the purpose-built sports cars or cars with some performance potential, at least. This might be a good place to talk strategy. The race hours are scheduled until “Dusk,” which should be around 5 p.m. local time. That gives seven hours of racing Saturday and eight hours Sunday; running each day on two fuel stops will create an advantage, so look for the race winners to be pushing for two hours and 40 minutes on Sunday.
Enough of that, though. Here’s the preview, again in no particular order.
#23 and #32 Pistola Alto (2 Nissan 300ZXs, above) – When you nuke an engine and swap in an old track pace car mill of unknown quality, clearly the answer to any questions for the next race is to add a second car to the team.
#553 Eyesore Racing (Mazda Miata) – If you didn’t know it, this weekend is also the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill race and while many LeMons drivers will have an eye on the live timing from Thunderhill, Eyesore Racing’s Dave Coleman will probably be at Thunderhill to run Mazdaspeed’s efforts with the diesel Mazda6s. So that’s neat.
#4 How Are Thos Guys Winning (Eagle Talon) – An automatic Eagle Talon is not a car one would think of as a contender, but this one has racked up six consecutive Top 10 finishes.
#2 Cerveza Racing (BMW E28) – Seven wins all-time and heavy favorites for an eighth.
#711 Learning2Turn A (Chevy Corvette) – Nobody wants 1984 Corvettes so they’re starting to creep into LeMons. Why doesn’t anyone want an ’84 Corvette? Because they’re terrible. Absolutely wretched.
#99 Clergy MC (Mazda Miata) – This team have raced a Nissan NX2000 for several years and have finally retired it for a Miata. What a downgrade from a quirky-but-fast sport compact.
#248 BLowe’s Racing (Mitsubishi Eclipse) – They actually looked good for a win at Sonoma earlier this year, but a terminal failure with two hours left ended the glimmer of hope that a DSM might finally nab a LeMons win.
#242 Paranoid Androids (BMW E30) – Would be much better if it wasn’t an E30 and was instead a Ford Prefect.
#37 Caffeine Unlimited (BMW E30, above) – This car has been around a long time with the same sweet livery.
#89 Whale Wars Racing (Mitsubishi 3000GT) – A $500 3000GT likely will win nothing but excited gesturing by fanboys, but if by some miracle it doesn’t explode, it might manage to finish in the top quarter of the field. No, I don’t know the meaning of the phrase “faint praise,” why do you ask?
#36 The Supranos (Toyota Supra) – The best Toyota Supra pun-based theme.
#87 ONSET/Tetanus West (Chevy Cavalier) – The finicky steed of probably-going-to-be-LeMons-driver-champion Anton Lovett. It’s reasonably fast with the V6.
#942 Porch Racing (Porsche 944) – One year ago, Porch broke the curse of Porsche in LeMons with the first Porsche win in series history. It then won its next race, also at Sonoma.
#552 The Cannonball Bandits (Toyota Supra) – This Supra gets its power from a GM truck engine and it sounds positively mean. It won’t ever win, but it will be one of the five fastest cars.
#92 Model T GT and Pinto Bean Bandits (Ford Model T) – The T GT is a consummate contender, as its five race wins will indicate.
#189 Tired Iron Racing (Mazda Miata) – The Miata has four consecutive Top 10 finishes and five in its last six races. Expect more of the same from the Miata.
#737 Sour Aviation Racing (Ford Mustang) – In two races this year, the Sour Aviation Mustang has finished second twice, once to Cerveza and once to Porch Racing. This team is going to win eventually, but they’ll need some Cerveza and the Model T GT to make mistakes, probably.
#34 & #75 Alfa Romeo Syndicate Eccelente (Alfa Romeo GTV6 & Alfa Romeo Milano) – I’ll confess to not paying very close attention to the championship points, but I suspect ARSE may be in contention for the national points championship, possibly with the Pit Crew Revenge folks.
#981 Black Iron Racing MR SakiBOMB (Toyota MR2) – This Kawasaki Ninja-powered Toyota quietly debuted at Thunderhill in September for a team that features veteran LeMons racers from Black Iron Racing and the Geo Metro Gnome (also racing this weekend for its new owners, #117 The Fat and Furious). If it gets sorted, the SakiBOMB could be the next superbike-powered car to win races.
#330 Dust N Debris (Dodge Shadow) – I’ll repeat myself like a broken record: This team has nearly won a race overall with a K-Car cousin. I’m not sure anyone can rival that kind of miracle working.
#751 Two Many Wheels (Mazda Miata) – This new-in-2014 team have rapidly improved, coming close to a Top 10 finish at Thunderhill. They may crack the Top 10 this race and fight for a win in the not-too-distant future.
#133 Lack of Integrity Racing (Volkswagen Golf) – This team came out of nowhere to finish third overall at Buttonwillow this summer.
#665 Dia De Los Lemons (Nissan 240SX) – These Penalty Box recidivists came to see me at Thunderhill many times when I worked the race as a judge. The car is capable, the drivers are still working on it.
#200, #400, & #924 OLD Fast Auto Race Team & Sons (Audi 200, Audi 4000, & Porsche 924) – Each car of the three has finished high in the Top 10 previously, including P6 and P7 for the two Audis this year at Buttonwillow.
#20 The Homey Depot (Nissan 240SX, above) – This car leaked fuel all over the Penalty Box as I was setting up the Camaro ZL1 photo shoot with the crapcan Camaros. The ZL1’s aura of awesomeness thankfully didn’t ignite the gas fumes.
#101 Big Test Icicles (Acura Integra) – The ever-present LeMons preview phrase “A competent Acura Integra” goes here.
#38 & #245 Bernal Dads Racing (Alfa Romeo Milano & Volvo 245) – The team’s Volvo will probably end up in Class B, where it has raced forever.
#217 Glitch Heroes 3D (BMW E28) – These GoPro employees aren’t going to win the race, but they produce some cool video.
#666 IWannaRoc (Chevy Camaro) – The other Camaro from the ZL1 photo shoot. This team rented the Model T GT at The Ridge this year and won that race, so they’re capable of winning as a team. Whether the Camaro cooperates is another story.

Some mildly important information
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Saturday Session (EST) 10:00 a.m. to Dusk
Sunday Session (EST) 9:00 a.m. to Dusk
LeMons Lap Record 1:56.6 Off the Scale (Mazda RX-7)
Overall Winners 2010 – Eyesore Racing (Mazda Miata)
2011 – POS Racing (BMW E30)
2011 – Model T GT (Ford Model T-ish)
2012 – Eyesore Racing (Mazda Miata)
2013 – If It’s Not Punk It’s Junk (BMW E34)
2013 One-Day – Cerveza Racing (BMW E28)
2013 – Porch Racing (Porsche 944)
2014 Sprint – Pistola Alto (Nissan 300ZX)
2014 – Porch Racing (Porsche 944)
Class B Winners 2010 – Filthy Faux GT40 (Ford Escort ZX2)
2011 – Team Harlequin (Volkswagen Golf)
2011 – OLD Fast Racing Team and Sons (Audi 4000)
2012 – Sierra Auto Recycling (Ford Crown Victoria)
2013 – The Flyin’ Hawaiians & 2 White Guys (Datsun 260Z)
2013 One-Day – Dirty Duck Racing (Volkswagen Rabbit)
2013 – Panting Polar Bear Racing (Ford Crown Victoria)
2014 Sprint – Team Prestige (Mercedes C230)
2014 – Hella Sh***y Racing (Volkswagen Beetle)
Class C Winners 2010 – Spank/San Diego Minis (Austin Mini)
2011 – Team Tinyvette (Opel GT)
2011 – Team Last Minute (Dodge Colt)
2012 – The Hasselhoffs (Toyota Paseo)
2013 – The Flaming A-Holes (Jaguar XJ12)
2013 One-Day – Spank’s Mini (Austin Mini)
2013 – Miami Vice (BMW 850i)
2014 Sprint – Hella Sh***y Racing (Volkswagen Beetle)
2014 – Pinewood Dirtbags (Chevy LUV)
Index of Effluency Winners 2010 – Air Prance (Citroen D Special)
2011 – Team Tinyvette (Opel GT)
2011 – Soccer Moms (Plymouth Voyager)
2012 – Oly Express (Plymouth Valiant)
2013 – The Flaming A-Holes (Sunbeam Imp)
2013 One-Day – Spank’s Mini (Austin Mini)
2013 – The AMCI Starletans
2014 Sprint – Hella Sh***y Racing (Volkswagen Beetle)
2014 – Panting Polar Bear Racing (Rambler Classic)

[Photos: Murilee Martin]

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5 responses to “24 Hours of LeMons: 'Arse-Freeze-Apalooza' preview at Sonoma Raceway”

  1. Ryan Doherty Avatar
    Ryan Doherty

    Don't forget Hella Shitty Racing's "Sonoma Raceway Boys" will be there with their very blow-uppity M30 powered E30!
    <img src="https://scontent-2.2914.fna.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/1095040_626912480727270_1317288416_n.jpg?oh=83bb623c96913c2a0fc1a744863f4abb&oe=55140CD9&quot; width="100%">

  2. labcoatguy Avatar

    Man, that 3000GT's got some serious front tow. And there's lots of toe-in too.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    I would think 1984 Corvettes, with their Cease Fire Injection, would be awesome candidates for the IOE award.

  4. Devin Avatar

    I drove an Aveo once, it reminded me of a Toyota Tercel from the '80s, which was driven hard and maintained poorly for 20 years, and then sold new on a GM lot. It also squeaked if you turned left.
    I, too, am amazed that thing has successfully finished a race.

  5. jeepjeff Avatar

    The Killer Rabbits have set themselves a very high bar. I, personally, think they should be striving to best that performance and come in 229th (or lower) in this race. With only around 183 entrants, this will be a difficult task. But this is LeMons! Anything could happen!